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The Human Dynamics and Controls Laboratory applies principles from user-centered design, soft and hard robotics, wearables, musculoskeletal biomechanics, and movement analysis. The group’s work has been supported by NSF, NIH, Dept of Homeland Security, and the Jump ARCHES program at UIUC.

The HDCL is currently focusing on three main research areas that our group and our healthcare and academic partners are exploring to improve the life of people with physical or mental disability.

  • PURE (Personalized Unique Rolling Experience), a compact, self-balancing mobility device for manual wheelchair users that features multi-directional, hands-free movement. PURE breaks the mold of the traditional wheelchair in having the user sit above a lightweight powered chassis with a single large spherical wheel that is driven with lean-to-steer technology. (YouTube link and associated articles overview the motivation and Gen 2 prototype operated by our collaborator Coach Adam Bleakney, who has very limited torso movement – yet still able to control PURE.)
  • Robotic training simulators that mimic behaviors of human patients to help healthcare learners practice and improve their clinical techniques used during neurological examinations (spasticity, rigidity, clonus, tendon reflex, strength).
  • Development of wearable intelligent technologies to afford clinicians and researchers focusing on psychosocial and behavioral issues, such as stress and anxiety, with real-time multimodal data to assess human function in the real world.

These projects involve large teams of faculty, staff, and students across engineering, industrial design, kinesiology, and disability services, and clinicians in neurology, physical & occupational therapy, and mental health.

Recent Posts

Congratulations to Mahshid for passing her Ph.D. Preliminary Exam!

HDCL graduate student, Mahshid Mansouri, had successfully passed her prelim exam on May 24th, 2024. Congratulations, Mahshid! ...

Congratulations to Dr. Yu Chen and Dr. Abdul Alkurdi!

Proud moments at the hooding ceremony! Heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Yu Chen and Dr. Abdul Alkurdi on completing this significant ...

HDCL undergraduates presenting at the ISUR Research Expo

Congratulations to Amy, Roshni, and Amanda on their poster presentations at the ISUR showcase on Tuesday. Here are some pictures ...

HDCL End-of-Semester Lab Party – Spring 2024

Liz and HDCL Graduate and undergraduate students gathered at Hessel Park on April 21st to celebrate the end of the ...

Congratulations to Abdul Alkurdi for successfully defending his thesis!

On January 12th, 2024, HDCL member, Abdul Alkurdi successfully defended his thesis titled 'Machine Learning Approaches in Practical Anxiety Detection' ...

Congratulations to Yu Chen and Nadja Marin for successfully depositing their theses!

Yu had deposited his Ph.D thesis titled 'Enabling mobile robot perception and shared-control with vision-based sensor fusion systems' for the ...