Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

OpenSim, open-source software, accurately models human motion, experts say

Date:
October 28, 2011
Source:
Stanford School of Engineering
Summary:
Engineers have developed an open source software package called OpenSim that accurately models human movement. OpenSim is free and in use across the world helping scientists understand the complex forces of movement to improve diagnosis of physical disabilities and prevent harmful wear and tear.

In a new exhibit at The Leonardo, a science and technology museum in Salt Lake City, a team of Stanford engineers is demonstrating an open source software package called OpenSim that accurately models human movement. OpenSim is free and in use across the world helping scientists understand the complex forces of movement to improve diagnosis of physical disabilities and prevent harmful wear and tear.

There are 640 muscles in the human body, or maybe it is 639. Or maybe it is 850. Or 656. It all depends on whom you ask. In any case, it is a lot. Stanford bioengineer Scott Delp knows; he has programmed almost every one into his latest work, OpenSim, a software application that helps medical professionals and bioengineers study, diagnose and correct abnormalities in how people move.

In the legs alone there are more than 100 muscles, virtually every one necessary to maintain balance and walk properly. Most of us take these for granted; they just work. But for some, they don't. Scott Delp, a professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering and orthopedic surgery, helps these people.

And now, OpenSim will be on display at The Leonardo, a science and technology museum in Salt Lake City. OpenSim is part of an exhibit exploring human movement.

More than child's play

The idea to unite museum and modeling software was the brainchild of Andy Anderson, a research assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He was a visiting scholar working with Delp and Jennifer Hicks over the summer and he put the pieces together to get OpenSim involved with the exhibit in his hometown, Salt Lake City.

The Leonardo exhibit is really two exhibits in one. In the first section, visitors walk across a pressure-sensitive floor and are presented at the other side with color-coded print outs of their weight distribution, identifying even slight imbalances that might be putting undue stress on their limbs and joints. Such stress can lead to pain or arthritis. Over a lifetime, even relatively minor abnormalities can compound until hip and knee replacement surgeries become necessary.

"This one is fun because people can insert various orthotics in their shoes and see how they affect their movement. It's quite telling," said Anderson.

The second exhibit is aimed at kids. To make their research more approachable for a younger audience, the OpenSim development team is creating an interactive soccer game. The real-world player adjusts the strength of two leg muscles on the simulated soccer player to generate the force necessary to kick a virtual ball into a virtual goal.

"This is a simplified version of our software, but by honing things down to just two muscles we can make the science of movement something kids can understand and have fun with," said Hicks, a mechanical engineer and the OpenSim project manager at Stanford. "Most importantly, it is based on real physics and realistic physiology, so it really teaches as it entertains."

"Human movement is incredibly complex," said Hicks. "The kids' first instinct is to crank up the muscles to full strength, but this has unintended consequences, as the kids quickly learn."

Profound Implications

Future possibilities for OpenSim are many. It can help determine whether a simple surgery to lengthen a specific muscle might help victims of cerebral palsy. It can predict how simple changes in gait might reduce the incidence or severity of osteoarthritis. In addition to helping millions delay or avoid costly hip and knee replacements, OpenSim could help in the development of new, more sensitive prosthetics, able to read and interpret electrical impulses to control the devices.

For all its technical wizardry, however, the greatest fact about OpenSim may be that it is open source. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can have the software in a matter of minutes. Delp is giving it away.

"OpenSim is out there and hundreds are downloading it every week," said Hicks. "If each copy helps only one person, that's helping a lot of people."

"That's the exciting thing about open source," said Delp. "By putting this powerful software in the hands of as many people as possible, we are setting in motion a self-perpetuating research ecosystem that will build upon itself to push the field forward."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford School of Engineering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford School of Engineering. "OpenSim, open-source software, accurately models human motion, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103730.htm>.
Stanford School of Engineering. (2011, October 28). OpenSim, open-source software, accurately models human motion, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103730.htm
Stanford School of Engineering. "OpenSim, open-source software, accurately models human motion, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103730.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Breakingviews: Ebola's Economic Impact Could Eclipse SARS

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 18, 2014) — The virus ravaging Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt the economy more than the actual disease, says Breakingviews' Una Galani. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins