CANCELLED: HSL Seminar: Richard Fineman (9 am, 11/28, 33-206)




"Biomechanical Human Performance Metrics of Coordination and Balance for Operational Decision-Making"

Richard Fineman
PhD Candidate, MEMP Bioastronautics 
Harvard-MIT Health Science & Technology (HST)

Abstract: The overall goal of this work is to develop a series of biomechanically-driven human performance metrics that aid operational decision-making. By quantifying inter-limb coordination and balance, we enable decoupling motor patterns without direct visual observation, providing objective feedback to decision-makers on the quality of human motion. To effectively develop and validate metrics for coordination and balance, they must be contextualized and evaluated in specific domains of interest; this work will focus on two: clinical geriatrics and aerospace spacesuit assembly (SSA) design. While these domains might seem distinct, both require a detailed understanding of nominal human motion and are interested in measuring deviation from desired motor patterns. In the context of clinical geriatrics, dismobility is an arising clinical diagnosis defined as a slow gait speed of 0.8m/s that has been attributed to higher levels of disability and lower 5- and 10-year survival rates; it is unknown what underlying motor coordination and balance patterns contribute to these clinical outcomes. Therefore, there is a need for metrics that quantify the subtle differences between low- and high-gait speed populations. Meanwhile, SSAs must protect users from extreme environments while reducing the risk to health and injury. The coordination between the suit and human is an aspect of the human-suit interaction and suit fit that is not well understood, especially when considering how they affect overall performance and risk to injury. To this end, we will test the hypothesis that we can augment decision-making in two domains of interest (geriatrics and dismobility motor patterns; aerospace medicine and suit fit) through the development and validation of biomechanically-driven human performance metrics for coordination and balance.