Collaboration with University of Poitiers opens doors for up and coming researchers

16 August 2010

A/Prof Richard Smith
A/Prof Richard Smith

An ongoing collaboration between the University of Sydney's biomechanics scientists and France's University of Poitiers robotics team has been cemented with the awarding of an International Science Linkages grant that will result in the exchange of ideas and expertise in assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of movement.

"As well as bringing together the wealth of robotics expertise at Poitiers and the field measurement capability of Sydney, the exciting thing about this project is the exchange opportunities it offers our early career researchers and research higher degree students," comments Project Lead, Associate Professor Richard Smith of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences.

The project centres on the concept that movement—be it lifting a box in a factory, wheelchair propulsion or cycling—should be measured in the field in order to develop valid data. The aim of the project is therefore to minimise the amount of equipment a subject would be required to have on their body in the field to gain these measurements, thereby minimising the intrusion on performance of the task and increasing the accuracy of the data.

The result will be the development of software that can determine what minimal set of measures are required for any particular situation to produce multi body systems analysis, a system that analyses the power output of movements and the stress on joints.

"Due to our background research and common interests the project will be modelled on the physical activity of rowing but the outcomes will have obvious applications much more broadly than sports performance, including in preventative health and rehabilitation."

Health Sciences' early career researcher Dr Peter Sinclair, PhD graduate Dr Conny Draper currently employed with the Australian Institute of Sport, and PhD student Mr Scot Coleman join A/Prof Smith on the project and will take part in exchange placements with scientists from France.

"We believe it will give these researchers an international perspective on their work, and bring them into contact with new ideas and new way of doings things, as well as opening up opportunities to develop ongoing collaborations during their own research career," says A/Prof Smith.

The International Science Linkages scheme is an Australian Government initiative funding international scientific collaborations at the leading edge of science and technology.