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Strain Sensor to Detect Muscle Fatigue in Athletes

Mohamed Al-Mulla, a PhD research student at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering in the Essex University, has developed a sensor that can detect when an athlete should stop exercising and rest his muscles to prevent injury.

Essex's Strain sensor

Normally, athletes have to go by intuition when training. The new devise will help athletes to train better without fear of injury. Scientifically, the state when a muscle stops contracting and exercise pressure is known as muscle fatigue. Local strain helps muscles to form but excess strain is harmful and athletes often are not able to detect that limit.

The module makes use of surface-electromyography (sEMG) electrodes to identify electrical signals when the muscles contract and a goniometer that helps determine kinematics as muscle fatigue cause minute oscillations or vibrations. These signals are magnified and turned into an analogue-to-digital stream with the help of a Sunspot platform. The team is developing plasters to be kept over the muscles to help transmit information to a central network through an iPhone.

The solution will also be applicable in occupational health and ergonomics, specifically in the case of musculoskeletal disorders.


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