Contractions of a Muscle

Bio­me­cha­nic rese­ar­chers were stu­dy­ing the con­trac­tions of a rat Tibia­lis Ante­rior mus­cle.  It was desi­ra­ble to quick­ly and accu­rate­ly quan­ti­fy the over­all move­ments, as well as loca­li­zed variations.

Challenges

Becau­se the expe­ri­ments invol­ved live tis­su­es, con­ven­tio­nal gau­ges were dif­fi­cult to app­ly and ten­ded to inter­fe­re with the moti­on under stu­dy.  It was important to cap­tu­re data quick­ly, and for as many points as pos­si­ble.  Mar­ker tracking had been used, but pro­vi­ded only gross aver­a­ges.  It was also time-con­suming and tedious for the rese­ar­chers to pro­cess this type of  information.

Solution

The Vic-3D sys­tem was used to rapidly cap­tu­re con­trac­tion data over the ent­i­re mus­cle sur­face.  Due to the system’s speed and sim­pli­ci­ty, it was pos­si­ble to make nume­rous mea­su­re­ments at pre­cise­ly timed inter­vals.  The­re was no inter­ac­tion with the spe­ci­men, and no need to guess which are­as would be of grea­test interest.

The resul­ting mea­su­re­ments pro­vi­ded high spa­ti­al reso­lu­ti­on and made it pos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy nume­rous are­as whe­re “bun­ching” of the mus­cle tis­sue cau­sed signi­fi­cant varia­ti­ons in mus­cle con­trac­tion.  The­se are­as had not been pre­vious­ly iden­ti­fied with con­ven­tio­nal methods.  Final­ly, all cal­cu­la­ti­ons were done auto­ma­ti­cal­ly.  This saved con­si­derable time and avoided the pos­si­bi­li­ty of human error in the data processing.