Current Student Research
GTA Student Profiles
PhD Student – Hadi Salehi
Project – 3D predictive simulation of human gait
Computer simulation of walking or running, based on measured motion data, is a well-established research technique for estimating the forces acting on the body’s joints and muscles. Conversely, prediction of walking or running motions (known as gait prediction) is a relatively new and challenging area of research, which has not yet found widespread application because of its high computational cost.
In gait prediction, the mechanics of human locomotion are described in a mathematical way using Newton-Euler based equations of motion. The coordination of the body’s motions by the central nervous system (CNS) is not modelled explicitly. Instead an optimisation approach is used to determine the gait motions that minimise an objective function that is believed to correspond to that of the CNS (e.g. minimise energy consumption).
Gait prediction has many potential applications including the investigation of: motor control objectives in gait; the impact of musculoskeletal structure and injury on movement coordination; predicting patient responses to surgical interventions; the effect of assistive devices on locomotion performance (e.g. lower limb prostheses).
In my study, using MATLAB, a 14-segment (26 DOF) inverse dynamics model of the human body is being combined with optimisation methods to predictively simulate human gait.
PhD Student – Mingxu Sun
Project – Control of electrically stimulated muscles
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) uses a train of electrical pulses to activate paralysed or semi-paralysed muscles in such a way as to support the performance of functional tasks.
Over recent years there has been growing interest in the use of FES to enable intensive practice of functional hand and arm tasks in people with stroke, as a means of encouraging motor recovery. However, there remain major control challenges to delivering the appropriate stimulation to the right muscles at the right time.
In my PhD I am investigating methods for setting up state machine (sequential) controllers, particularly focusing on how best to exploit signals from arm-worn inertial sensors. This work is closely aligned with an ongoing Department of Health (NIHR) funded project – “An advanced FES rehabilitation tool for upper limb therapy after stroke”. I hope that the results of my work will lead to improved clinical systems.
PhD Student – Ahmed Hamouda
Project – Modelling of electrically stimulated muscles
In my project I am looking at how muscles should be modelled for the virtual prototyping of control systems for functional electrical stimulation (FES) of paralysed muscles. Previously researchers have tended to treat the muscle as if it behaves like a single motor-unit. I am looking at extending previous muscle models by using a multi-motor-unit approach. In this way, my models take account of the fact that different motor-units are recruited and de-recruited under different conditions (e.g. different lengths at recruitment). Furthermore, I am also aiming to establish the most appropriate level of modelling complexity for the virtual prototyping of FES controllers.
PhD Student – Zeeshan Bari
Project – Energy efficient prostheses for lower limb amputees
In my work I am studying ways in which hydraulic technologies can be used to improve the energy efficiency of lower limb prostheses. I am focusing on hydraulic designs because of their unique advantages for the prosthetics application. As they typically operate at pressures of 200 to 400 bar, hydraulic systems have very high power densities and are therefore well suited to miniaturisation, an important requirement in prosthetics. Short term energy storage is another important requirement for which hydraulic accumulators are well suited. I am comparing alternative hydraulic design concepts through a combination of virtual prototyping and simulation studies.
Training and Skills
Postgraduate research students are able to attend research methods seminars covering subjects such as: conducting a literature review; data collection, analysis, presentation and interpretation; research governance and ethics. Equally important is the informal support provided by other researchers working in the same research group and sharing the same offices and laboratories.
In addition, the University offers all postgraduate research students an extensive range of free training activities to help you develop your research and transferable skills. The Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme (SPoRT) has been designed to equip you for both your university studies, and for your future careers whether in academia, elsewhere in the public sector, or in industry and the private sector.
As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These ‘progression points’ are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team and it is essential that you complete them on time.
Learning Agreement: this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first 3 months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.
Annual Progress Report: this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.
Self Evaluation Report: this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.
Interim Assessment: this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year, and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report, presentation and oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.
Internal Evaluation: this will take place towards the end of the second year and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work, generally at least 4 chapters of your thesis.