Presentation on real-time visualization of human muscle movement wins 3DMA award

FEBRUARY 23, 2009--Motek Medical's (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) presentation on its Human Body Model (HBM) digital imaging system has won the Whitaker-Allan Innovation award during the 10th International Symposium of the Technical Section on 3D Analysis of Human Movement of the International Society of Biomechanics (3DMA). The system enables real-time viewing of muscle movement within the human body, using infrared (IR) strobe lights and eight cameras to track muscle movement in patients while they wear reflective suits during exercise. The system aims to help medical professionals more accurately and quickly diagnose disorders, and shorten recovery time for accident and stroke victims.

"Forces are invisible by nature, we can normally only see the results of applied forces on the surrounding world. HBM makes it possible to view the generated muscle forces in the human body in real-time, in a way that makes clear the force transference in the human musculoskeletal system," according to Motek. To achieve this, Motek says it uses fast and accurate real time motion capture data processing into an IK (inverse kinematics) skeletal layer containing joint positions and orientations, another process deriving accelerations and velocities, a further process deriving forward and inverse dynamics in real time, and a final process converting the result streams into 3D visualizations of color and form changes in a 3D accurate human body muscle model.

A report at RedOprbit ( quotes Motek CEO Michiel Westermann as saying the system is now being tested in hospitals and will likely be ready for use by the beginning of 2010. Among applications for the system are:

Orthopedics, including balance compensation anomalies and related postural stability problems, force related postural stability problems, gait problems arising from inefficient muscle usage, early identification of degenerative muscular conditions and dysfunctions, and muscle force distribution visualization for detection of core stability problems.

Neurology, as a means of identifying neural substrates of task difficulty and cognitive effort; for muscle recruitment and control in hemiparesis, TBI and neglect patients and early identification of dystonia and muscular dystrophies.

Fundamental and applied research, including understanding balance compensation strategies and control mechanisms, explorations of the muscle force interactions with spatial environments, and comprehension of sensory inputs & motors in posture and motion.

Sports, for treating muscle imbalance in athletes with recurrent injuries, and identifying technique inefficiencies and performance inhibitors, "wasted" muscle force, and dangerous joint loads in specific motions.

Ergonomics, for studying bending, lifting and carrying, movement efficiency; understanding muscular imbalances and weakness in work related environments. assessment of tool design and related safety issues, and identification of muscle force related lower back pain complaints.

Rehabilitation for recommending appropriate postural adjustments, improving control of weak muscles, and enabling muscle coordination and strength with amputees and joint replacements.

More information:
See the website of Motek Medical BV.
See also the 3DMA conference site.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode,, for BioOptics World.

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