International Society of Biomechanics
Gold sponsor

About Us

 

The gait lab project at the Simón Bolívar University (USB) in Caracas, Venezuela, was initiated by Ediuska Laurens, then ISB Student Representative, who wished to advance the field of Biomechanics in her home country. During a trip home from the USA in December 2007, she was able to meet Dr. Carmen Müller-Karger, who had expressed an interest in adopting this technology for their Biomechanics and Mechatronics research teaching programs. An extensive renovation was required by USB in order to accommodate the new laboratory equipment, which consisted of an AMTI force platform and amplifiers donated by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and AMTI, respectively, a new Motion Analysis Corporation Hawk camera system, and an EMG system provided by Delsys. The laboratory space was ready for ISB representative Dr. Susan D’Andrea, who arrived at the end of May 2009, to assist with the installation of the equipment. Ediuska announced the opening of the lab to the ISB community a few weeks later.

 

Contact

Grupo Biomecanica USB

Edificio de Mecanica y Estudios Urbanos piso 3

Universidad Simon Bolivar

Caracas, Venezuela

Telephone:                (+58) 0212 9064087

Email:                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website:                     http://www.biomecanica.mc.usb.ve/

 

USB_on_mapWho’s Who in USB?

Organization

Name

Role

USB

Carmen Müller-Karger

Director and founder of the Biomechanics Group at USB

 

Guillermo Gonzales

Director of Mechatronics group at USB

 

Rafael Torrealba

Research Assistant

 

 

 

ISB

Ediuska Laurens

ISB Student Rep (2007-2009); Project Initiator and Project Champion

 

 

 

Motion Analysis

Tom Whitaker

CEO, Motion Analysis

 

 

 

AMTI Gary Blanchard VP, Sales and Marketing at AMTI

 

Other contacts are listed at http://www.biomecanica.mc.usb.ve/integrantes.htm.

 

The USB Project History

Simón Bolívar University (Universidad Simón Bolívar in Spanish) or USB, is a public and free of charge institution located in Caracas, Venezuela. On May 1967 the government created a commission to study the possibility of creating a new university that would offer studies to directly promote the economic and social development of the country. On July 18, 1967 the President of Venezuela Raúl Leoni signed a decree, which officially founded the University as an Institute of Experimental Superior Education focused mainly on scientific and technological research.

The university offers programs in science and engineering, enrolling students from different parts of the country.  USB is one of the universities in Venezuela that has a biomechanics program.

As an economically developing country, Venezuela possesses limited technological resources. For instance, it has only one clinical gait analysis laboratory to attend to the needs of both the biomechanics research and patients of the entire country. Therefore, to improve the chances of biomechanics development and innovation in this part of the world, ISB, in its commitment to promote and improve biomechanics in economically developing countries (EDC) and inspired on Tanzania’s successful project, pledged once again to make possible the development of a gait analysis laboratory at the USB, Caracas-Venezuela.

Tourism near Caracas:

Los Roques Archipelago National Park was created in 1972 to protect a marine ecosystem of exceptional beauty and ecological value dominated bycoral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful natural areas of Venezuela. The park, located about 80 miles (128 km) north of the port of "La Guaira" in Caracas, covers 221,120 hectares (546 acres), making it the largest marine park in the Caribbean Sea.

The coral reefs host some of the most beautiful underwater fauna and flora of the Caribbean. The park has exceptionally beautiful beaches of white sand and multicolor, crystalline warm waters, which make it a diving, sailing and fishing paradise.

 

Initial ISB Visit to USB

The USB Project was initiated by Ediuska Laurens during her time as the ISB Student Representative. Ediuska travels to Venezuela every winter to spend Christmas with her family, and in December 2007 she took the opportunity to also visit the biomechanics group at the Simon Bolivar University while in her home country.  Ediuska achieved her goals of: 1) meeting Dr. Carmen Müller-Karger (founder and Director of this biomechanics group) and the rest of researchers concerned with the project, 2) discussing in detail the strategy and milestones for executing this project, 3) introducing ISB’s role and mission, 4) clarifying concerns and questions for both ISB and USB about the project, 5) visiting the physical space for the laboratory, and 6) and finally meeting the students of the biomechanics group. The latter was the most important and exciting for Ediuska because it provided her with the opportunity to interact with the students and learn about their biomechanics research, challenges, and limitations.

ISB Installation of Equipment in USB

The full camera system donated by Motion Analysis was shipped by this company and received by USB in December 2008. The amplifiers and force platforms donated by AMTI and CCF, respectively, were shipped and received by USB in April 2009. Additionally, Delsys donated an EMG system, which was shipped months after the rest of the equipment was installed (December 2009).

The biomechanics group at USB had so far spent about $40,000 in renovating the physical space that was provided to them. They expect to invest a total of $457,000 to fully complete the lab. At some point, we thought this project would require an extension since the university could not provide the promised funds for renovations due to the global economic crisis. However, they were able to find support to at least complete the workspace of the lab so that installation and training could be completed as scheduled. The rest of the lab will be finished as the funds become available.

 

Space_Remodelling
Left: Physical space remodelling process. Right: Physical space after partial remodelling.

 

On May 30th 2009, Dr. Susan D’Andrea, from the Gait and Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, Providence VA Medical Center-Brown University, traveled to Caracas-Venezuela to install the equipment and train the biomechanics group at USB. Dr. D’Andrea spent a week doing the following:

Message from Susan D’Andrea to the ISB council at the ISB Congress, Cape Town-South Africa :

Greetings from Providence, Rhode Island.  I wish I could be there with you but unfortunately; I am unable to travel at the current time. 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the opportunity to travel to Caracas, Venezuela.  It was a pleasure meeting the biomechanics community at the University of Simon Bolivar and a great experience working with the group to get the lab up and running.

I believe this lab will help Dr. Carmen Muller and her colleagues advance biomechanics research at the University and enable them to establish collaborations throughout the country.

Sincerely,

Susan D’Andrea

 

 

Day 1:

Force plate mounting plate installation

Hardware installation

Camera installation

Day 2:

Force plate installation

Software installation

Software set up

System testing

Day 3:

Training on system properties and capabilities

Training on Motion Analysis software

Day 4:

Gait analysis training

EMG discussion/presentation

Day 5:

Complete training

Wrap up

 

Despite some challenges the force platforms and the full camera system were installed and the staff were trained as scheduled. The inauguration of the laboratory took place on June 5th 2009, and national and local newspapers covered it. We are extremely thankful to Dr. Susan D’Andrea for her dedication and outstanding work in Venezuela, especially as she was 5 months pregnant at the time!

 

FP_Setup1
Dr. Carmen Müller-Karger (right)

and Dr. Susan D’Andrea (left).

FP_Setup2

Ensuring the force platforms have
been installed correctly.

FP_Setup3
 

Inauguration of the Gait Analysis
Laboratory at USB, June 5th 2009.
Rafael Torrealba, Ph.D. student at
the time, walks on the force platforms
to give a demonstration of gait
analysis to the press.

FP_Setup4

Dr. Carmen Müller-Karger (left),
Dr. Susan D’Andrea (middle),
and Rafael Torrealba (right)
holding a prosthetic leg.


Article

The article that was published nationwide about the opening of the gait analysis
laboratory at USB and made Rafael Torrealba famous!

 

 

 

 

Technical Challenges

In January 2010, Ediuska received the news that unfortunately one of the force platforms was malfunctioning. Susan D’Andrea and AMTI were immediately contacted, as Susan installed the force platforms and AMTI checked them before shipping to Venezuela. The biomechanics group performed a series of tests proposed by Susan and AMTI.  In December, Ediuska was able to report good news to the ISB: “The force platform has been fixed!!!"

 

Project Expenses

The costs associated with events up to November 2006 are outlined below:

Item

Estimated Costs

Actual Costs (USD)

1 ISB member to USB

$3,000

$3,000

Shipping costs

$6,000

$6,000

Motion Analysis hardware

$140,000

$0

AMTI hardware

$40,000

$0

CCF platforms

$12,000

$0

Delsys EMG system

$20,000

$0

TOTAL

$221,000

$9,000

 

 

 

Donations & Support

Donations and support for this project were received from the organizations listed below.  ISB greatly appreciates this generous support:

 

Motion Analysis: www.motionanalysis.com

  • Full camera system, computers, tripods, etc.
  • Technical Support

 

AMTI: www.amti.com

  • Amplifiers and force platforms revision
  • Technical Support

 

Cleveland Clinic Foundation: my.clevelandclinic.org

  • Second hand AMTI force platforms

 

 

Delsys: www.delsys.com

  • EMG System

 

ISB: http://isbweb.org/

  • Shipping of equipment
  • Installation of equipment
  • Staff Training

 

USB: www.usb.ve

  • Renovation of physical space