Pint of Robotics: The role of force-dependent feedback in the regulation of limb impedance and inter-joint coordination, Thendral Govindaraj, Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Date:
  • Time: 1700-1800
  • Location: Zoom (see below for registration link)

Speaker: Thendral Govindaraj, Georgia Institute of Technology

Title: The role of force-dependent feedback in the regulation of limb impedance and inter-joint coordination

When: Wednesday 03/02/2021, 1700-1800

Where: Zoom (free but please register)

Abstract: Neural feedback pathways from Golgi tendon organs, which measure active contractile force, are widely distributed in the limb. Force feedback is modulated according to the task and condition, such as slope walking and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Proportional coordination, or equal joint angle excursions, between the knee and ankle has been observed in cats in many contexts despite differences in impedance between the joints and limb segments. Therefore, our central hypothesis is that force feedback modulates limb impedance according to the task and condition and regulates inter-joint coordination. We are using a three segment, three joint computational model with an endpoint force perturbation to test this hypothesis, and the parameters are based on experimental results. Our computational framework includes analysis of ramp-and-hold and sinusoidal perturbations, along with optimization. Understanding the role of force feedback in regulating limb mechanics will inform therapeutic and rehabilitation techniques for stroke and SCI patients.

Short Bio: Thendral Govindaraj is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, co-advised by Professor T. Richard Nichols in Biological Sciences and Professor Gregory S. Sawicki in Mechanical Engineering and Biological Sciences. She is using computational tools to investigate the influence of distributed force feedback on limb mechanics. In 2016 she received her B.S. in Engineering with an Emphasis in Environmental Analysis from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA. During her time at Harvey Mudd, she did research in the Transdermal Transport lab under the direction of Professor Nancy Lape and held leadership positions in several student organizations, including Mudd’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW). Now her research interests are multibody dynamics, controls, neuromechanical modeling, and the control of prosthetic and exoskeleton devices.