Preterm babies are helping us to better understand early motor development
A lamb is born ready to walk within minutes. A human infant, on the other hand, takes about a month to even raise its head. It is not until about eight months before some are crawling. Studying early development of motor control is difficult if not impossible in full-term babies since most neonates are at home within a few days of their birth. The INFANTPATTERNS project is studying full-body movements in preterm infants to overcome this practical challenge. Combining neonatal and robotics expertise, the project will measure forces and movements with dedicated systems for biomechanics including recording of electrical signals in muscles. Outcomes will fill an important gap in our understanding of early sensorimotor development.