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Ben Heller

Dr. Ben Heller MEng. PhD.

Principal Research Fellow

Summary

Dr Ben Heller is a principal research fellow in the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University. His expertise is in medical engineering and instrumentation, particularly for the ambulatory monitoring of human activity. Current research areas include ambulatory monitoring of physical activity, motivation of exercise in virtual worlds, ecologically valid measurement of dynamic balance (the smartfloor), characterisation of running biomechanics and advanced functional electrical stimulation approaches in neural rehabilitation.

  • About

    Dr Ben Heller is a principal research fellow in the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University. His expertise is in medical engineering and instrumentation, particularly for the ambulatory monitoring of human activity. 

     After gaining a degree in Engineering Science at the University of Cambridge Ben completed a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. He subsequently worked in Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for 14 years where he specialized in the design of medical instrumentation and the clinical measurement and rehabilitation of movement. After moving to CSER in 2006, Ben continued his work in rehabilitation, but also in the measurement and analysis of information for sports applications. 

     Currently Ben's research focuses on the motivation of movement and exercise through the use of technology-mediated games, monitoring activity and performance in sport and recreation through wearable technology, ecologically valid measurement of dynamic balance (the smartfloor), characterisation of running biomechanics and advanced functional electrical stimulation approaches in neural rehabilitation. In addition to his research Ben supervises several PhD students and manages the Sheffield Physical Activity Observatory; a collection of resources for objectively measuring physical activity.

    Areas of interest:

    • Motivation of movement and exercise through the use of technology-mediated games
    • Monitoring activity and performance in sport and recreation through wearable technology
    • Ecologically valid measurement of dynamic balance (the smartfloor)
    • Characterisation of running biomechanics 
    • Advanced functional electrical stimulation approaches in neural rehabilitation (SheffStim)

  • Teaching

  • Research

    Research centre:

    • Centre for sports Engineering Research (CSER)

    Research theme groups:

    Current research projects:

    • Inertial measurement of physical activity 
    • Modelling of active travel (walking / cycling / running) 
    • Motivation of exercise in virtual environments
    • Measurement of dynamic balance LED pacing technologies

    Collaborators and sponsors:

    • EU (Horizon 2020)
    • On Ag
    • Birmingham City Council
    • Adidas
    • Scribe Labs
    • Department of Health 
    • Dynamic Movement Orthotics
  • Publications

  • Postgraduate supervision

    Current supervised PhD students:

    • Brayne, L., The evaluation of dynamic balance in sport 
    • Bullas, A M.,The importance of complex anthropometrics in the assessment of cyclists
    • Hext, A., Analysis of the short-track speed-skating relay exchange 
    • Van Gelder, L.,The use of real-time biofeedback in gait retraining 
    • Anderson, E., An investigation of movement demands in elite tennis

    Completed supervised PhD students:

    • Clarkson, S., Using consumer depth cameras to measure body segment parameters, June 2015  
    • Balance and response time in patients with chronic tennis elbow, 2011  
    • A surface electrode array-based system for functional electrical stimulation, 2009
    • Synthesising the swing phase in orthotic gait using a hybrid FES spring brake orthosis, 2001  

    Completed postgraduate examinations:

    • MPhil Internal - 0
    • MPhil External - 0
    • PhD Internal - 2
    • PhD External - 5
  • Media

    Dr Ben Heller is a principal research fellow in the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University. His expertise is in medical engineering and instrumentation, particularly for the ambulatory monitoring of human activity. Current research areas include ambulatory monitoring of physical activity, motivation of exercise in virtual worlds, ecologically valid measurement of dynamic balance (the smartfloor), characterisation of running biomechanics and advanced functional electrical stimulation approaches in neural rehabilitation.

    The Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) is led by Dr David James. It is the world's largest academic group in sports engineering and an internationally renowned centre of excellence for research and knowledge transfer. The centre's work is based on four research disciplines; applied computing, biomechanics, design engineering, and skill acquisition. In each area, researchers develop fundamental knowledge and deliver applied solutions to enhance athletic performance, reduce injury and promote physical activity.

    CSER works in partnership with many sport, health and commercial organisations. We are immensely proud of our work with Team GB Olympic, and Paralympic athletes, and we enjoy research partnerships with global organisations such as the International Tennis Federation, FIFA, and Adidas.

    Areas of expertise:

    • Motivation of movement and exercise through the use of technology-mediated games
    • Monitoring activity and performance in sport and recreation through wearable technology
    • Ecologically valid measurement of dynamic balance (the smartfloor)
    • Characterisation of running biomechanics 
    • Advanced functional electrical stimulation approaches in neural rehabilitation (SheffStim)

    Notable media coverage:

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