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Animation software: 1st Summary

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  • Animation software: 1st Summary

    Dear BIOMCH-Lers:

    Some time ago I posted a request for information about visualization
    software currently in use in our field. It appears to me that my
    timing may not have been the best because many of you were on vacation
    at the time. However I have received some replies which I am going
    to post now. I am still interested in further contributions, and therefore
    I include a blank form, too.

    Hope this is of some interest.


    | Rene Steiner | |
    | Neurologisches Therapiecentrum | phone: +49-211-7816-159 |
    | Hohensandweg 37 | FAX: +49-211-784 353 |
    | D-40591 Duesseldorf | |
    | Germany | |
    | A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat (Monty Python, Nudge Nudge) |

    Date: Tue, 20 Jul 93 09:13:18 -0500
    From: Glen Niebur
    Subject: Re: Visualization Software


    ->Organization : Mayo Clinic, Biomechanics Laboratory
    ->email-address :
    ->Visualization package used:
    -> Availability ([non-]commercial, cost, supplier):
    non-commericial, locally developed, Contact Mayo Medical Ventures
    (507) 284-8878, or Kai An (507) 289-2043. Ask about LILA
    -> Hardware requirements (machine type, display type, etc):
    Any Silicon Graphics workstation
    -> Area of application (whole body simulation, lower limb, etc.):
    Whole body, individual joints, whatever you want
    -> Representation (stick figure, wire frame, shaded solids, 2d, 3d, etc.):
    3 dimensional shaded solids (with transparency)
    ->Input data:
    -> Bodies (predefined geometric shapes, user defined, FE, etc.):
    user defined shapes in BYU format
    -> Displacement (absolute coordinates, Euler angles, etc.):
    Euler Angles (XYZ order), Euler Parameters, Screw Axes
    -> Link to simulation software (e.g. ADAMS/Android):
    Input data can be directly output by Dwight Meglans ANZ software
    ->Output data:
    -> Types of output (screen, printer, plotter, files):
    Screen, printer, video
    -> Data format (PCX, HPGL, etc.):
    SGI image files
    -> Link to animation software (e.g. AUTODESK Animator):
    includes complete animation capabilities
    -> Evaluation (usefulness, ease of use, recommendations, etc.):
    Still under development. We have found it quite useful.
    We continue to work on features, especially some graphing
    capabilities to show for instance a graph of Moment or Force
    versus time, or Moment versus Force etc. to be shown as the
    animation is carried out.

    Glen Niebur | I have lived my life with no regrets.
    Mayo Clinic | I have seen my life with no regrets. It can be so lonely
    Biomechanics Lab| | ~Tina and the B-side Movement

    Date: Tue, 20 Jul 93 14:09:55 -0400

    Dr Steiner:

    Name : Thomas M. Kepple
    Organization : National Institutes of Health (U.S.A)
    email-address : kepple@bmlvax.dnet

    Visualization package used: MOVE3D - (written at NIH)

    Availability ([non-]commercial, cost, supplier):
    Available at no cost (free).
    Supplied by biomechanics laboratory at NIH.

    Hardware requirements (machine type, display type, etc):
    Silicon Graphics (can produce animation) or
    Vax/VMS (can produce the same graphics as SGI but too slow for animation)

    Area of application (whole body simulation, lower limb, etc.):
    Whole body motion (simple wire frames, and stick figures)
    Lower extremity moion (shaded solids with muscle lines)

    Representation (stick figure, wire frame, shaded solids, 2d, 3d, etc.):
    MOVE3D provides:
    3d stick figures
    3d simple wire frames
    3d shaded solid (lower extremity only)

    Input data:

    Bodies (predefined geometric shapes, user defined, FE, etc.):
    Predeined or user defined geomtric shapes (four geomtric shapes
    are allowed).

    For 3d shaded solids MOVE3D uses 3D wire meshes (plus estimated
    muscle lines of action) generated from digitization done
    at NIH and the National Museum of natural History.

    Displacement (absolute coordinates, Euler angles, etc.):
    In addition to graphics displays program can determine:

    translation motion of segments or joints (includes displacements
    velocities and accelerations)
    rotational motion of segments or joints ( Euler or helical angles)
    (includes displacements, velocities and acceleration)
    net joint forces
    net joint moments
    net joint forces
    net joint power

    Link to simulation software (e.g. ADAMS/Android):
    MOVE3D output is linked to ADAMS/ANDROID software. The output
    data can be used as input to the ANDROID preprocessor;
    automatically building the customized ANDROID model and driving
    the joints with displacement-driven or torque-driven spline

    Output data:

    Types of output (screen, printer, plotter, files)
    Graphics can be written to screen for the following devices:
    TeKtronics 4014
    Tektronics 4107
    Regis graphics (VT340 or DecWindows)
    Silicon Graphics

    for 3D shaded solid graphics only the following devices are supported
    Silicon Graphics

    graphics output can be also sent to files
    HPGL format
    Tektronics 4014 format

    numerical output can be directed to screen or output files

    Data format (PCX, HPGL, etc.):
    graphics can be sent to files in the following formats
    Tektronics 4014 compatable

    Link to animation software (e.g. AUTODESK Animator): None

    Evaluation (usefulness, ease of use, recommendations, etc.):
    Since I am author of the software I can not give an unbiased comment
    on the software. I can provide the names an address of other
    users not at the NIH.

    DateDate: Tue, 27 Jul 93 11:42:41 SET
    From: Alberto Leardini
    Subject: Animation Software

    Name : Alberto Leardini
    Via Di Barbiano 1/10 40136 BOLOGNA (ITALY)
    email-address : VI6BOQ71 at ICINECA.CINECA.IT

    Visualization package used:

    Availability (non-commercial, cost, supplier): Own developed in 'C' language
    according to the specification presented at the
    II International Symposium on 3D Analysis of Human Movement
    (Poiters 30 Giugno - 3 Luglio)
    Leardini A., Rinaldi G., Melandri R., Catani F. (POSTER n. 10)

    Hardware requirements (machine type, display type, etc):
    DOS Personal Computer, VGA color display

    Area of application (whole body simulation, lower limb, etc.):
    Actually for Pelvis and lower limbs. In the next future the
    same methodology will be applied also to the trunk.

    Representation (stick figure, wire frame, shaded solids, 2d, 3d, etc.):
    Wire frame block for the body segment, and line for vectors
    (Ground Reaction Force, Joint Moments)

    Input data:

    Bodies (predefined geometric shapes, user defined, FE, etc.):
    Geometric block modelized to the subject anatomy, according to
    position of anatomical landmarks

    Displacement (absolute coordinates, Euler angles, etc.):
    Absolute coordinates of at least three point for each segment,
    collected during the execution of physical exercises of subject
    with ELITE system

    Link to simulation software (e.g. ADAMS/Android): NONE

    Output data:

    Types of output (screen, printer, plotter, files): At the moment only screen

    Data format (PCX, HPGL, etc.):

    Link to animation software (e.g. AUTODESK Animator): NONE

    Evaluation (usefulness, ease of use, recommendations, etc.):

    A graphic and animation software program was written in 'C' language, linked
    with standard graphic library to visualize the wire frame images of each body
    segment. The software package can show the position of each body segment for
    each sampled frame from each 3-D spatial view: using a user-friendly menu you
    can translate, rotate and zoom the user point of view. It is also
    possible to visualize a series of successive images rapidly, one after another,
    to reproduce the effect of real movement. The user can also select the
    representation of anatomical landmark points, ground reaction force and joint
    moments separately.
    The anatomical based model of lower limb segments, gained by anatomical
    landmarks calibration,allows a good representation and visualization of subject
    anatomy and joint conformation, in order to immediately detect any subject's
    pathological problems, like knee deformity, and look at their consequences in
    his locomotion pattern.Finally,in visualizing the ground reaction resultant
    force with respect to joints center of rotation, it is quite easy to look at
    the joints moment changes.
    For these who focus for the first time with gait analysis data, it is often
    particularly difficult to understand the mechanical meaning of the
    biomechanical functions and their clinical importance. This 3D restitution
    could be a good tool for educational purposes. The easy-to-use package can
    run in common personal computers and does not require specific graphic
    devices and long time elaboration; this allows its use in routine clinical
    gait analysis context. There are no methodological problems in extending
    this representation to total body movement.

    Date: Sun, 15 Aug 93 09:39:53 -0500
    Subject: Re: Visualization Software form

    Name : Jesus Dapena
    Organization : Dept. of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington,
    IN 47405 (USA)
    email-address :

    Visualization package used:


    Availability ([non-]commercial, cost, supplier):

    Non-commercial, free of cost

    This software is available via anonymous FTP. Individuals wishing to

    obtain their own copies of the software should use FTP through the

    Internet network:

    ftp (or ftp
    To the prompt "Name", answer: anonymous
    To the prompt "Password", answer: anything
    You will find yourself in the directory "ftp"
    Then type the following:
    get mainjmp.f

    If you have any problems, contact Jesus Dapena at the following e-mail

    Hardware requirements (machine type, display type, etc):

    The program is independent from machine or display type. In our lab
    we use it with a NeXTStation TurboColor computer.

    Area of application (whole body simulation, lower limb, etc.):

    Whole body

    Representation (stick figure, wire frame, shaded solids, 2d, 3d, etc.):

    3D wireframe

    Input data:

    Bodies (predefined geometric shapes, user defined, FE, etc.):

    Needs height, mass and gender of subject as input.
    Segmental shapes are built-in. Segment thicknesses are estimated from
    subject height and mass.

    Displacement (absolute coordinates, Euler angles, etc.):

    Absolute coordinates of 21 body landmarks;

    Link to simulation software (e.g. ADAMS/Android):
    No link to any widely-available simulation software at this point

    Output data:

    Types of output (screen, printer, plotter, files):

    Data format (PCX, HPGL, etc.):
    Standard UNIX plotting package "plot"

    Link to animation software (e.g. AUTODESK Animator):
    In our lab, it is linked to an animation program called
    "CicaAnimator" specific to NeXTStep. (CicaAnimator
    itself is also available.)

    Evaluation (usefulness, ease of use, recommendations, etc.):

    The programs are in FORTRAN. GRAFATH comes together with two other
    graphics programs (STKFIG and CYLBOD) that use simpler body models, a
    sample main program (MAINJMP) which calls the graphics programs, and a
    series of auxiliary subroutines. Apart from serving as a sample main
    program, MAINJMP contains instructions for changing the direction of
    viewing. The graphics programs do not allow for changes in the
    observer-to-object distance: All drawings correspond to a view from an
    infinite distance with a telephoto lens of infinite focal length.
    GRAFATH estimates the curvature of the trunk segment from the
    orientations of the thighs relative to the line joining the mid-hip to
    the suprasternale.

    We are currently developing SOLFIG, a shaded solids version of GRAFATH.)


    Finally, an out-of-format description of the SIMM package:

    Date: Fri, 25 Jun 93 17:29:41 -0500
    From: (Dwight Meglan)
    Subject: Survey of Animation Software


    SIMM (Software for Interactive Musculoskeletal Modeling) is a
    graphics-based software system that enables the user to quickly develop
    and analyze musculoskeletal models. In SIMM, a musculoskeletal
    model consists of a set of rigid body segments that are connected by
    joints. Muscle-tendon actuators span the joints and develop force,
    thus generating moments about the joints.

    SIMM enables a analysis of a musculoskeletal model by calculating the
    joint moments (i.e., muscle force multiplied by moment arm) that each
    actuator can generate at any body position. By manipulating a model
    on the computer graphics system, the user can quickly explore the effects
    of changing musculoskeletal geometry and other model parameters on
    the muscle forces and joint moments.

    Since the software can be used to study many different musculoskeletal
    structures, it can enhance the productivity of investigators working
    on diverse problems in biomechanics.

    Design Goals

    Four goals were established in designing and implementing the software.
    Specifically, it should:

    * Be general enough so that a wide variety of musculoskeletal
    structures can be modeled

    * Provide realistic models of muscle and tendon, and allow accurate
    specification of joint kinematics

    * Provide an interactive, graphics-based environment so the model can
    be visualized, altered, and analyzed efficiently

    * Be extensible so that new features, such as a more complex
    muscle-tendon model, can easily be added to the software

    Major Features

    * Enables users to develop models of any musculoskeletal structure,
    either human or animal. Current uses include the human lower
    extremity, elbow, shoulder, finger, and even a cockroach leg.

    * Displays lighted, smooth-shaded three-dimensional images of the models

    * Provides an intuitive graphical interface for manipulating the models

    * Allows analysis of models by computing muscle forces, moment arms,
    and joint torques

    * Can read-in and "playback" animations of experimentally recorded or
    simulated movements, for example walking or cycling.


    SIMM has applications in many areas involving biomechanics. SIMM can
    increase the productivity of:

    * Researchers investigating various issues in biomechanics, such as
    muscle coordination and joint reconstruction

    * Medical students and residents studying musculoskeletal anatomy and

    * Kinesiologists recording the motion of patients with movement

    * Workspace designers studying the ergonomics of various devices and

    * Computer scientists creating human body models for virtual realities

    The SIMM Environment

    A musculoskeletal model is specified with three types of input files.
    The bone files contain lists of the polygons representing the bone
    surfaces. The joint file specifies the kinematics of each joint.
    Finally, the muscle file contains a list of coordinates that describe
    the line of action of each muscle-tendon actuator, and the parameters
    needed to compute muscle force. The File Loader tool scans these input
    files and creates a data structure that represents the
    musculoskeletal model.

    SIMM allows the user to load one or more musculoskeletal models by reading
    sets of input files. Once loaded, a model can be acted upon by a
    number of editing and analysis tools. Each tool is contained within
    its own window and has a distinct function. These tools include the
    Model Viewer, Muscle Editor, Joint Editor, and Plot Maker.

    The Model Viewer tool controls the user's view of the musculoskeletal
    models. Individual muscles can displayed or hidden, the bones can be
    shaded or shown in wire frame, and three-dimensional views can stored
    and recalled. Slider bars can be used to move each of the joints
    individually, or the entire model can be animated.

    The Muscle Editor tool gives access to the parameters that describe a
    muscle. Muscle paths can be interactively altered, for example to
    simulate tendon transfer surgery. The parameters that govern the
    force generating behavior of the muscles can also be changed.

    The Joint Editor tool enables the user to view and alter joint
    kinematics. The cubic splines that control the movement of the joints
    can be graphically changed. The resulting joint motion can be
    examined instantly by viewing the model.

    The Plot Maker tool allows the user to analyze a model by creating plots
    of muscle forces, moment arms, and joint torques. Many options are
    available for creating plots and graphing data from other sources (for
    example experimental data). The plotted data can also exported as text or
    postscript for use in other applications.

    Hardware Requirements

    SIMM runs on the full line of workstations from Silicon Graphics, Inc.


    This software is commercially available and comes with a user manual and
    input files that define a model of the human lower extremity. This model
    is described in detail in the following documents:

    Delp, S. L., "Surgery Simulation: A Computer Graphics System to
    Design and Analyze Musculoskeletal Reconstructions of the Lower
    Limb," Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University, 1990.

    Delp, S. L., Loan, J. P., Hoy, M. G., Zajac, F. E., Topp, E. L.,
    Rosen, J. M., "An interactive graphics-based model of the lower
    extremity to study orthopaedic surgical procedures," IEEE
    Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 37, pp. 757-767, 1990.

    Companion Products

    The engineers at MusculoGraphics are currently developing a companion
    product called the Dynamics Pipeline. This software links SIMM to
    SD/FAST (Symbolic Dynamics, Mountain View, CA), which simulates the
    dynamics of rigid-body systems. With the Pipeline, the user is able
    to perform forward and inverse dynamic simulations on any
    musculoskeletal model developed in SIMM, without writing any
    software. For forward dynamics, the user can specify muscle
    activation levels and compute the resulting motion. The Pipeline
    includes several dynamic muscle models from which the user can choose
    based on his speed and accuracy demands. For inverse dynamics, the
    user specifies the trajectories of the body segments over time, and
    the Pipeline computes the joint torques required to create the
    motion. If the user wants to perform more complicated analyses
    (e.g., optimal control of muscle activations or collision detection
    between body segments), they can write the software to implement
    these features and easily link them into the Pipeline. It is
    anticipated that the Dynamics Pipeline will be available by end of 1993.

    Further information can be obtained from:

    MusculoGraphics, Inc.
    1840 Oak Avenue
    Evanston, IL 60201 USA

    (708) 866-1882
    (708) 866-1808 : FAX