Treadmill with Soft Ambulatory Surface to Study the Effects of Surface on Gait in Rehabilitation and in Space

Project number: 
UA Department of Biomedical Engineering
Academic year: 
It is well known that the composition of an ambulatory surface has a substantial effect on the kinematics and energy expenditure during gait. An example of this that is easily visualized is walking on cement vs. walking in soft sand in a playground or on a beach. While the effect of surface composition on gait can be studied by having patients and/or animals ambulate over surfaces covered with different materials, this involves the use of large amounts of material and does not allow for researchers to control gait speed. The purpose of the current project is to design a small animal treadmill that can be covered in different materials to facilitate studying gait as a function of surface material composition at a controlled speed. This is particularly relevant to understanding sand therapy in athletic training and to study the effect of regolith (dirt from the surface of the moon or mars) on gait. In the latter case the material has limited availability making it crucial to minimize the amount of material used on the treadmill and material loss.

Get started and sponsor a project now!

UA engineering students are ready to take your project from concept to reality.