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Advanced Technology

The UNO Biomechanics Research Building has been characterized as “The Disneyland of Biomechanics” for good reason — its equipment and facilities are second to none for studying the motion and operation of the human body. Following are just a few highlights.

Experienced Experts

The UNO Biomechanics Research Building accommodates a team of 20 faculty, 50 graduate students and 20 post-doctoral students. The following faculty serve as NSRI Fellows, committed to bringing their capabilities, expertise and capacity forward for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Contributions to Our Defenders

Researchers use the premiere facility to create a wide variety of concrete benefits for warfighters. Following are three examples of the many former and active efforts for national security. 
Three people, one on large treadmill with sensors placed on hands and head.

An NSRI project led by NSRI Fellow Dr. Aaron Likens, UNO biomechanics assistant professor, created a readiness toolkit for the CCDC Soldier Center to analyze a soldier’s physical condition and provide concrete data to decision-makers about troop conditions.

“This technology will give unit leaders and the soldiers themselves more information about how the unit is performing in real-time, allowing them to make informed decisions that may impact mission success,” Dr. Likens said.

Pictured: Dr. Likens (left) with graduate assistants Taylor Wilson (middle) and Kolby Brink (right). Wilson stands on an instrumented treadmill while wearing inertial measurement units. The equipment helps measure movements during locomotion.

Illustration of the inner mechanism of tan military boot with circular diagram indicating direction

Currently under development is a prototype exoskeleton boot that will allow soldiers with ankle injuries more freedom of movement while recovering — this equipment adheres to U.S. Army regulations that prohibit visible assistance devices during active duty. Several labs at UNO allowed students leading this project to assess existing support devices objectively and figure out what could be improved specifically for use by soldiers.

Pictured: Diagram of the exoskeleton.

Yury Salkovskiy, Ph.D., works in the Materials Lab taking off cloth created by laying material over a cylindrical tube using an electrical field.

An $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health has established the Center for Cardiovascular Research in Biomechanics (CRiB), a groundbreaking initiative to develop innovative materials and devices to address the pressing challenges posed by vascular diseases, which remain a leading cause of death and disability globally. CRiB also supports the development of novel infection-resistant wound dressings and vascular grafts, as well as endovascular solutions for warfighters, such as devices for hemorrhage control, robotic catheters, compliant stent-grafts for trauma and many more.

Pictured: NSRI Fellow Yury Salkovskiy, Ph.D., works in the Materials Lab taking off cloth created by laying material over a cylindrical tube using an electrical field.

Human Movement of the Future


The Aquatic Therapy lab features an underwater treadmill where participants can sit, stand, walk or run partially submerged underwater. Researchers can study muscle activation and leg motion underwater to better understand movement demands and to design effective rehabilitation from musculoskeletal injuries.


While providing research deliverables, the department also trains collegiate students at all levels to help them gain the expertise they will need to provide solutions in the future. Students are actively involved in most of the research projects taking place in the Biomechanics Research Building. For example, Kolby Brink, now a doctoral student, spoke with NSRI about his experience working on the soldier readiness toolkit in 2020.

"This study has allowed me to ‘jump in with both feet,’ as I am learning several things I had little experience with before."
-Kolby Brink

"The new methods of analyses implemented during this study will provide me with a vast opportunity for exploration and discovery as I learn the various new programs," Brink said.

Developing and supporting the next generation of talented and specialized researchers is one way to ensure UNO will continue to grow and adapt to meet new challenges in the field of biomechanics, including finding solutions for DOD challenges.

"The department is uniquely positioned to meet the complex ongoing needs of the DOD,” explained Dr. Kamenskiy. “Our faculty bring diverse specializations and are adept at team-based problem-solving and dedicated to addressing real-world challenges.

"We are able to tailor our expertise to meet specific needs, whether they involve material science, biomechanical engineering or rehabilitative technologies, and our faculty have proven capabilities in translating research into industrial-scale production."
-Dr. Alexey Kamenskiy

Dr. Thiem elaborated on the benefit the facility can provide to the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The research completed at UNO will provide improved force readiness through reduction of injury and expedited recovery and return to duty when an injury occurs, in addition to supporting our veterans after they’ve completed their military careers," Dr. Thiem said. "For example, developments such as a self-paced treadmill can be used both by warfighters recovering from service-related mishaps and also by veterans recovering from a stroke."

Understanding and supporting the physical bodies of our warfighters is essential for maintaining combat readiness. The UNO Biomechanics Research Building provides the facilities, equipment and capacity researchers need to create solutions — to evaluate warfighter conditions, predict and prevent injuries and support those who have been injured, whether in the field or back home.

Tracking warfighter conditions through wearable sensors, designing state-of-the-art braces for injured soldiers and developing new materials to better treat injuries in the field are just the beginning of the advancements this uniquely equipped facility will provide in coming months and years to help ensure the U.S. military stays the best in the world.


Connect With NSRI

As the DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) of U.S. Strategic Command and the University of Nebraska System, the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) delivers solutions for strategic deterrence and CWMD mission requirements gaps. Our rapid-response capabilities and efficient contracting vehicle can help federal government program managers meet critical research and development needs. Connect with us to learn more.

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