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Special Issue "Sensors for Biomechanics Application"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Christian Peham
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Veterinary Medicine, Department for Companion Animals and Horses, Vienna, Austria
Interests: equine biomechanics, motion analysis, canine biomechanics, muskolo-skeletal modelling and simulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sensors in biomechanics have changed and extended the possibilities of biomechanical analysis. In particular, IMU (inertial measurement units) are key elements in robotics, feedback systems, and motion analysis in biomechanics and can be combined with EMG systems (muscle activity) and ultrasound systems to detect muscle activity and tendon strains.

High-precision detection and feedback systems in medicine, sports, research, and robotics applications are essential and will revolutionize biomechanics in the near future. This growing progress in the performance of sensors leads to a steady approach to practical needs.

This Special Issue aims to highlight advances in the development, testing, and modelling of biomechanical sensors on the component level as well as within biomechanical systems. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Accelerometers
  • Gyroscopes
  • Force sensors (strain gauge, piezo, etc.)
  • Pressure sensors (capacitive, optical, piezo, strain gauge, etc.)
  • Fibre optic sensors
  • EMG electrodes (surface, needle, array, capacitive)
  • Ultrasound sensors
  • Ultra-wide band radar
  • Gonimeters
  • Optical tracking systems
  • Nanomaterial-based sensors
  • Advanced Sensor Characterization Techniques
  • Sensor Error Modelling and Online Calibration
  • Pattern recognition algorithm
  • Deep learning

Prof. Dr. Christian Peham
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biomechanical sensors
  • Fusion of sensor systems
  • Modelling and simulation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
On the Noise Complexity in an Optical Motion Capture Facility
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4435; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204435 - 13 Oct 2019
Abstract
Optical motion capture systems are state-of-the-art in motion acquisition; however, like any measurement system they are not error-free: noise is their intrinsic feature. The works so far mostly employ a simple noise model, expressing the uncertainty as a simple variance. In the work, [...] Read more.
Optical motion capture systems are state-of-the-art in motion acquisition; however, like any measurement system they are not error-free: noise is their intrinsic feature. The works so far mostly employ a simple noise model, expressing the uncertainty as a simple variance. In the work, we demonstrate that it might be not sufficient and we prove the existence of several types of noise and demonstrate how to quantify them using Allan variance. Such a knowledge is especially important for using optical motion capture to calibrate other techniques, and for applications requiring very fine quality of recording. For the automated readout of the noise coefficients, we solve the multidimensional regression problem using sophisticated metaheuristics in the exploration-exploitation scheme. We identified in the laboratory the notable contribution to the overall noise from white noise and random walk, and a minor contribution from blue noise and flicker, whereas the violet noise is absent. Besides classic types of noise we identified the presence of the correlated noises and periodic distortion. We analyzed also how the noise types scale with an increasing number of cameras. We had also the opportunity to observe the influence of camera failure on the overall performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Agile Canine Gait Characteristics Using Accelerometry
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4379; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204379 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
The high rate of severe injuries associated with racing greyhounds poses a significant problem for both animal welfare and the racing industry. Using accelerometry to develop a better understanding of the complex gait of these agile canines may help to eliminate injury contributing [...] Read more.
The high rate of severe injuries associated with racing greyhounds poses a significant problem for both animal welfare and the racing industry. Using accelerometry to develop a better understanding of the complex gait of these agile canines may help to eliminate injury contributing factors. This study used a single Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) equipped with a tri-axial accelerometer to characterise the galloping of thirty-one greyhounds on five different race tracks. The dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior accelerations were analysed in both the time and frequency domains. The fast Fourier transform (FFT) and Morlet wavelet transform were applied to signals. The time-domain signals were synced with the corresponding high frame rate videos of the race. It is observed that the acceleration peaks in the dorsal-ventral accelerations correspond to the hind-leg strikes which were noted to be fifteen times the greyhound’s weight. The FFT analysis showed that the stride frequencies in all tracks were around 3.5 Hz. The Morlet wavelet analysis also showed a reduction in both the frequency and magnitude of signals, which suggests a speed reduction throughout the race. Also, by detecting abrupt changes along the track, the wavelet analysis highlighted potentially hazardous locations on the track. In conclusion, the methods applied in this research contribute to animal safety and welfare by eliminating the factors leading to injuries through optimising the track design and surface type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a New Embedded Dynamometer for the Measurement of Forces and Torques at the Ski-Binding Interface
Sensors 2019, 19(19), 4324; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19194324 - 07 Oct 2019
Abstract
In alpine skiing, understanding the interaction between skiers and snow is of primary importance for both injury prevention as well as performance analysis. Risk of injuries is directly linked to constraints undergone by the skier. A force platform placed as an interface between [...] Read more.
In alpine skiing, understanding the interaction between skiers and snow is of primary importance for both injury prevention as well as performance analysis. Risk of injuries is directly linked to constraints undergone by the skier. A force platform placed as an interface between the ski and the skier should allow a better understanding of these constraints to be obtained to thereby develop a more reliable release system of binding. It should also provide useful information to allow for better physical condition training of athletes and non-professional skiers to reduce the risk of injury. Force and torque measurements also allow for a better understanding of the skiers’ technique (i.e., load evolution during turns, force distribution between left and right leg…). Therefore, the aim of this project was to develop a new embedded force platform that could be placed between the ski boot and the binding. First, the physical specifications of the dynamometer are listed as well as the measurement scope. Then, several iterations were performed on parametric 3D modeling and finite element analysis to obtain an optimal design. Two platforms were then machined and equipped with strain gauges. Finally, the calibration was performed on a dedicated test bench. The accuracy of the system was between 1.3 and 12.8% of the applied load. These results show a very good linearity of the system, which indicate a great outcome of the design. Field tests also highlighted the ease of use and reliability. This new dynamometer will allow skiers to wear their own equipment while measuring force and torque in real skiing conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Testing of a MEMS Dynamic Inclinometer Using the Stewart Platform
Sensors 2019, 19(19), 4233; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19194233 - 29 Sep 2019
Abstract
The micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) dynamic inclinometer integrates a tri-axis gyroscope and a tri-axis accelerometer for real-time tilt measurement. The Stewart platform has the ability to generate six degrees of freedom of spatial orbits. The method of applying spatial orbits to the testing of [...] Read more.
The micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) dynamic inclinometer integrates a tri-axis gyroscope and a tri-axis accelerometer for real-time tilt measurement. The Stewart platform has the ability to generate six degrees of freedom of spatial orbits. The method of applying spatial orbits to the testing of MEMS inclinometers is investigated. Inverse and forward kinematics are analyzed for controlling and measuring the position and orientation of the Stewart platform. The Stewart platform is controlled to generate a conical motion, based on which the sensitivities of the gyroscope, accelerometer, and tilt sensing are determined. Spatial positional orbits are also generated in order to obtain the tilt angles caused by the cross-coupling influence. The experiment is conducted to show that the tested amplitude frequency deviations of the gyroscope and tilt sensing sensitivities between the Stewart platform and the traditional rotator are less than 0.2 dB and 0.1 dB, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Aerosol Electrospray Analysis of Metal-on-Metal Wear Particles from Simulated Total Joint Replacement
Sensors 2019, 19(17), 3751; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19173751 - 30 Aug 2019
Abstract
Wear is a common cause for aseptic loosening in artificial joints. The purpose of this study was to develop an automated diagnostical method for identification of the number and size distribution of wear debris. For this purpose, metal debris samples were extracted from [...] Read more.
Wear is a common cause for aseptic loosening in artificial joints. The purpose of this study was to develop an automated diagnostical method for identification of the number and size distribution of wear debris. For this purpose, metal debris samples were extracted from a hip simulator and then analyzed by the electrospray method combined with a differential mobility analyzer, allowing particle detection ranging from several nanometers up to 1 µm. Wear particles were identified with a characteristic peak at 15 nm. The electrospray setup was successfully used and validated for the first time to characterize wear debris from simulated total joint replacement. The advantages of this diagnostic method are its time- and financial efficiency and its suitability for testing of different materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Kelvin–Voigt Parameters Reconstruction of Cervical Tissue-Mimicking Phantoms Using Torsional Wave Elastography
Sensors 2019, 19(15), 3281; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19153281 - 25 Jul 2019
Abstract
The reconstruction of viscous properties of soft tissues, and more specifically, of cervical tissue is a challenging problem. In this paper, a new method is proposed to reconstruct the viscoelastic parameters of cervical tissue-mimicking phantoms by a Torsional Wave Elastography (TWE) technique. The [...] Read more.
The reconstruction of viscous properties of soft tissues, and more specifically, of cervical tissue is a challenging problem. In this paper, a new method is proposed to reconstruct the viscoelastic parameters of cervical tissue-mimicking phantoms by a Torsional Wave Elastography (TWE) technique. The reconstruction method, based on a Probabilistic Inverse Problem (PIP) approach, is presented and experimentally validated against Shear Wave Elastography (SWE). The anatomy of the cervical tissue has been mimicked by means of a two-layer gelatine phantom that simulates the epithelial and connective layers. Five ad hoc oil-in-gelatine phantoms were fabricated at different proportion to test the new reconstruction technique. The PIP approach was used for reconstructing the Kelvin-Voigt (KV) viscoelastic parameters by comparing the measurements obtained from the TWE technique with the synthetic signals from a Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) KV wave propagation model. Additionally, SWE tests were realized in order to characterize the viscoelastic properties of each batch of gelatine. Finally, validation was carried out by comparing the KV parameters inferred from the PIP with those reconstructed from the shear wave dispersion curve obtained from the SWE measurements. In order to test the degree of agreement between both techniques, a Student’s T-test and a Pearson’s correlation study were performed. The results indicate that the proposed method is able to reconstruct the KV viscoelastic properties of the cervical tissue, for both the epithelial and connective layers, as well as the thickness of the first layer with acceptable accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Simultaneous Floating-Base Estimation of Human Kinematics and Joint Torques
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2794; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122794 - 21 Jun 2019
Abstract
The paper presents a stochastic methodology for the simultaneous floating-base estimation of the human whole-body kinematics and dynamics (i.e., joint torques, internal and external forces). The paper builds upon our former work where a fixed-base formulation had been developed for the human estimation [...] Read more.
The paper presents a stochastic methodology for the simultaneous floating-base estimation of the human whole-body kinematics and dynamics (i.e., joint torques, internal and external forces). The paper builds upon our former work where a fixed-base formulation had been developed for the human estimation problem. The presented approach is validated by presenting experimental results of a health subject equipped with a wearable motion tracking system and a pair of shoes sensorized with force/torque sensors while performing different motion tasks, e.g., walking on a treadmill. The results show that joint torque estimates obtained by using floating-base and fixed-base approaches match satisfactorily, thus validating the present approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Constraint-Based Optimized Human Skeleton Extraction from Single-Depth Camera
Sensors 2019, 19(11), 2604; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19112604 - 07 Jun 2019
Abstract
As a cutting-edge research topic in computer vision and graphics for decades, human skeleton extraction from single-depth camera remains challenging due to possibly occurring occlusions of different body parts, huge appearance variations, and sensor noise. In this paper, we propose to incorporate human [...] Read more.
As a cutting-edge research topic in computer vision and graphics for decades, human skeleton extraction from single-depth camera remains challenging due to possibly occurring occlusions of different body parts, huge appearance variations, and sensor noise. In this paper, we propose to incorporate human skeleton length conservation and symmetry priors as well as temporal constraints to enhance the consistency and continuity for the estimated skeleton of a moving human body. Given an initial estimation of the skeleton joint positions provided per frame by the Kinect SDK or Nuitrack SDK, which do not follow the aforementioned priors and can prone to errors, our framework improves the accuracy of these pose estimates based on the length and symmetry constraints. In addition, our method is device-independent and can be integrated into skeleton extraction SDKs for refinement, allowing the detection of outliers within the initial joint location estimates and predicting new joint location estimates following the temporal observations. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of our approach in several cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Ultrasound as a Tool to Study Muscle–Tendon Functions during Locomotion: A Systematic Review of Applications
Sensors 2019, 19(19), 4316; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19194316 - 05 Oct 2019
Abstract
Movement science investigating muscle and tendon functions during locomotion utilizes commercial ultrasound imagers built for medical applications. These limit biomechanics research due to their form factor, range of view, and spatio-temporal resolution. This review systematically investigates the technical aspects of applying ultrasound as [...] Read more.
Movement science investigating muscle and tendon functions during locomotion utilizes commercial ultrasound imagers built for medical applications. These limit biomechanics research due to their form factor, range of view, and spatio-temporal resolution. This review systematically investigates the technical aspects of applying ultrasound as a research tool to investigate human and animal locomotion. It provides an overview on the ultrasound systems used and of their operating parameters. We present measured fascicle velocities and discuss the results with respect to operating frame rates during recording. Furthermore, we derive why muscle and tendon functions should be recorded with a frame rate of at least 150 Hz and a range of view of 250 mm. Moreover, we analyze why and how the development of better ultrasound observation devices at the hierarchical level of muscles and tendons can support biomechanics research. Additionally, we present recent technological advances and their possible application. We provide a list of recommendations for the development of a more advanced ultrasound sensor system class targeting biomechanical applications. Looking to the future, mobile, ultrafast ultrasound hardware technologies create immense opportunities to expand the existing knowledge of human and animal movement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Biomechanics Application)
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