Dr. Robinovitch is a Core Member at the Centre For Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver General Hospital and is part of the International Collaboration on Repair Discovery. He works with hip and fall researchers across Canada, the USA, and the UK. Dr. Robinovitch’s research group uses the tools of biomechanics to develop and evaluate novel techniques for preventing disability and injury. He seeks to generate new understanding of the risk factors for injury and mobility impairment, and to develop and test novel interventions. Most projects involve experimental measures of human movement dynamics, often combined with computer-based modeling efforts. For example, his group is interested in understanding the relative importance of strength versus reaction time in affecting mobility and balance. A particular focus of Dr. Robinovitch’s laboratory is the prevention of injuries in the event of fall (especially hip fractures, wrist fractures, and brain injuries).
Experimental equipment in the “Falling Lab”“ includes computer-controlled platforms to simulate slips and trips, head-mounted gaze-measurement and vision occlusion glasses, mattress-style floors, and artificial pelvises wired with pressure sensors and accelerometers. Here, Dr. Robinovitch and his team are designing and testing the ability of energy-absorbing floors and protective clothing (e.g., hip padding devices) to reduce impact forces and injury risk during falls. They are also examining the cause of age-related changes in fall protective responses (e.g., use of the hands to arrest the fall), with the aim of developing exercise-based therapies for fracture prevention.
Dr. Robinovitch's research extends beyond the lab; an increasing focus is monitoring movement patterns in the real-life environment, through miniature wearable sensors and video technology. Working with a broad range of researchers he investigates activity patterns of the elderly in daily life, comparing the movements of those who fall repeatedly with those who rarely lose their balance. His work is helping to put Canada at the forefront for healthy aging in the world.