Research Papers

Use of Robotic Manipulators to Study Diarthrodial Joint Function

[+] Author and Article Information
Richard E. Debski

Orthopaedic Robotics Laboratory,
Departments of Bioengineering
and Orthopaedic Surgery,
University of Pittsburgh,
408 Center for Bioengineering,
300 Technology Drive,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
e-mail: genesis1@pitt.edu

Satoshi Yamakawa, Hiromichi Fujie

Tokyo Metropolitan University,
6-6 Asahigaoka, Hino,
Tokyo 191-0065, Japan

Volker Musahl

Orthopaedic Robotics Laboratory,
Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery
and Bioengineering,
University of Pittsburgh,
408 Center for Bioengineering,
300 Technology Drive,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received July 9, 2016; final manuscript received December 23, 2016; published online January 19, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Beth A. Winkelstein.

J Biomech Eng 139(2), 021010 (Jan 19, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: BIO-16-1288; doi: 10.1115/1.4035644 History: Received July 09, 2016; Revised December 23, 2016

Diarthrodial joint function is mediated by a complex interaction between bones, ligaments, capsules, articular cartilage, and muscles. To gain a better understanding of injury mechanisms and to improve surgical procedures, an improved understanding of the structure and function of diarthrodial joints needs to be obtained. Thus, robotic testing systems have been developed to measure the resulting kinematics of diarthrodial joints as well as the in situ forces in ligaments and their replacement grafts in response to external loading conditions. These six degrees-of-freedom (DOF) testing systems can be controlled in either position or force modes to simulate physiological loading conditions or clinical exams. Recent advances allow kinematic, in situ force, and strain data to be measured continuously throughout the range of joint motion using velocity-impedance control, and in vivo kinematic data to be reproduced on cadaveric specimens to determine in situ forces during physiologic motions. The principle of superposition can also be used to determine the in situ forces carried by capsular tissue in the longitudinal direction after separation from the rest of the capsule as well as the interaction forces with the surrounding tissue. Finally, robotic testing systems can be used to simulate soft tissue injury mechanisms, and computational models can be validated using the kinematic and force data to help predict in vivo stresses and strains present in these tissues. The goal of these analyses is to help improve surgical repair procedures and postoperative rehabilitation protocols. In the future, more information is needed regarding the complex in vivo loads applied to diarthrodial joints during clinical exams and activities of daily living to serve as input to the robotic testing systems. Improving the capability to accurately reproduce in vivo kinematics with robotic testing systems should also be examined.

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Fig. 1

A schematic diagram of an articulated robotic manipulator combined with a UFS, as well as the coordinate systems of the femur, tibia, UFS, and robotic end-effector

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Fig. 2

The Grood and Suntay description of tibiofemoral motion

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Fig. 3

Typical coordinate systems associated with a robotic testing system and the Jacobian matrices that relate the forces and motions between each coordinate system

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Fig. 4

Proximal force applied to a porcine knee as a function of time using the stiffness and velocity-impedance control methodologies

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Fig. 5

An orthogonal robotic testing system with a femur mounted to the lower mechanism and tibia attached to the upper mechanism. (X, Y, Z are the translational degrees-of-freedom; U, V, W are the rotational degrees-of-freedom).

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Fig. 6

Anterior tibial translation and in situ forces in the ACL during static and continuous testing methods [46]

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Fig. 7

Inferior view of the glenohumeral joint with strain markers attached to the inferior glenohumeral capsule to allow the determination of capsular strain [43]



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