Wednesday, November 6, 2013

URSP Student Laith Alhussein Researches the Differences in State-Dependent Motor Coordination between the Dominant and Non-dominant Limbs

      As someone interested in exploring areas where many questions still exist, I have been interested in motor control and its connection to biomechanics since deciding to major in Bioengineering. Most importantly, I am interested in this field because I feel it has applications that are being underestimated, and that these applications could have wide benefits. A proper understanding of the process by which people organize and execute their actions in the central nervous system, and how this translates into movement in the muscles and joints of the body, can have major ramifications in sport performance and injury recovery and prevention. and prevention. And so, by studying muscle responses to external forces and perturbations, the design of biomaterials-for medical and clinical use-may be greatly improved, such as better implants for human joints. Moreover, this project allows to apply knowledge of my favorite subjects in physics, biology, biomechanics, and math to address a practical problem. Furthermore, partaking in this research project allows for a first person perspective on the research process; this is vital as I have considered research as a future long term goal. With this possibility, my research and career goals could overlap. Thus, it is related to my long term career goal in the sense that it can help solidify my plans for the future, one way or another.
            Currently, I still work on the design of the experiment I plan to conduct. Thus, what I do changes on a weekly basis. I may design a handle to be constructed using a 3D printer one week, and the next build a circuit to read in force measurements I am making with a robot I have access to in the laboratory. What I have discovered this past week is that the force sensor I am using should be sufficient to collect data on its own. I had originally planned to buy a button to mechanically attach to the handle I would make, but discovered this wouldn't be necessary as the sensor I bought is sensitive enough on its own.