Professor
B.App.Sc. Mechanical Engineering (University of British Columbia)
M.Sc., Ph.D. Medical Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Phone: (778) 782-3566
Fax: (778) 782-3040
Email: stever@sfu.ca

Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory

Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors


Injury Prevention & Mobility Biomechanics

My research group uses the tools of biomechanics to develop and evaluate novel techniques for preventing disability and injury. We seek 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, we are interested in understanding the relative importance of strength versus reaction time in affecting mobility and balance. A particular focus of the laboratory is the prevention of injuries in the event of fall (especially hip fractures, wrist fractures, and brain injuries). Here, we 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. We 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. An increasing focus is monitoring movement patterns in the real-life environment, through miniature wearable sensors and video technology. Trainees are exposed to a combination of basic and applied research, including industry collaborations, and efforts to develop international testing standards. The lab has also developed several novel experimental techniques that are now being duplicated by former trainees and other research groups internationally. For more information, please refer to www.sfu.ca/ipml/ or www.sfu.ca/tips.

Selected Publications:

  • Robinovitch SN, Feldman F, Yang Y, Schonnop R, Leung PM, Sarraf T, Sims-Gould J, Loughin M (2013) Video capture of the circumstances of falls in elderly people residing in long-term care: an observational study. Lancet 381:47-54
  • Schonnop R, Yang Y, Feldman F, Robinson E, Loughin M, Robinovitch SN (2013) Prevalence of and factors associated with head impact during falls in older adults in long-term care. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal 185:E803-810
  • Yang Y, Schonnop R, Feldman F, Robinovitch SN (2013) Development and validation of a questionnaire for analyzing real-life falls in long-term care captured on video. BMC Geriatrics 13:40
  • Lee JK, Park EJ, Robinovitch SN (2012): Estimation of Attitude and External Acceleration Using Inertial Sensor Measurement During Various Dynamic Conditions. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement 61(8):2262-2273.
  • Aziz O, Park EJ, Mori G, Robinovitch SN (2012): Distinguishing near-falls from daily activities with wearable accelerometers and gyroscopes using Support Vector Machines. Conference Proceedings IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society 2012:5837-40.
  • Van Toen C, Sran MM, Robinovitch SN, Cripton PA (2012): Transmission of force in the lumbosacral spine during backward falls. Spine 37(9):E519-27
  • Choi WJ, Robinovitch SN (2011): Pressure distribution over the palm region during forward falls on the outstretched hands. Journal of Biomechanics 44(3):532-9.
  • Laing AC, Robinovitch SN (2009) Low stiffness floors can attenuate fall-related femoral impact forces by up to 50% without substantially impairing balance in older women. Accident Analysis and Prevention 41:642-650
  • Van Toen, C., Sran, M.M., Robinovitch, S.N., and Cripton, PA.: Transmission of force in the lumbosacral spine during backward falls. Accepted, Spine, 2011.
  • Laing, A.C., Feldman, F., Jalili, M., Tsai, C.M., and Robinovitch, S.N.: The effects of pad geometry and material properties on the biomechanical effectiveness of 26 commercially available hip protectors. Journal of Biomechanics, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.08.016
  • Aziz, O., and Robinovitch, S.N.: An analysis of the accuracy of wearable sensors for detecting falls caused by slips and trips. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 2011Aug22. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Choi, W. J., and Robinovitch, S.N.: Pressure distribution over the palm region during forward falls on the outstretched hands. Journal of Biomechanics, 44: 532-9, 2011.
  • Sran, M., Stotz, P., Normandin, S., and Robinovitch, S.N.: Age differences in energy absorption in the upper extremity during a descent movement: implications for arresting a fall. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 65: 312-7, 2010.
  • Robinovitch, S.N., Evans, S., Minns, J., Laing, A.C., Kannus, P., Cripton, P., Derler, S., Birge, S., Plant, D., Cameron, I., Kiel, D.P., Howland, J., Khan, K., and Lauritzen, J.: Hip protectors: Recommendations for biomechanical testing – an international consensus statement. Osteoporosis International, 20: 1977-88, 2009.
  • Laing, A.C., and Robinovitch, S.N.: Low stiffness floors can attenuate fall-related femoral impact forces by up to 50% without substantially impairing balance in older women. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41: 642-50, 2009.
  • Murnaghan, C., Elston, B., Mackey, D.C., and Robinovitch, S.N.: Modeling of postural stability borders during heel-toe rocking. Gait and Posture, 30: 161-7, 2009.
  • Laing, A.C., and Robinovitch, S.N.: The force attenuation provided by hip protectors depends on impact velocity, pelvic size, and soft tissue stiffness. ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 130(6): 061005 (9 pages), 2008.
  • Weerdesteyn, V., Laing, A., Robinovitch, S.N.: Automated postural responses are modified in a functional manner by cognitive set, Experimental Brain Research, 186(4): 571-80, 2008.
  • Liu–Ambrose, T. Ahmed, Y. Graf, P., Feldman, F., and Robinovitch, S.N.: Older fallers with poor executive functioning overestimate their postural limits. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 89(7):1335-40, 2008.
  • Feldman, F., Robinovitch, S.N.: Reducing hip fracture risk during sideways falls: Evidence in young adults of the protective effects of impact to the hands and stepping. Journal of Biomechanics, 40: 2612–2618, 2007.

For a full listing of publications, please visit PubMed