MIRA University of Twente
Department of Biomechanical Engineering

Department of Biomechanical Engineering

Balance control and corticospinal circuits - Cortical contribution in balance control



Twente University


(Bio-)Mechanical engineering


Balroom, Corticospinal circuits


Denise Engelhart, Floor Campfens

Alfred Schouten, Herman van der Kooij


Assignment introduction

This project is the intersection of two research projects: balance control and identification of the corticospinal circuits. The aim is to quantify cortical contributions in balance control using EEG recordings and recent advances in system identification.

Despite the ease at which healthy people maintain their balance, maintaining an upright posture requires continuous control of posture. The human body is essentially an inverted pendulum that would fall over when confronted with the slightest deviation from a perfect upright position. At the University of Twente, within the Laboratory of Biomechanical engineering, techniques are developed to unravel specific aspects of balance control, such as the integration of sensory information and the contribution of different joints (left and right ankle and hip joints). The role of the cortex has remained unexplored so far.

The cortical involvement in planning and controlling a motor task can be quantified using coherence between the EEG (brain) and EMG (muscle) signals: corticomuscular coherence (CMC). CMC is a measure for the synchronization between brain activity and muscle activation. Recent experiments at the University of Twente revealed that the addition of perturbations enhance corticomuscular coherence, making it an even better measure to quantify the involvement of the cortex in a specific task. As perturbations are necessary to study a closed loop system such as balance control, we want to combine both worlds and study the cortical involvement in balance control using perturbations.


The aim of this master assignment is to explore the use of EEG measurements and corticomuscular coherence to quantify cortical involvement in balance control



Literature review on cortical involvement in balance control


Testing of various perturbations and EEG analysis techniques, including corticomuscular coherence


Performing final experiments in a group of healthy volunteers


Writing of a final report in the form of a scientific research paper

Further information:

If you want to participate in this project and take on a challenging master assignment, please contact Floor Campfens and/or Denise Engelhart

Also students who still need to find an (international) internship are invited to respond to this master assignment, we can help you look for an internship which can complement the master assignment.