By Jakobi Haskell
Two research papers published by Brown and MIT researchers last month focus on the possibility of employing improved muscle tracking technology to advance prosthetics.
Magnetomicrometry, the technique explored in the papers, involves inserting miniature magnetic beads directly into muscle tissue and using external magnetic sensors attached to the outside of the limb to triangulate the location of the beads in space, Thomas Roberts, a co-author of the papers and vice chair of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, wrote in an email to The Herald. The sensor information picked up from the beads is sent wirelessly to a nearby recording device, which uses the location of the beads to measure changes in muscle length in real time, Roberts added.
One of the research papers analyzed the accuracy of magnetic tracking by implanting beads into turkeys and recording their movements as they ran on a treadmill at various speeds, according to Roberts.