Looking for Participants

The MPI for Biological Cybernetics is looking for participants for some of their research experiments [more].

Most recent Publications

Guest JM, Seetharama MM, Wendel ES, Strick PL and Oberlaender M (January-2018) 3D reconstruction and standardization of the rat facial nucleus for precise mapping of vibrissal motor networks Neuroscience 368 171-186.
Zaretskaya N, Fischl B, Reuter M, Renvall V and Polimeni JR (January-2018) Advantages of cortical surface reconstruction using submillimeter 7 T MEMPRAGE NeuroImage 165 11-26.
Ardhapure AV, Sanghvi YS, Borozdina Y, Kapdi AR and Schulzke C (January-2018) Crystal structure of 8-(4-methyl­phen­yl)-2′-de­oxy­adenosine hemihydrate Acta Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications 74(1) 1-5.
Meilinger T, Garsoffky B and Schwan S (December-2017) A catch-up illusion arising from a distance-dependent perception bias in judging relative movement Scientific Reports 7(17037) 1-9.
Venrooij J, Mulder M, Mulder M, Abbink DA, van Paassen MM, van der Helm FCT and Bülthoff HH (December-2017) Admittance-Adaptive Model-Based Approach to Mitigate Biodynamic Feedthrough IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics 47(12) 4169-4181.


Locomotion Interfaces


Linear Treadmill
Omnidirectional Treadmill
Robotic Wheelchair
Treadmills are an important tool to study the complex interaction between action and perception during walking. Within the EU-funded CyberWalk research project, we have set up two different treadmills.

Large Linear Treadmill

The linear treadmill setup consists of three main components: the treadmill itself, a four camera Vicon optical tracking system, and a visualization system that displays 3D graphics in a headmounted display. All three components are controlled by separate dedicated computers. The linear treadmill measures 6 x 2.4 m (L x W) and is capable of speeds up to 40 km/h. It is controlled from a PC via a CANbus connection. The treadmill can be controlled in either open loop or closed loop mode. For the closed loop control, the position of the user on the treadmill is measured with the Vicon system, which trackes infraredreflecting markers on the helmet worn by the user. Based on the position of the helmet and its change over time the speed of the treadmill is adjusted in order to keep the user on the treadmill. The Vicon data are also used to update the visual input, matching the head movements made by the user.

Omnidirectional Treadmill
Together with CyberWalk partners from the Technical University in Munich, from the University “La Sapienza” of Rome and from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, we have developed a revolutionary omnidirectional treadmill. It is the first omnidirectional treadmill in the world that allows for near-natural walking through arbitrarily large virtual environments and that can be used for basic research. The basic mechanism consists of 25 belts (0.5m wide) that are mounted on two big chains. The chains constitute one motion direction (1.4 m/s), while the belts run in the orthogonal direction (1.4 m/s). Together, they can generate motion in any direction. The chains move 7 tons, driven by 4 large 10 kW frequency-coupled engines. The treadmill measures 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.45m (LxWxH), with an active walking surface of 4.0 x 4.0m. Position of the person on the treadmill is measured with a Vicon tracking system and used to adjust the treadmill velocity as a function of walking speed. Together with a head-mounted display or panoramic projection screen (planned), the treadmill system allows users to walk through large virtual environments in a natural way.

The ball bearing CyberCarpet was the first prototype of an omnidirectional treadmill developed within the CyberWalk research project. It is based on a ball array design and combines the different components envisioned in the CyberWalk project: markerless position tracking, optimal control and omnidirectional capabilities. Upscaling to the desired size for real walking (at least 4x4 m) turned out to be difficult, however. Currently, this prototype is still used for demonstrations and as a testbed for different controllers and image-based tracking algorithms. The CyberCarpet device consists of a conveyor belt, mounted on top of a turntable. This turntable is actuated by a servo motor via a toothed belt. Thus, the platform has two degrees of freedom, namely a linear and a rotational one. Rotations and linear movements are transferred to the  user by means of an array of balls. These balls are mounted within the top surface and are passively driven by the conveyor belt. The system was tested with a model car, representing a person walking on the platform. GPS data from real walking was used to define movement trajectories.  Position of the car was estimated by markerless tracking and benchmarked against triangulation by means of strings.
Robotic Wheelchair
The Robotic wheelchair (BlueBotics, Lausanne, Switzerland) can be used to transport people who weigh up to 150kg. The wheelchair can rotate about the center of the person’s head and can translate at a speed up to 5 km/h. In addition, the wheelchair has a built-in laser scanner that can help to determine the location of the wheelchair within a predefined space. The robotic wheelchair was modified with an ergonomic seat (Recaro, Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany) and can be used either autonomously with ANT® navigation or manually driven with a standard wheelchair joystick. Experimenters can therefore have wireless control over the behavior of the wheelchair, while in all cases participants have access to an emergency stop button near their left hand.

Last updated: Friday, 14.10.2016