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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Research Laboratory

The School of Health Science features a fully equipped Research Laboratory on the Highfield Campus enabling our research in musculoskeletal, neurological and respiratory to be conducted.

Motion analysis

Motion analysis has become a vital tool in the analysis of patient’s movement strategies and is integral to the research activities of the School of Health Sciences. Funded by Versus Arthritis, our high specification Vicon Motion Capture System enables us to capture large of movements of a patient’s gait cycle, upper limb and shoulder function, through to the small and intricate movements of the hand and fingers. In addition, the Research Laboratory also provides a series of Vicon Blue Trident Inertial Measurement Units allowing motion capture to be conducted outside of the laboratory environment, such as a clinic or sports field. The inertial measurement units are waterproof and provide the ability to understand movement and function during aquatic activities.

Force analysis

Synchronised with our motion analysis systems we have three Kistler piezoelectric force platforms which measure the ground reaction forces and moments as a person moves across them. This enables clinicians to fully assess the external forces acting on a person and predict the internal muscle and joint forces via musculoskeletal modelling. Two platforms are embedded within the floor of the Research Laboratory to allow seamless measurements of the ground reaction forces during gait and other functional activities. The third platform is portable allowing us to reposition the platform and obtain data from activities such as walking up and down stairs.

Muscle Activity

The Research Laboratory has the ability to monitor muscle activity through the use of a 16-channel electromyography system. Synchronized with the Vicon capture system the electromyography system allows researchers and clinicians to understand the muscle recruitment patterns during functional activities.

Ultrasound Imaging

Rehabilitative ultrasound imaging is becoming increasingly popular in clinical fields and researchers at the School of Health Sciences has been pivotal in developing its use as a tool for researchers and clinicians. The Research Laboratory boasts a number of ultrasound scanners to facilitate this work, which include high frequency transducers for superficial tissues through to portable, hand-held, devices enabling research to be conducted in different environments, such as clinics or sports fields.

Upper Limb Robotic Devices

To understand upper limb function during the recovery from a stroke the School of Health Sciences boast a number of upper limb robotic devices that provide support for the affected arm and a series of computer based interactive games to motivate a patient and monitor their recovery. The robotic devices can be used in conjunction with other the technologies in the Research Laboratory to gain further understanding of recovery following a stroke. In addition, the Research Laboratory houses our custom built ‘Wrist Rigs’ to facilitate the understanding of wrist and function following a stroke.


We have close links with the NIHR funded Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit providing access to world-class facilities for respiratory diagnostics and imaging at Southampton University Hospitals Trust. The Trust also hosts the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, a clinical environment dedicated to research with a significant Respiratory portfolio. Within the School we have excellent laboratory and equipment facilities to support our research into computerised lung sound analysis (electronic stethoscopes), breathing pattern analysis respiratory inductive plethysmography and respiratory therapy.

Functional Assessments

The use of functional assessments tools are a common tool in clinical assessments of a patient. The Research Laboratory accommodates a number of functional assessments for both musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. These include the Y Balance Test, Action Research Arm test, Fugl Meyer and many others.


Motion & force analysis

At our Highfield based campus laboratory we are able to capture three dimensional movement such as gait analysis or intricacies of hand movement (see images and videos below)

Using motion capture, with ground reaction forces
Analysing the gait cycle
3D motion capture of the hand
Motion capture
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