New research laboratory at the IfADo in cooperation with the Center of Excellence Logistics and IT

The Leibniz Institute for Labour Research at the TU Dortmund University (IfADo) has developed a new gait laboratory as part of its activities in the Center of Excellence Logistics and IT. The Gait Real-Time Analysis Interactive Lab (GRAIL) enables realistic research approaches thanks to three-dimensional gait analysis. GRAIL will investigate how many cognitive resources walking requires. In order to systematically analyse such phenomena, the IfADo additionally analyses brain activity by means of electroencephalography (EEG). This method allows a closer look at the information processing processes during walking and standing. Currently, in the context of the Center of Excellence Logistics and IT, together with the Dortmund Fraunhofer Institutes IML and ISST, investigations are already being carried out into the extent to which digital assistance systems influence gait behavior. GRAIL uses various devices for 3D motion analysis. The heart is the dual treadmill where the speed of the belts can be controlled separately for each leg to influence the difficulty of gait. In addition , the treadmill can be tilted forward or backward and it can accelerate sideways to disturb the balance. The treadmill is positioned inside a 180-degree curved screen five metres wide and three metres high, onto which a virtual environment is projected as in a panorama cinema. In advance, up to 48 motion markers are attached to the body of the test person. These are recorded by ten infrared cameras so that the entire body movement of the test person can be analysed in three-dimensional space with the aid of software. Force plates in the treadmill can also be used to analyze how hard the person is walking. Future studies will investigate the extent to which information from digital assistance systems (auditory headset, data glasses, glasses for augmented reality) is processed during walking. It is examined whether there are either restrictions of information processing by running or problems with running due to increased information processing.

Photo: IfADo