Sioux Center, Iowa — An area college has been given over $130,000 in the form of a grant to study human movement.
Dordt College has been awarded a $130,800 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust that will help fund a state-of-the-art Motion Biomechanics Laboratory in which students can record and analyze the forces and motions associated with human movements.
The laboratory facility will consist of an array of cameras and markers that allow students to track the three-dimensional spatial position of a person or object over time. “Think recording Andy Serkis’ movement to animate Golum in The Lord of the Rings movies,” says Dr. Kayt Frisch, the engineering faculty member who will be most involved with the laboratory.
The laboratory will also include a force plate—“think of a highly sensitive bathroom scale that records forces and moments in three directions—front/back, left/right, and up/down (your bathroom scale only measures the up/down direction),” says Frisch.
Students will use the laboratory in engineering and exercise science classes about biomechanics as well as biology classes like physiology. It will also be used for animation projects by art and digital media production majors and by summer research students.
“Systems like these are typically found in research labs, gait analysis clinics, and animation studios, so having a motion biomechanics lab on campus will create unique learning opportunities for Dordt students to learn to use technology they wouldn’t otherwise see until they enter the professional world,” says Frisch.
The Motion Biomechanics Laboratory is expected to be ready for use by the beginning of the fall 2016 semester. The new laboratory will be in the Rec Center.