Navigation Links
New model shows importance of feet, toes in body balance
Date:3/10/2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers are using a new model to learn more about how toe strength can determine how far people can lean while keeping their balance.

The results could help in building robotic body parts that will closely imitate human movement, and might lead to a new generation of advanced prosthetics.

Hooshang Hemami, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Ohio State University built a complex computational model of the human foot to look at the role of the feet and toes in determining the body's movement and balance.

Many studies concerning human balance have emphasized the legs and upper body while ignoring the feet, he said.

Hemami is one of a handful of researchers who are analyzing how manipulating toe strength can affect human balance.

"In order to reduce the complexity of the problem, the feet are often either neglected or modeled using simple shapes that don't really give full credit to the importance of feet," Hemami continued.

Hemami and a colleague, Laura Humphrey, designed a computer model of a body and foot which assigned four different sections to represent different parts of the foot, while assigning the body one section. This allowed Hemami and Humphrey to focus primarily on the pressure of the feet and toes as they manipulated the forward motion of the body.

Hemami and Humphrey's work was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Biomechanics. The researchers performed simulations of static balance and forward leaning in the computer-modeled body, and compared the results to those observed in the scientific literature.

Static balance is when a subject stands either straight or at a certain angle, and is able to remain stabilized in that position with the entire surface area of the bottom of the foot on the ground. The computer model can perform forward leaning indefinitely, but human subjects will experience muscle fatigue eventually, explained Hemami.

The model that Hemami and Humphrey built allowed them to produce results that supported the findings of balance shown in real subjects. They conducted tests for three different cases: static balance in healthy subjects, static balance in subjects with diminished toe strength, and forward leaning in healthy subjects.

In order to have the model mimic a subject with diminished toe strength, Hemami and Humphrey weakened one of the sections in the computer-modeled foot, which represented a muscle located just above the big toe. This muscle helps control the foot's arch, which provides support to the body while standing.

Results indicated that in a healthy person, toes became increasingly important as the person leans forward.

As the computer-modeled body leaned forward, the pressure underneath the toes increased significantly, and the pressure underneath the heel decreased in a similar fashion.

When the same tests of static balance were performed on the computer-modeled body with diminished toe strength, the pressure underneath the toes remained at zero. Initially, the pressure underneath the heel was significantly higher than in the healthy subject, and as the body leaned forward, the pressure underneath the heel only decreased by half the amount that it did in the healthy subject.

The maximum angle that a healthy computer-modeled body could lean forward from the waist without its heels lifting off the ground was nearly 12 degrees from vertical. The model with diminished toe strength could only lean forward nearly 10 degrees.

The computer model supports past studies on real people, Hemami explained. One discrepancy: his computer model was able to lean forward 12 degrees without lifting its heels, while real people were only able to lean two-thirds as much -- 8 degrees.

"This discrepancy could be psychological that people do not feel comfortable using their maximum theoretical range of motion," said Hemami.

Hemami's colleague Laura Humphrey was one of his doctoral students, and she has since graduated from Ohio State.

"Now that we have a reasonable computer model, we hope to explore, in the future, the sensory apparatus and other functions of the toes in diverse human activities," Hemami said.

He will be collaborating with Ian Alexander, professor of orthopaedics at Ohio State, in the near future.

In the future, Hemami wants to model the human spinal cord and develop a mathematical system that can determine the level of reaching and pushing required for certain tasks. Hemami uses the example of how much pressure one should administer to hold an egg in your hands without dropping or crushing it.

"My hope is that my work will inspire construction of robotic models of various body parts that can move similarly to the human body. If you can make a robot or computer model kick a soccer ball like a soccer player, we will have a better understanding of how various parts of the body work during movement. Then, perhaps, you can build an artificial spinal cord that could help the handicapped," Hemami said. "Attaching a robotic spinal cord to the outside of someone who is handicapped could help muscle development."

"We try to model what muscles do, which may help to develop more advanced prosthetics, so we have something better to offer people who need them," Hemami explained.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hooshang Hemami
Hemami.1@osu.edu
614-292-2848
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Penn biophysicists create new model for protein-cholesterol interactions in brain and muscle tissue
2. Models of eel cells suggest electrifying possibilities
3. Anti-cancer drug prevents, reverses cardiovascular damage in mouse model of premature aging disorder
4. Swamping bad cells with good in ALS animal models helps sustain breathing
5. Moderate use averts failure of type 2 diabetes drugs in animal model
6. Multiple sclerosis research charges ahead with new mouse model of disease
7. A model to measure soil health in the era of bioenergy
8. New model predicts hot spots for mercury in fish
9. New movement models tested at the Smithsonian in Panama
10. Cytori reports benefit of adipose-derived regenerative cells in spinal disc model
11. Lifecycles of tropical cyclones predicted in global computer model
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/14/2016)... , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - Renvoi : ... - --> --> ... solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales ... LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire des ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 ... new market research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology ... (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), ... To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is ... to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ... (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at the ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using ... and will run until May 2016. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... Carolina (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... and building management solutions and services based in Aurora, Ohio, has broken ground ... established business in the Research Triangle Park area, this new location solidifies a ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Korean researchers say Manumycin ... may offer a new way to treat the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted ... , Scientists from several Korean institutions based their mesothelioma study on the fact the ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... ... May 19, 2016 , ... KCAS ... welcomed Abu Siddiqui as Director, Large Molecule & Biomarker Bioanalysis. , Dr. Siddiqui ... translational biomarker discovery studies for preclinical and clinical safety programs. “We’ve seen significant ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... The Biotech industry continues to face a wave ... no opportunities ahead. Today, ActiveWallSt.com has on its list these ... Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN ), Chiasma Inc. ... OPHT ). Sign up now to receive our free ... Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc.,s shares gained 0.68%, closing Tuesday,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: