Dutch researchers have developed a digital imaging system they aspire to use to shorten the rehabilitation period for those who have sustained an injury or suffered from a stroke.
Owned by Dutch firm Motek Medical, the machine gives doctors and patients a real-time glimpse at the human body while highlighting muscle movement.
“Forces are invisible towards the eye. HBM changes that and allows forces being visible to the eye through color space changes in muscle model representing the individual immersed within the system,” Motek explains on its Web site.
“Similar to an X-ray system can show the bones in your body, HBM will be able to show the transference of forces in the body as they occur.”
“It’s like we’re stripping off the skin and enhancing the doctor to see more clearly than they have before,” said Michiel Westermann, chief executive of Motek.
The system uses infrared strobe lights and eight cameras to track muscle movement in patients while they wear reflective suits during exercise.
Dutch researchers said the system may help doctors analyze the conditions of the patients better, which would also speed up rehabilitation time and get them back on their own feet sooner.
Other applications of the system include: explorations from the muscle force interactions with spatial environments, better knowledge of sensory inputs & motors in posture and motion, identification of “wasted” muscle force, and identification of muscle force related low back pain complaints.
“Usually when patients are requested to activate a muscle, they’re going to have a problem to understand which muscle, and the therapist have a problem verifying the individual understood. With this they have immediate feedback,” said Westermann.
Westermann said the machine has been tested in hospitals this season and should be prepared for use by the beginning of 2010.