Research on Human Balancing using Engineering Methods
Theory, Numerics, Experiment
From mechanical and mathematical models to actual balancing experiments.
From Research to Education
In connection with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) and
the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME).
Welcome to the MTA-BME Lendület Human Balancing Research Group's website
The MTA-BME Lendület Human Balancing Research Group (in Hungarian: MTA-BME Lendület Emberi Egyensúlyozás Kutatócsoport) was established in 2016 within the frame of the Lendület Programme of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA). The Research Group works at the Department of Applied Mechanics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). Our vision is to take a step towards the understanding of human balancing and to apply these results in engineering problems.
Stabilization of unstable equilibria and orbits by means of feedback control is a highly important task in engineering and science. It is more efficient to start quick movements from an unstable position than from a stable one, while the energy demand of the control process is relatively small. Maintaining balance is also a vital ability for humans: falls are leading causes of accidental death and morbidity in the elderly, which provides a strong motivation to understand the nature of mechanisms that maintain human balance, why these mechanisms fail and how risks for falling can be minimized. The primary causes that deteriorate the performance of feedback control systems are reflex delay and sensory uncertainties. The goal of the project is to explore the mechanism of human balancing in terms of these two factors and to extend the limits of balancing abilities. The following objectives are offered:
- We experimentally identify the control concept employed by the human neural system for balancing tasks, which may open a new chapter in motor control research.
- We explore how sensory inputs should be manipulated in order to improve human balancing performance.
- Relation between task difficulty and balancing abilities are explored by means of multi-degree-of-freedom balancing tests.
- A potential paradigm shift for engineering applications: instead of asymptotic stabilization, we propose to realize transiently bounded motion by manipulating sensory inputs.
The members of the research group are involved in the teaching activity at the Department of Applied Mechanics, BME. We teach mechanical engineers on bachelor and master level and supervise PhD students and postdocs. Our students are involved in scientific student projects.