Peter Adamczyk

Me and my beautiful and talented wife Marianne
Me, my beautiful and talented wife Marianne, and our lovely and lively daughter Cecilia

BS, Mechanical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 2002
MSE, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2003
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2008

Current Research:
I am investigating the link between the mechanics and energy requirements of human walking. The amount of mechanical work performed during the transition from one stance leg to the next greatly influences the metabolic cost of walking. I use simple models of walking to understand changes in the work and metabolic cost associated with this "step-to-step transition" when different parameters of gait are changed experimentally.

Much of my Ph.D. work focused on the importance of the shape of the foot in walking energetics. The natural foot acts like a smoothly curved rigid foot during the stance phase of walking (as opposed to the swing phase) (Hansen et al, 2004, Clinical Biomechanics). For feet without ankles, the cost of walking is better on long, smoothly curved feet than for flat or pointy feet. (publication: The advantages of a rolling foot in human walking.)

I am also developing simple tools for measuring and quantifying the behavior and performance of a person in walking, and attempting to weave these metrics into an intuitive paradigm for understanding gait. At present, this work is focused on interpreting gait through fluctuations in body Center-of-Mass (COM) velocity. A plot of the COM velocity vector throughout a step or stride, called a COM Hodograph, can be used to identify normal and abnormal features of an individual's gait, and may provide useful guidance rehabilitative gait training in clinical settings. A brief description and some examples of COM hodographs for different gaits are shown in this poster (Prepared for Dynamic Walking 2008).

Finally, I am working on developing prosthetic feet that exploit the principles under study in the HBCL to save energy for amputees. On existing feet, walking costs at least 20% more energy for amputees than for non-amputees, and does not differ among feet. I think we can do better! I am working through Intelligent Prosthetic Systems, LLC, in partnership with the HBCL, to develop new foot prostheses that provide metabolic energy savings for amputees during walking.

Past Research:
For my MSE degree, I developed an advanced model of a six-wheel-steering, six-wheel-drive off-road omnidirectional vehicle (ODV) named "TARDEC-1" (Lightweight robotic mobility: template-based modeling for dynamics and controls using ADAMS/car and MATLAB). This model glued together ADAMS/Car software for dynamic simulations and MATLAB/Simulink software for controls. My work built upon a physical prototype and a simple kinematic model developed by the CSOIS at Utah State, under funding from the US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC).

For my BSE degree, I worked on concept specifications for a hydraulic reciprocal-gait trunk-hip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis (THKAFO) for patients with spinal cord injury, developed at the Cleveland FES Center. This orthosis is human-powered under Functional Electrical Stimulation control, and the mechanism was designed to transfer power from one leg to the other.
posted by The HBCL at 10:04 PM