Category Archives: Human Sensorimotor Control Lab

Konczak receives grant to advance robotic rehabilitation technology

konczak-2012Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSC), is the principal investigator for a grant from MN-REACH, a joint initiative between the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the University of Minnesota. REACH, or the Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub, is an NIH-administered, national program seeking to facilitate and accelerate the translation of biomedical innovations into commercial products that improve patient care and enhance health.

Konczak’s grant aims to advance the commercialization of the Wristbot, a robotic system for the diagnosis and physical rehabilitation of sensory and motor dysfunction of the wrist and hand. It was developed in cooperation with international partners at the Italian Institute of Technology and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The grant will enable the lab to perform two clinical studies that seeks to document the efficacy of the Wristbot system as a diagnostic and rehabilitation tool for people with Parkinson’s disease or for stroke survivors.

Read more about the Wristbot here, or watch this video to see it in action.

Parkinson’s disease study with HSCL link is featured in Star Tribune

Labs-HSC-300x55 (1)A School of Nursing study with a connection to the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) in the School of Kinesiology was featured in the Star Tribune today. Om Power: Minnesota study looking at yoga’s ability to offset Parkinson’s symptoms highlights a study being conducted by Corjena Cheung, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Nursing. Twenty subjects with Parkinson’s disease are participating in an experimental yoga class twice weekly to determine if the practice could be a successful therapy in dealing with symptoms of the disease.

pdyoga-poster-2016The HSCL, directed by Juergen Konczak, Ph.D. performs the necessary movement assessments on all participants before the study began, and again at six weeks after completion of the yoga program. To understand if yoga is beneficial for patients with Parkinson’s disease, the participants are tested for joint range of motion and for postural stability when standing and walking. See this information sheet for more details.




Holst-Wolf, Yeh, Konczak to publish paper in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience

hscThe research paper “Development of proprioceptive acuity in typically developing children: normative data on forearm position sense” has been accepted for publication in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience journal. This study was done by graduate students Jessica Holst-Wolf and I-Ling Yeh, members of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSC), along with Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the lab.

The study mapped the development of proprioception in healthy, typically developing children by objectively measuring forearm position sense acuity.

Konczak publishes with colleagues from Singapore and Italy in PLOS ONE

A new publication entitled “Robot-aided Mapping of Wrist Proprioceptive Acuity Across a 3D Workspace” was published by the scientific journal PLOS One (published by the Public Library of Science). Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSC) is coauthor, together with  colleagues from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and the Italian Institute of Technology.

This study performed an extensive and systematic investigation of the human wrist position sense with the aim to systematically map wrist proprioceptive acuity of the wrist/hand complex using a robotic exoskeleton called Wristbot.

Konczak travels to Europe for HSCL projects

konczak-2012Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology, traveled to Essen, Germany, last month to attend a one-day project meeting for a Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSC) study on patients with spinocerebellar ataxia. The study investigates whether patients with spinocerebellar ataxia may benefit from sensorimotor training early in their disease. The project is conducted jointly with the University Medical Center in Essen and is funded by the German Science Foundation.

Konczak also traveled to Bad Aibling, Bavaria, to visit a large neurorehabilitation clinic that treats over 500 cases of cortical stroke per year. Clinical researchers there are interested in HSC’s wristbot technology for stroke rehabilitation and discussed ways of using this experimental technology in their clinic. The wristbot is robotic device that can move a person’s wrist in a controlled way providing assistance to those who cannot move the hand/wrist due to injury.

I-Ling Yeh awarded Kinesiology’s Doctoral Dissertation Award

Congrats-3Kinesiology doctoral candidate I-Ling Yeh has been awarded the School of Kinesiology’s second annual 2016-17 Doctoral Dissertation Award.  Ms. Yeh is advised by Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., and is a member of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab. The title of her dissertation project is, “Can proprioception be improved and enhance motor function after stroke? Effectiveness of a novel robotic-aided training in adults with chronic stroke.” The award will provide a 50% research assistantship for the next academic year.

The Doctoral Dissertation Award allows accomplished Kinesiology  doctoral candidates the opportunity to devote efforts to an outstanding research project under the mentorship of the student’s primary faculty adviser, states Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School.

Kinesiology doctoral candidate I-Ling Yeh receives grant, award

I-Ling-Yeh-webI-Ling Yeh, Kinesiology doctoral candidate in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory and advisee of Kinesiology professor Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., received a travel grant of $500 from the American Occupational Therapy Association to present at the Occupational Therapy Research Summit in Pittsburgh on May 20. She presented early results of her thesis work titled “Can Proprioception be Trained in Chronic Stroke? Two Case Reports.”

Ms. Yeh also has been awarded a Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle (WPLC) Graduate Student Award of $2500 to use for her thesis research and preparation. The award will be presented at the WPLC Annual Awards Celebration on June 23. The mission of the WPLC is to “create a welcoming circle of women that combines its resources to support and develop women leaders and philanthropists through the College of Education and Human Development.”

Fulbright visiting scholar Victor Rubio gives address at Springfield College

Rubio fulbright-6-2-16
Dr. Rubio, right, receives a Springfield College memento.

Víctor J. Rubio, Ph.D., CCP, a School of Kinesiology Fulbright visiting scholar working with Kinesiology professor Juergen Konczak, Ph.D.,  gave a lecture on “Psychological Aspects Involved in Sustaining and Recovering from a Sport Injury” on June 2 at Springfield College, MA. The talk was sponsored by the Fulbright Scholar Program’s Outreach Lecturing Fund, which enables Fulbright visiting scholars who are currently in the United States to travel to other higher education institutions across the country.  Dr. Rubio, who is from the University Autonoma Madrid in Spain, addressed faculty members and students in Springfield’s Department of Psychology and the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

HSC research featured on Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine “Vetschool Tails” Blog

wrappingResearch done in the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab directed by Professor Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D. was featured in an article by the College of Veterinary Sciences at Michigan State University as part of their “Vetschool Tails” blog. In a collaboration with Dr. Stephanie Valberg at MSU,  Dr. Joshua Aman, a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Neurology at UMN, conducted research on equine shivers, a rare neuromuscular disorder affecting horses. Dr. Aman is an alumni of the School of Kinesiology, and graduated in 2012. To test the muscle recruitment pattern of a variety of horses with and without shivers, the researchers studied horses at the MSU McPhail Equine Performance Center using EMG techniques to measure muscle activity.

Read the full article here.

International patent filed for robotic rehabilitation device

Dr. Jürgen Konczak
Dr. Jürgen Konczak

Professor Jürgen Konczak, PhD, director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, together with colleagues from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore has been named inventor for an international patent application that was filed by the University and its international partners in Italy and Singapore. The patent concerns a robotic device intended for the physical rehabilitation of wrist and hand function. Clinical trials to show the efficacy of the device are currently conducted here at the University of Minnesota and two rehabilitation hospitals in Italy.

HSCL to test elite baseball pitchers for Visyn Inc.

baseball-97898_640The Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory led by professor Juergen Konczak, PhD recently received a contract from Visyn to record the pitching motion from elite baseball pitchers. The company produces digital movement skill learning software and will use the biomechanical data to produce scientifically sound animations of “best practice” elite pitches. The participants (i.e., the pitchers) will receive relevant cues and coaching tips that are based on objective movement data.

This project is partially supported by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Holst-Wolf, Zhang finalists in CEHD Three Minute Thesis competition

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.43.50 AMOn March 22, 2016, School of Kinesiology doctoral candidates, Jessica Holst-Wolf (biomechanics emphasis) and Tianou Zhang (exercise physiology emphasis), along with six other CEHD PhD students had three minutes to concisely and effectively explain their research project in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience in CEHD’s new Research Day competition, Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges on criteria related to comprehension, engagement, and communication style.

Judges for the event were: Dr. Keith Mayes, CLA Professor; R.T. Rybak, former Minneapolis mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next; and Margie Soran, Executive Director of the Soran Foundation. Michelle Brown (ICD) was the first-place winner.

You can watch Holst-Wolf and Zhang’s three minute presentations, along with the other six presentations on CEHD’s Youtube Channel.

Holst-Wolf and Zhang are finalists in CEHD Three Minute Thesis competition

Holst-WolfJ-2015ZhangT-2015Two Kinesiology doctoral candidates are finalists in CEHD’s new Research Day competition, Three Minute Thesis (3MT), which will be held March 22  from 10-11 a.m. in the McNamara Alumni Center Heritage Gallery.

Jessica Holst-Wolf (biomechanics emphasis) and Tianou Zhang (exercise physiology emphasis) will be competing with six doctoral students from across the college for a first prize of $300. Prizes of $250 will go to the runner-up and people’s choice. The finalists were chosen from a preliminary round competition held last week.

3MT is an annual competition held in over 200 universities worldwide. It’s designed to challenge PhD students to present their research in just three minutes in an engaging form that can be understood by an audience with no background in their discipline. The competition is intended to develop presentation, research and academic communication skills and to help students explain their work effectively to a general audience.

Judges in the CEHD competition are Dr. Keith Mayes, CLA Professor; R.T. Rybak, former Minneapolis mayor and current Executive Director of Generation Next; and Margie Soran, Executive Director of the Soran Foundation.

Ph.D. candidate Jessica Holst-Wolf featured on CEHD homepage

Jessica-Hoist-Wolf-6778Kinesiology Ph.D. candidate Jessica Holst-Wolf is featured in Connect and on the CEHD home page in a story titled, “Engineer for Health.” Jessica’s emphasis is biomechanics and she is advised by Jűrgen Konczak, Ph.D.  Read her story here

Renowned scholar Benoît G. Bardy to speak at Special International Scholar Presentation

BardyA long-time collaborator with Kinesiology professor Thomas Stoffregen, Ph.D., Dr. Benoît  G. Bardy from the University of Montpellier-1, France, is the featured speaker for the Special International Scholar Presentation on Wednesday, February 10 at 4 p.m. in Walter Library 101.

The title of the presentation is “Health on the beat: When music synchronizes biology.”

Dr. Bardy is the founding director of EuroMov, the European Center for Human Movement Sciences. He and Dr. Stoffregen have worked together for over 20 years on research projects for NSA and NIH in the U.S. and on funded projects in Europe, and have co-advised many graduate students.

The presentation is co-sponsored by a number of  U of M departments, including the School of Kinesology, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Center for Clinical Movement Science, and Center for Cognitive Sciences.


Konczak presents at Institute for Engineering in Medicine Seminar

KonczakPresentsJuergen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of Kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor  Control Laboratory, is the featured speaker at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) Seminar on Tuesday, February 2, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 pm at 4-101 Nils Hasselmo Hall. The title of his presentation is “Robotic Rehabilitation and Human Motor Control: Challenges and Opportunities.” Konczak will discuss the future potential and challenges of implementing robotic devices in clinical health care.

The event if free and open to the public.

Konczak presents at the Italian Institute of Technology

Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., director of PHOTO_JuergenKonczak_Widethe Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSCL), recently gave a presentation to research scientists in robotics engineering at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Konczak spoke on how robotic rehabilitation will change standard care in the next decade. He highlighted the challenges that arise from human-robot interaction that need to be considered when designing effective treatment protocols.


Doctoral students from HSC lab receive pre-doctoral dissertation awards from CATSS

KhosravaniS_2013 TsengY_2016Sanaz Khosravani and Yu-ting Tseng, both doctoral students in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), each recently received a pre-doctoral dissertation award from the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science (CATSS). This award will partially fund both of their dissertation projects.

Konczak gives invited talk at the University of Pisa in Italy

Konczak-2012Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSCL), presented a talk at the BioRobotics Institute at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa.

This elite School of Advanced Studies is part of the University of Pisa, which was founded 1343 and is one of the oldest universities in the world. Dr. Konczak spoke on the challenges and opportunities that arise from the introduction of robotic devices designed to aid the rehabilitation of human patients after neurological injury.

HSCL will participate in new study on effects of yoga on Parkinson’s disease

Konczak-2012A new study in the School of Nursing on the effects of yoga on Parkinson’s disease patients has a School of Kinesiology connection.

The study is intended to discover whether yoga could be an effective complementary option to medications that are often prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, and to determine if yoga may help to reduce motor complications and stress levels associated with Parkinson’s disease. The School’s Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), directed by Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., will perform the necessary movement assessment on all participants before the study begins, at six weeks, and after it’s completed. Participants will be tested for range of motion during gait and postural stability (balance) when standing and walking.