Fascinated with the mechanics of muscle movement in people and animals, Simon Fraser University associate professor James Wakeling has developed a new method using ultrasound imaging, 3-D motion-capture technology and proprietary data-processing software to scan and capture 3D maps of the muscle structure—in just 90 seconds.
The new signal-processing method allows for viewing muscle activation details that have never been seen before, according to a university press release.
Previous methods took 15 minutes to do the job—too long to ask people to hold a muscle contraction, according to the press release.
The key to the breakthrough is the way the software processes the data, says Wakeling, who teaches in the university’s department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology.
“Now, we can get people to do muscle contractions and we can actually see how the internal structure of the muscle changes,” he says.
“Wakeling’s goal is to improve the muscle models used in musculoskeletal simulation software that predicts how people move and the forces on their joints,” the press release noted.
Current packages are missing important information about muscle contraction, such as how the muscle shape changes, how it bulges, or how the internal muscle fibers become more curved, according to the press release.
“We’re poised to start making new observations and insights, and to do new experiments that haven’t been possible before,” Wakeling said.