Development of a Non-Invasive Muscle Force Sensor

Authors: Alexander Galileo Smith

Advisor: Dr. Shawn M O'Connor

Shear wave elastography is a new non-invasive technology that shows potential for measuring muscle force based on demonstrated linear relationships between muscle force and stiffness. Unfortunately, current elastography systems are limited by their clinical use, which has a very low frame rate (1 Hz) and precludes measurements during gait. We propose to develop custom, miniature ultrasound probes, capable of accurately calculating muscle stiffness. To simulate human tissue, we created gels of agar and Metamucil, a fiber supplement, which provided similar stiffness and echoic properties to human tissue. Using the simulated tissue, we were able to observe tissue movement from the ultrasound echo data and demonstrate the measurement of shear wave speed between the two probes. In future work, we will demonstrate the capability of the system to accurately measure muscle stiffness.