Biomechanical studies often involve measurements of the strains developed in tendons or ligaments in posture or locomotion. Fiber-optic sensors present an attractive option for the measurement of strains in tendons and ligaments because of their low cost, ease of implementation, and increased accuracy compared with other implantable transducers. A new displacement sensor based on a fiber Bragg grating and shape memory alloy technology is proposed for the monitoring of tendon and ligament strains in different postures and in locomotion. After sensor calibration in the laboratory, a comparison of the fiber sensors and traditional camera displacement sensors was carried out to evaluate the performance of the fiber sensor during the application of tension to the Achilles tendon. Additional experiments were performed in cadaver knees to assess the suitability of these fiber sensors to measure ligament deformation in a variety of simulated postures. The results demonstrate that the proposed fiber Bragg grating sensor is a highly accurate, easily implantable, and minimally invasive method of measuring tendon and ligament displacement.
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