Motion Capture in MRI
September 17, 2008 We’ve seen a bit of innovative motion capture technology in recent times, furthering the notion that the technology can find some compelling application in the real world and is far more relevant than just computer games! MoCap technology is advancing rapidly and Measurand’s ShapeWrap III full body system, ShapeHand Data Glove, and ShapeAccelArray Geotechnical sensors have already found countless ways of enhancing understanding and interface design. Perhaps the company’s most innovative endeavour to date is its work with the medical community to aide in MRI research and analysis. The ShapeHand is a portable, lightweight motion capture system of flexible ribbons that captures hand and finger motion. The data captured by the ShapeHand system precisely simulates the hand movements of whoever is wearing it, and projects a computer generated 3D image of the hand (or hands) on a screen. By using plastic optical fiber laminated to an MRI compatible substrate on extended leads, the ShapeHand system can be fitted specifically for the MRI environment.
The extended leads of the ShapeHand system allow the electronic components to be placed outside the MRI room, and away from the magnetic field.
MRI machines are highly sensitive systems that immerse patients into a big, magnetic tube. Nobody else can see, or go inside the tube, and this makes analyzing someone inside the tube difficult. The 3D images generated by the ShapeHand system provide the watchful medical staff with the eyes to see inside these huge, magnetic systems. One application of ShapeHand is for the subject to identify differently shaped blocks with their hands.
Medical professionals could request that the subject pick-up and identify a particular shape, and would monitor the subsequent brain activity. However, without the ShapeHand the medical professional would have no way of knowing if the subject was identifying the correct shape. What if the subject mistook a square for a triangle? With the ShapeHand, the medical professionals could trace the hand movements and ensure that the subject was doing what was asked.
There are countless other ways the ShapeHand can be used in conjunction with MRI machines. Medical professionals, to ensure the subject is pressing the right button on a touch screen and to make sure that patients are keeping their hands still, have used the ShapeHand in conjunction with a ShapeArm.
Motion capture technology possesses endless possibilities, and Measurand’s cooperation with the medical community and MRI machines is yet another example of the inventiveness in applying this emerging technology.