Georgia Center for Medical Robotics (GCMR) Seminar Series

"Improving Human Performance with Robotic Prostheses"

Deanna Gates, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Movement Science and Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan

With a prosthetic device, people with a lower limb amputation can remain physically active, but most do not achieve medically recommended physical activity standards and are therefore at a greater risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.  Their reduced activity may be attributed to the 10 - 30% increase in energetic cost during walking compared to able-bodied individuals.  Several active ankle-foot systems have been developed to provide external power during the push-off phase of gait, potentially alleviation this high cost.  This talk will focus on several of our recent and ongoing projects exploring if and how people utilize external mechanical power to influence their metabolic effort, how this is influenced by the magnitude of power delivered, the influence of the individual’s characteristics, and how we evaluate powered prosthetic technology in real-world environments.  I will also highlight our recent work in controlling prostheses and providing feedback through direct connections with human nerves. 

Deanna Gates, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Movement Science and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan.  She earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia (2002), M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University (2004), and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (2009).  Dr. Gates worked in engineering consulting and in civilian and military clinical gait laboratories, before arriving at the University of Michigan in 2012.  The goal of her research program is to improve function and quality of life in individuals with musculoskeletal impairments.  Her lab focuses on understanding repetitive human movements such as walking and reaching, and how people are able to perform these movements with robotic devices. Her research explores the factors that relate to a person’s ability to successfully use devices, how to train individuals for optimal use, and the development of appropriate outcome measures to assess success of new technology.  She is also an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Neural Engineering and Rehabilitation.