Thursday, 26 February 2009

New toys...

After my last meeting with the CMTF team I was able to get my hands on some of the electronic components that will dictate the dimensions of the units. The first picture shows the circuit board used for the motion capture sensor and the one used for the data collecting unit. The sizes are pretty fixed by now bit I had the chance to move some components on the capture sensor board.

This is the rough size of the capture sensor, looks pretty small the trick is that on top of it here is a 3 axis cubic accelerometer that measures around 20x20x20mm.

Some new sketches of the sensor now considering the right sizes and proportions. One of the directions looks really promising, simple shapes and construction... more to come on it.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Mockup 01 - Knee

Here are some pictures of a simple mockup tested with the help of one of my colleagues.
The chosen configuration for this test was the simplest possible, two leg braces connected by exposed cables. This mockup showed that exposed cabled may not be a problem during functional testings in a controlled environment but they can be quite of an issue for athletes and professional users. Was also possible to observe that a larger contact surface would provide better stabilization for the sensors.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Motion capture sensors

Even though I'm not in the styling phase of the project yet, I took some time to play around with the shape of the motion capture sensors. One of the conclusions I took after these sketches is that this sensor must be an independent product which can be attached or detached whenever it's necessary. This way the same sensor can be used in different harnesses and braces.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Design Language

I'm getting into a point on this project where things tend to get a bit more visual... A mood board helps keeping the track on the look and feel of the product and that's what I'm trying to get here. The final look of this product must evoke precision and professionalism since it's meant to be used by professionals in either sports or medicine fields. I named this Formal language "Technorganic" since the project has two strong sides the high-end electronic components and the organic shapes of the human body. here is a mood board to set the visual pace.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Technology

At the moment we have one working unit with two Movement capture sensors. This unit is consisted of:
1 - Control box. This box holds one micro processor, one blue tooth radio transmitter, one SD card port, inboard memory and the system's batteries.
2 - Movement capture sensors. These sensors consist of one circuit board that holds one 5 axis accelerometer. The whole system is connected by flat circuit cables.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Scenarios - 03

Scenario 03
Work environment and professional measuring:

Many professions demand direct use of body and motion. The people responsible for executing these tasks can experience several orthopedic problems connected to their activities. In order to study and avoid possible problems a portable movement analysis unit aligned with a strain gauge could provide precise information about movement and force applied by these professionals during their activities. This data would help to optimize their routine and health.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Hospital Visits

During my second visit to the Norrlands Hospital I followed Dr. Anna Kallstromer, physiotherapist and I had a chance to observe the exam of a man who have had his hip joint replaced five weeks before. This exam consisted of a routine of really simple movements performed by the patient who was observed all the time by the doctor. The conclusions taken after this session are simple but prove what I was thinking since the start. A product used in such exam must be simple and easy to use but since it is such a controlled environment concerns about super strong fastening systems and placement of possible connection cables can be taken down a notch. Here you can see some quick sketches of the movements performed by the patient:

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Scenarios - 02

Scenario 02
Functional exams for patients who had gone or are about to go through orthopedic surgery:

This is the original scenario thought for the project a small measuring unit connected to the patient's limbs to assist the doctor with real time numeric data during the exams. In a situation like this the patient would not have to wear it for long periods so it should be extremely easy to attach and detach.

Scenarios - 01

I'm currently working on possible scenarios for this technology. I'll be posting them here as well. Here is the first one...

Scenario 01
Professional Athlete | Performance enhancer:

An athlete’s body position can make or brake a result. Downhill skiing can be a good example, the slightest mistake during a run can add fractions of a second to the final time which can mean the difference between first or second place. Nowadays the analysis of an athlete’s movement’s is made with images recorded throughout his/hers run. The data acquired with these methods is only visual and not accurate. Aligning a PMAU with GPS technology would allow an athlete’s movements to be analyzed in real time in an specific spot of the track this data could be stored to be latter compared with others. A graphic skeleton representing the athlete would mimic all the movements so the trainer could observe gain or lost of time during certain moves in certain sections of the course. Allowing this way the trainer and athlete to discuss what can be done to improve the performance during the final run.

Product Architecture

Here are some early stage sketches exploring fixations and fastening methods. There were all donne before my visits to the hospital, so some ideas are discarded for functional testing on patients and others start to look really interesting for athletes.

Hospital Visits

Hospital visit day 1
February, 3rd 2009

On the third of February I had the chance to follow Dr. Nilsson, orthopedist at the Umeå University Hospital, for a morning of exams in different patients. From the six exams observed five were performed in elder women with some kind movement difficulty in different levels and very different body sizes and proportions. Any device intended to aid during these exams must have a very versatile fastening system so it can be placed in a variety of users with different proportions and dimensions. The Sixth exam was performed in a male patient who had been gone through a corrective surgery to straighten his right leg and had stabilizing pins coming out of his leg. He was there to have the pins removed, but in case he had to go through some kind of exam any device used should be able to be positioned considering possible stabilizing pins or the traumatized ares in where they were positioned.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

So what's this project all about?

The aim of this project is to adapt CMTF's movement capture sensors technology in to a commercially viable product solution. A Portable Movement Analysis Unit, as it can be called, could have numerous applications in different fields like functional exams for pre or post surgery patients, evaluation of athletes in recovery and monitoriong of professional who perform physical activities to name a few. This product could also be aligne with other technologies to create new ways to mesure and explore our body movements.

Interesting / Inspirational

Two links about different approaches on prosthetic design.
Even though this is not my field of attack these projects are quite interesting.

1 - Design revolution of prosthetic supports

2 - Immaculate

More to come...

Sponsor | Department of Biomedical Engineering and Informatics

The Department of Biomedical Engineering and Informatics at Umeå University is a network centre involving several departments at Umeå University, Umeå University Hospital and Luleå University of Technology as well as companies in the field. The aim is to develop new product ideas through advanced university research that will benefit the health-care system.

Getting it going...

First of many posts about the development of my degree project. Here You will be able to check the latest news on the project and it's complete design process. So keep an eye on it and hope you enjoy!