Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship at the University of Central Lancashire (Preston, UK), entitled “Development of a field-deployable equine gait analysis system using wearable surface electromyography (sEMG) and inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors.

Equine Gait Analysis (EGA) has long been confined to research laboratories, requiring significant investments in time and finances for specialist equipment and training. However, advancements in wearable sensor technology provide the potential for efficient and affordable field-deployable EGA systems. Early advancements have been embraced by the veterinary field, where clinical decision-making for movement disorders (lameness), is increasingly aided by commercial EGA systems that employ only motion sensing technology (IMU) but have yet to incorporate surface electromyography (sEMG) to quantify muscle function.

sEMG is used to study neuromuscular control during normal equine gait, and more recently, lameness. sEMG offers the potential of a more comprehensive diagnostic tool. Despite this, a user-friendly sEMG interface has not been developed for EGA, representing a barrier to its widespread use as veterinarians may lack the specialist knowledge and time for acquiring, analysing, and interpreting sEMG signals.

This project aims to develop preliminary design specifications and procedures for a field deployable EGA system. Consultancy with industry, research, and veterinary stakeholders will assess the needs, boundaries, and desired uses of combined sEMG/IMU for EGA. This information will be supplemented by equine sEMG/IMU data to generate preliminary design specifications and clinical outcomes for a streamlined, intuitive, field deployable EGA system. This project will form foundations for further R&D; creating new markets for sEMG to benefit equine health and welfare.

Read our blog entry on previous work

The studentship is tenable for up to 3.5 years full-time and both UK and EU/International applicants may apply. The successful applicant will work with Delsys Europe (Sale, Greater Manchester), providing a unique opportunity to conduct research alongside industry professionals and to learn about the design, manufacture, sales, and support of sEMG technology in a research market.

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For more information on the project (DTC41) and to apply, follow the link provided.

As a further commitment to the support and growth of the equine gait analysis community, Delsys Europe are proud to sponsor the upcoming International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion hosted in Utrecht. For more information on the event, follow the link provided.

International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion 2023