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We developed an easy to use and non-invasive method to study sarcomere motion of enzymatically isolated myocytes which can be simultaneously combined with auxotonic force detection, thus being very useful when studying the contractile performance of cardiac cells. This method basically consists in analyzing the periodicity of the cell striation pattern using the Cooley-Tukey fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm on a video image of the cell during the course of the experiment. A longitudinal fraction of the cell image is recorded with a CCD TV camera, digitized, then transiently stored on a computer and used to calculate the spectrum corresponding to the distribution of the sarcomere lengths (SL). The method gives a real-time measurement of the most probable value of sarcomere length in one isolated cell with a temporal resolution of 20 ms. When used on a cell attached between two carbon fibers, the auxotonic force developed by the cell upon electrical stimulation can be simultaneously measured together with the SL in various conditions of stretch. Preliminary results have been presented in abstract form (Gannier et al., vol.24, pp.S47, 1992).