Meghan Huber is director of the Human Robot Systems Laboratory (HRSL), which focuses on understanding how humans and robots can learn from their physical interactions.
Huber's interdisciplinary research lies at the intersection of robotics, dynamics, controls, human neuroscience and biomechanics.
Among her work is the development of the HRSL Hip Exoskeleton, a modular, adjustable robotic exoskeleton with the capability to transmit torque about one or both hip joints. The exoskeleton can adjust for different hip sizes using a tightening hip and lower back brace and for various leg lengths using a pin locking mechanism.
Northeastern University: Ph.D., Bioengineering
The University of Texas at Dallas: M.S., Biomedical Engineering
Rutgers University: B.S., Biomedical Engineering
Select Media Coverage (2)
NIH's $1.91M Grant Aims To Explore Role of Circadian Rhythm in Tissue Repair
The Science Times online
Under a $1.91 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the University of Massachusetts Amherst will be able to explore the human internal clock responsible for regulating sleep cycles. Many other biological functions will be probed as a tool for optimizing tissue regeneration as well.
Walmart Ditches Major Robot Contract: So What Does This Mean For The Industry?
“Workers can perform a multitude of different tasks,” said Meghan Huber, who is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Director of the Human-Robot Systems Laboratory at UMass Amherst. “They can move from the cash register to the stockroom to the sales floor as needed. The functionality of most commercial robots, however, is limited and inflexible. In Walmart’s case, a human worker can check shelf inventory levels and help a customer find an item, whereas the robot could only do the former.”
Select Publications (4)
Minimum effort simulations of split-belt treadmill walking exploit asymmetry to reduce metabolic energy expenditureJournal of Neurophysiology
2023 Walking on a split-belt treadmill elicits an adaptation response that changes baseline step length asymmetry. The underlying causes of this adaptation, however, are difficult to determine. It has been proposed that effort minimization may drive this adaptation, based on the idea that adopting longer steps on the fast belt, or positive step length asymmetry (SLA), can cause the treadmill to exert net-positive mechanical work on a bipedal walker. However, humans walking on split-belt treadmills have not been observed to reproduce this behavior when allowed to freely adapt.
Role of path information in visual perception of joint stiffnessPLOS Computational Biology
Humans have an astonishing ability to extract hidden information from the movement of others. In previous work, subjects observed the motion of a simulated stick-figure, two-link planar arm and estimated its stiffness. Fundamentally, stiffness is the relation between force and displacement. Given that subjects were unable to physically interact with the simulated arm, they were forced to make their estimates solely based on observed kinematic information. Remarkably, subjects were able to correctly correlate their stiffness estimates with changes in the simulated stiffness, despite the lack of force information.
Gait entrainment to torque pulses from a hip exoskeleton robotIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Robot-aided locomotor rehabilitation has proven challenging. To facilitate progress, it is important to first understand the neuro-mechanical dynamics and control of unimpaired human locomotion. Our previous studies found that human gait entrained to periodic torque pulses at the ankle when the pulse period was close to preferred stride duration. Moreover, synchronized gait exhibited a constant phase relation with the pulses so that the robot provided mechanical assistance.
We engineered a protective face shield for COVID-19. Here are management lessons that apply to any industryFast Company
Frank Sup, Meghan Huber and Dave Follette
We invented a unique face shield at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and made the design files available for free online. Made entirely from a single sheet of plastic without any assembly or other materials needed, it can be rapidly mass-produced using die cutting or laser cutting and delivered to personnel in need. Currently, 80,000 face shields are being produced and distributed throughout Massachusetts on behalf of the university.