Research team contacts

Principal Researcher:

Selina Ho, QUT

Associate Researcher:

Associate Professor Paige Little, School of Mech., Medical & Process Engineering, QUT

Research Group:

The QUT Biomechanics & Spine Research Group (BSRG)

Industry partner:


What is the purpose of this research?

The present study aims to provide a broader understanding of:

  • how healthy individuals, of mature age, lie on surfaces of differing stiffness/firmness
  • biomechanical parameters which are relevant for lying comfort
  • how the internal spinal anatomy, external spinal posture and lying pressures (i.e. pressure between the person and the mattress) are related
  • how these biomechanical and postural factors might influence a person’s quality of sleep at night.

Are you looking for people like me?

We are looking for:

  • healthy adults aged between 55 – 70 years old
  • healthy to mid-overweight (BMI of 18-28)
  • has a relatively active lifestyle.

Sorry, you can’t participate if you have:

  • an existing acute spinal condition (note: history of back pain is acceptable)
  • previous spinal surgery (note: other orthopaedic surgery is acceptable)
  • claustrophobia
  • unable to complete the 2-month home trial in Brisbane
  • shoulder width more than 50cm (to fit in the MRI)
  • pacemaker, neurostimulator, or metallic implants
  • diagnosed with a sleep pathology.

What will you ask me to do?

You will be asked to:

  • have an MRI of your torso
  • have an EOS spine scan (very low dose x-ray)
  • have 3D images taken
  • complete home mattress trials
  • sleep with smart watches
  • complete professional sleep assessments.

Are there any risks for me in taking part?

There are minimal risks associated with your participation in this project. These include: mild discomfort from lying on the rigid surface; and exposure to a small amount of radiation during EOS scan.

As part of everyday living, everyone is exposed to naturally occurring background radiation (from things such as the ground, building materials, food, air) and receives a dose of about 2 millisieverts (mSv) each year. The effective dose from this study is about 0.21mSv. At this dose level, no harmful effects of radiation have been demonstrated as any effect is too small to measure.

Please note that MRI does not expose you to any radiation and so is safe for use as long as you do not have any metallic implants such as pace makers, neurostimulators or other implants.

There is a risk that abnormal findings may be found on the MRI or EOS scans of healthy participants. If any abnormality is found, Medical Imaging Radiographers/Radiologists will follow their normal procedures, such that the participant and the researchers will be advised of any findings, and told what to do next and/or a referral to an appropriate medical doctor will be arranged.

Are there any benefits for me in taking part?

It is expected that this project will not benefit you directly. However, it may benefit the general public in the future as lessons learned in terms of the biomechanics of lying comfort and sleep quality will feed into the bedding industry, leading to more supportive and comfortable beds being created and sold.

Will I be compensated for my time?

To recognise your contribution should you choose to participate, you will be given a $75 Woolworths Group Gift Card.

I am interested - what should I do next?

If you or someone you know is interested, please contact

QUT Ethics Number: 1700000335