A real-time, 3-D musculoskeletal model for dynamic simulation of arm movements

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2009 Apr;56(4):941-8. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2008.2005946. Epub 2008 Sep 26.


Neuroprostheses can be used to restore movement of the upper limb in individuals with high-level spinal cord injury. Development and evaluation of command and control schemes for such devices typically require real-time, "patient-in-the-loop" experimentation. A real-time, 3-D, musculoskeletal model of the upper limb has been developed for use in a simulation environment to allow such testing to be carried out noninvasively. The model provides real-time feedback of human arm dynamics that can be displayed to the user in a virtual reality environment. The model has a 3-DOF glenohumeral joint as well as elbow flexion/extension and pronation/supination and contains 22 muscles of the shoulder and elbow divided into multiple elements. The model is able to run in real time on modest desktop hardware and demonstrates that a large-scale, 3-D model can be made to run in real time. This is a prerequisite for a real-time, whole-arm model that will form part of a dynamic arm simulator for use in the development, testing, and user training of neural prosthesis systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arm / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Simulation
  • Elbow / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Pronation
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology
  • Supination