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Research on control of human movement and development of tools for restoration and rehabilitation of movement after spinal cord injury and amputation can benefit greatly from software tools for creating precisely timed animation sequences of human movement. Despite their ability to create sophisticated animation and high quality rendering, existing animation software are not adapted for application to neural prostheses and rehabilitation of human movement. We have developed a software tool known as MSMS (MusculoSkeletal Modeling Software) that can be used to develop models of human or prosthetic limbs and the objects with which they interact and to animate their movement using motion data from a variety of offline and online sources. The motion data can be read from a motion file containing synthesized motion data or recordings from a motion capture system. Alternatively, motion data can be streamed online from a real-time motion capture system, a physics-based simulation program, or any program that can produce real-time motion data. Further, animation sequences of daily life activities can be constructed using the intuitive user interface of Microsoft's PowerPoint software. The latter allows expert and nonexpert users alike to assemble primitive movements into a complex motion sequence with precise timing by simply arranging the order of the slides and editing their properties in PowerPoint. The resulting motion sequence can be played back in an open-loop manner for demonstration and training or in closed-loop virtual reality environments where the timing and speed of animation depends on user inputs. These versatile animation utilities can be used in any application that requires precisely timed animations but they are particularly suited for research and rehabilitation of movement disorders. MSMS's modeling and animation tools are routinely used in a number of research laboratories around the country to study the control of movement and to develop and test ne- ral prostheses for patients with paralysis or amputations.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:20 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: March 2012