BOZEMAN – Montana State University has a new lab that is able to determine the body’s movement.
The Departments of Human Development and Mechanical Engineering have come together to provide this new human movement lab at MSU. They have moved from a smaller space with limited technology to a much larger space with many more resources.
“By moving into this space, this collaboration is enabling us to really look into a broader set of questions, different populations and different health-related questions that we would really like to learn more about,” Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Scott Monfort said.
An addition to the lab is a special treadmill that they will be able to use to collect more data.
“The treadmill is an instrumented treadmill, which means it can measure the force a person applies to the ground and every step. We think about a lot of running injuries like stress fractures, excessive forces are one of the factors that contribute so that we can measure that in every step someone takes,” Assistant Professor of Human Development, Jim Becker said.
“You can run really fast, go up to full speed sprinting on the treadmill. We can go uphill and downhill. So we can simulate the course for the Bridger Ridge Run and see what that’s doing to your body while you’re going through this hilly terrain," he added.
Students from both departments are able to collaborate on and expand their research in this new lab.
“We’re excited about this new developing collaboration that provides us and our students the opportunity to really look into a range of different questions both for trying to understand common injuries, fall-related concepts and looking into improving patient care,” Monfort said.
“I know a lot of runners that have had the same injury over and over and over again. Well, hey what is the underlying cause, can we root that out and then perhaps prevent that from reoccurring?” Becker asked.
Not only will this be for MSU but the departments plan to expand this to the community.
“It allows us to potentially collaborate with local clinics if they want to send patients in to get data that we can send back to the clinicians to help them plan their treatment protocols or plan the rehabilitation,” Becker said. “That’s something we could never do before that we are really excited to be able to offer.”
The plan is to also work with high school athletes and the active community of Bozeman. This will be the first semester that the new lab will be available to students.