How it Works
We study the brain through behaviour.
Dr. Scott stars in the role of researcher and inventor as he explores the impact of his robot.
Kinarm is changing the way we understand the brain.
How it Works
We make an activity where the visual environment is created by virtual reality and the physical environment is created by a robot. Each activity is designed to assess different brain functions.
By permission: Nature Review Neurosci (2004 Jul;5(7):532-46)
- Sensory and motor systems work together to permit us to move and interact in the environment and create our perception of the world
- A given function is supported by a highly distributed network in the brain
When you interact with a Kinarm robot, you are immersed in the virtual world. You see visual targets in the same plane of movement of the robot. Aligning the visual and mechanical environments in this manner takes advantage of the natural coupling that exists between the visual and proprioceptive systems.
The robot gives you haptic feedback so you can feel your actions in the world. The robot has really low friction so you can move very freely and fast.
- Robots are really good at collecting lots of data. When you grip the end of a robotic arm and move it around, the robot (sensor, controller and actuator) can tell you exactly where your hand is and how hard you are pushing it.
- Movement is complex so we’ve simplified the problem by making a Kinarm robot that moves only in two dimensions; a single plane. The 2-D paradigm provides the optimal balance between behavioural complexity and measurement simplicity.
- A researcher can export all of the collected data to analyze for their study.
- If used, Kinarm Standard Tests completes a detailed analysis of the behaviour, comparing the subject’s behaviour to age, sex and handedness-matched control population. The kinematic and performance analysis is summarized in a report.
Workflow for designing your experiment
Write a creative description of a taskDescribe what will happen during the task, when they will happen, and if they are conditional. If they are conditional, identify what they are conditional upon. Convert the description into a flow chart.
Determine which parameters of the task you are likely to want to change trial-to-trial or test-to-test
Your task can then be programmed so that values you want to change frequently can be specified via our software when your program runs.
Implement your descriptive flow chart in Simulink™
Take advantage of Kinarm-specific Simulink blocks available in the TDK, blocks from MathWork’s extensive library, or your own unique custom code.
Build (i.e. compile) your task program
Convert the source code into a file that can then be used by Dexterit-E. Make your Task Program available to Dexterit-E.
Test and debug the code
Kinarm’s development environment allows you to create your own behavioural paradigm with flexibility and safety – and unparalleled control.
Kinarm in Action
Learn how Kinarm is helping the research community of today bring forth the clinical innovations of tomorrow.
Investigating How Chronic Pain Affects the Brain
I thought virtual Kinarm Camp went great! I loved the sessions, everyone was friendly and welcoming. I also liked how there were different levels of experience for each camper; the TA’s and workshops did a great job accommodating that.