HMP Research

  • Hmp InnovativeInterdisciplinary – by nature of the human body’s complexity
    • Biomechanics
    • Engineering
    • Neuroscience
    • Physical Therapy
    • Experimental Psychology
    • Kinesiology
  • Innovative – by utilizing the latest technology to capture data
    • Infrared Motion Capture Cameras (Marker-based)
    • Ground Reaction Force Plates and Shoe Insoles (Portable)
    • Surface and Needle Electromyography Devices (Wireless)
    • Inertial Measurement Units (Wireless)
  • Collaborative – by seeking answers to questions about
    • Lifespan development – From children to seniors
    • Balance and Functional Movements – Standing, Walking, Reaching, and Playing
    • Rehabilitation and Fall Prevention Strategies
    • Clinical Populations – Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, Stroke, and Limb Loss



Aging Projects

  • Multi-modal sensor skin and garments for healthcare and home robots
    • Funded by NSF in collaboration with Dr. Dan Popa from the University of Arlington
    • The aim of this project is to develop and implement sensors in the skin/garments of robots in a way that the robot can sense human intent and facilitate movement
    • Project Details
  • Integrating new technologies to assess visual and attentional influences on movement and imitative behavior in Autism
    • Funded by NSF in collaboration with Dr. Haylie Miller and Dr. Carolyn Garver, director of Autism Treatment Center in Dallas
    • This project investigates motor imitation behavior in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
      • Assess the attention and visual interests using an eye tracker as children reach and perform imitation behaviors while interacting with a robot
    • Project Details
  • Good hearing, steady feet: Developing auditory devices that improve hearing and decrease the risk for falls
    • Supported by TxMRC in collaboration with Dr. Linda Thibodeau from the University of Dallas.
    • The project investigates the relationship between auditory input, and balance,  and evaluates the effects of different types of hearing aids technologies on gait and balance in older adults with hearing
    • Project Details
  • Falls prevention through retraining sensory weighting using a virtual environment and vibrotactile biofeedback
    • The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a balance rehabilitation protocol to retrain the sensory weighting mechanism by utilizing vibrotactile feedback and training in a virtual environment.
    • Project Details

Limb Loss Projects

  • Terminology Preferences of Individuals in the Limb Difference Community
    • This study is currently sampling individuals in the amputee/limb difference community, as well as healthcare workers and researchers that work with this population, to see what terms they prefer. Findings can help inform terminology choices in this community.
    • Finco, G; Moudy, S; McDonald, C; Patterson, R
    • The project is currently ongoing.
  • Wearable Sensors in Prosthetic Practice: Can Walking Symmetry Supplement Clinical Measures to Assess Fall Risk?
    • Funding was awarded from the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning and Outcomes/ Evidence-Based Practice (COPL) and the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA)
    • Validation Project:
      • This study aims to validate the use of wearable sensors called Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) against the “gold standard” of motion capture equipment in individuals who use unilateral lower-limb prostheses.
      • 2021 COPL Pilot Grant Recipients
      • The manuscript is in the submission process.
    • Fall Study:
      • This study aims to improve clinic-based, fall-risk prediction in individuals who use unilateral, lower-limb prostheses by correlating IMU gait characteristics, clinical outcome measures, and 6 months of self-reported fall data.
      • Graci Finco and Rita Patterson
      • The project is currently ongoing.
  • Surface EMG and Intra-socket Force Measurement to Control a Prosthetic Device
    • This study aims to correlate degraded surface-EMG signals and volitional motor movement signals to increase the robustness of prosthetic systems by allowing for socket movement while maintaining control input identification.
    • Joe Sanford, Rita Patterson, and Dan Popa
    • doi: 10.1117/12.2177399
  • Functional performance and quality of life in patients with transtibial amputations are influenced by the type of prosthesis
    • This study aims to evaluate the immediate and short-term effects of the type of prosthetic feet on functional performance and quality of life in patients with transtibial amputations ambulating with either a K2 or K3 prosthesis.
    • Bugnariu, N; Stevens G; Ginzel E; Patterson R;
    • doi: 10.1016/

Parkinson's Projects

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by slowness of movement, flexed posture, and postural instability, which may lead to falls.
We are conducting studies to identify specific components of postural instability in people with PD, with an emphasis on characterizing how novel treatment strategies such as Osteopathic Manipulation can reduce falls.
Dr. Kendi Hensel and Dr. Rita Patterson are investigating the effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) in the treatment of persons with PD using state-of-the-art motion capture technology (CAREN, MotekForce Link).
It is anticipated that OMM can help improve postural control by reducing variations in body kinematics during gait and balance activities.

Hensel Web

Kendi Hensel, DO, Ph.D. is board-certified in FP/OMT and NMM/OMM. She has extensive experience in conducting and participating in studies on OMT. She is uniquely qualified to investigate the biomechanical effects of OMT and to translate those findings to clinical conditions that may be amenable to a comprehensive treatment program such as Parkinson’s Disease. She will be responsible for the overall management of the project as well as for the OMT interventions and reporting results.

Rita Patterson 2

Rita M. Patterson, Ph.D. is a biomedical engineer and has worked in clinical departments alongside clinicians applying engineering principles to solve clinical problems. She has extensive experience using motion capture technology to calculate human movement kinematics. She will be responsible for developing the protocol for kinematic collection, subject testing, analyzing data, and reporting results.

  • Effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment vs. osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine on Parkinsonian gait
    • This study aims to determine whether a single session of OMT or OMT + OCMM can improve the gait of individuals with PD by addressing joint restrictions in the sagittal plane by increasing the range of motion in the lower limbs.
    • Terrell, Z;  Moudy, S; Hensel, K; Patterson, R;
    • DOI: 10.1515/jom-2021-0203
  • Predicting UPDRS Motor Symptoms in Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease From Force Plates Using Machine Learning
    • The aim of this feasibility study was twofold. First, to evaluate quiet standing as an additional, out-of-clinic, objective feature to predict UPDRS-III subscores related to motor symptom severity; and second, to use quiet standing to detect the presence of motor symptoms.
    • Exley, T; Moudy, S; Patterson, R; Kim, J; Albert, M;
    • DOI: 10.1109/JBHI.2022.3157518

Rehabilitation Projects

Rehabilitation Science is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge from the basic and clinical sciences to improve our understanding of human movement, physical function, and disability across the lifespan and to improve outcomes for people living with disabilities.

  • Motion Assisted Hand Exoskeleton with Virtual Reality for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation (MAVHEXO)
    • Funded by NSF in collaboration with Dr. Muthu Wijesundara from the University of Texas at Arlington and Veena Somareddy from Neuro Rehab VR.
    • The aim of this project is to develop a new Virtual reality game integrating our hand exoskeleton with force-position control algorithms so that the hand-impaired community will have access to more engaging and consistent rehabilitation.
  • Soft-Robotic Glove for Cerebral Palsy Hand Rehabilitation (REHAB Glove)
    • Funded by NSF in collaboration with Nicoleta Bugnariu, UTA professors Muthu Wijesundara, Mahdi Haghshenas-Jaryani, and Katie (Wei) Carrigan, and Cook Children’s professor Pamela Sherman.
    • Many children with CP have some form of upper extremity limitations. Reduced function of the hands, hinders dressing, personal hygiene, and the use of assistive devices, resulting in greater dependency, restricted social participation, and a decreased quality of life. The aim of this study is to use soft robotic technology to develop a rehabilitation device that can provide continuous measurements and data monitoring, characterize the spastic resistance, and accommodate growth as needed. The REHAB Glove will fill an important gap to improve independence and reduce the burden of care.
  • Evaluation of a more sensitive measure for prediction of changes in dynamic postural stability and fall risk
    • Funded by an internal seed grant in collaboration with Dr’s Bugnariu and Papa.
    • Disordered health does not simply progress in one direction from the disease process to disability, to handicap; rather, the process is a complex interaction between health conditions, body structure and function, environmental and personal factors, and limitations in activity and participation. Falls are the consequence of many factors, thus a system approach is necessary to determine the root cause. Thus there is an interest and need to validate a measure to capture the interplay between postural control and instability as an indicator of disability during functional tasks. We propose to investigate the relationship between the Center of Pressure (COP) and Center of Mass (COM) of the body as a more sensitive measure of this process.