The research focus of the Optimization, Robotics & Biomechanics (ORB) group is on modeling, optimization and simulation of dynamic motions of anthropomorphic systems, i.e. humans, humanoid robots, and virtual human characters. Other research directions include motions of industrial robots, art robots, flying robots and swarm robots. From a mathematical perspective, we are particularly interested in the application and development of efficient numerical optimal control, inverse optimal control and non-smooth optimization techniques for complex hybrid dynamical system models. We also develop efficient tools to set up realistic dynamical optimization models of humans, robots and other technical devices including rigid multibody system models, muscle models and neural control.
We are interested in all aspects of the analysis of complex systems using quantitative imaging. This includes developing mathematical approaches for image processing in conjunction with physical and chemical modeling as well as devising measurement techniques. Approaches developed are based on solving inverse problems. Models are formulated continuously applying variational principles or discretely using statistical methods. Our work is concentrated on model development, parameter estimation, solving partial differential equations (PDEs), model selection, confidence measures and physically based interpolation.
We are interested in synaptic inhibition and in the mechanisms underlying coordinated spatio-temporal patterns of activity within neuronal networks. Besides normal physiology, we try to contribute to the analysis of pathological conditions like epilepsy, depression and Alzheimer´s disease. We use a broad spectrum of methods, mostly electrophysiological techniques and imaging in vitro and in vivo.
Our research focuses on the interaction of brain and behavior, in particular the question how behavior and experience influence neural processes and how neural processes alter behavior and experience. A special focus is on the role of implicit learning and memory processes in the development and maintenance of mental and psychophysiological disorders such as chronic pain, anxiety disorders or pathological aging. This includes experimental psychological approaches, neuropsychological testing, peripheral physiological assessments as well as structural and functional brain imaging and brain stimulation methods. In addition, treatment approaches using behavioral and combined pharmacological-behavioral treatments are developed and examined. These include extinction training, sensory discrimination training, applications in augmented and virtual reality, neurofeedback and brain computer interfaces.