JRM Vol.35 No.3 pp. 810-822
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2023.p0810


A Correction Method for Muscle Stiffness Sensors to Measure Transversus Abdominis Activity

Shunsuke Nakamae* ORCID Icon, Takayuki Tanaka** ORCID Icon, and Koji Shimatani*** ORCID Icon

*Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University
Kita 14, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0814, Japan

**Faculty of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University
Kita 14, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0814, Japan

***Physical Therapy Course, Faculty of Health and Welfare, Prefectural University of Hiroshima
1-1 Gakuen-machi, Mihara City, Hiroshima 723-0053, Japan

November 30, 2022
February 28, 2023
June 20, 2023
transverse abdominal muscles, muscle stiffness, muscle activity measurement technology, respiratory measurement technology

The transversus abdominis muscle is important for various human functions, including the prevention of back pain and the use of muscle activity values as an indicator for the treatment of urinary incontinence. Measuring muscle activity is an effective means of evaluating whether correct training has been performed. The transversus abdominis muscle stiffness sensor developed in a previous study used a method in which a belt with a sensor attached was wrapped around the lower back, which made measurement simple but also caused problems owing to the influence of phenomena other than muscle activity on the measurement data. Therefore, we propose a novel correction method to calculate the muscle activity of this sensor accurately, which can be used for simple measurements. We propose a formula to compensate for effects other than muscle activity based on a model equation that includes contact conditions and belt tension, which affect the muscle stiffness sensor value. We evaluated the validity of the correction equation from simulations and the change in similarity owing to the correction by simultaneously measuring the muscle action potentials and muscle stiffness sensor values during breathing movements with muscle activity. The proposed correction method improved the muscle stiffness data during respiration and contraction. It is possible to improve the measurement accuracy by improving the calibration method and hardware.

Image of the sensor attached to the human body and structure of the sensor

Image of the sensor attached to the human body and structure of the sensor

Cite this article as:
S. Nakamae, T. Tanaka, and K. Shimatani, “A Correction Method for Muscle Stiffness Sensors to Measure Transversus Abdominis Activity,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.35 No.3, pp. 810-822, 2023.
Data files:
  1. [1] J. Hides et al., “An MRI investigation into the function of the transversus abdominis muscle during “drawing-in” of the abdominal wall,” Spine, Vol.31, No.6, E175-E, 2006.
  2. [2] C. A. Richardson et al., “The relation between the transversus abdominis muscles, sacroiliac joint mechanics, and low back pain,” Spine, Vol.27, No.4, pp. 399-405, 2002.
  3. [3] J. Hides et al., “The relationship of transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus clinical muscle tests in patients with chronic low back pain,” Manual Therapy, Vol.16, Issue 6, pp. 573-577, 2011.
  4. [4] Y. Itabashi, K. Shimatani et al., “Effect of position during activities of daily living on the efficacy of pelvic floor muscle exercises and sensation of contraction,” Physiotherapy, Vol.101, Supplement 1, p. e657, 2015.
  5. [5] T. Wakaiki, T. Tanaka, K. Shimatani, Y. Kurita, and T. Iida, “Individualization of Musculoskeletal Model for Analyzing Pelvic Floor Muscles Activity Based on Gait Motion Features,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.30, No.6, pp. 991-1003, 2018.
  6. [6] A. Yamamoto, E. Aota, S. Takeuchi, N. Seto, K. Hattori, and T. Kimura, “Pelvic Floor Training for Incontinent Women Using Electromyography Biofeedback: adherence and continuation to the training,” Konan Women’s University Studies in Nursing and Rehabilitation, Vol.11, pp. 9-17, 2017.
  7. [7] H. Hasegawa, T. Tanaka, T. Wakaiki, K. Shimatani, and Y. Kurita, “Biofeedback for Training Pelvic Floor Muscles with EMG Signals of Synergistic Muscles,” R. Goonetilleke and W. Karwowski (Eds.), “Advances in Physical Ergonomics & Human Factors, AHFE 2018,” Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, Vol.789, Springer, Cham, 2019.
  8. [8] H. Suzuki, T. Tanaka, K. Shimatani, Y. Itabashi, and Y. Kurita, “Indirect pelvic floor muscle training by measurement of transversus abdominis muscle activity using muscle stiffness sensor,” The 42nd Annual Meeting of Biomechanics, 2015.
  9. [9] M. Murayama, “Significance of Muscle Stiffness Assessment by Measuring Pushback Reaction Force,” J. of the Society of Biomechanisms, Vol.40, No.2, pp. 79-84, 2016.
  10. [10] Y. Konno, “Studies on Muscle Hardness (Report 1): A Method for Determining Athletic Ability by Difference in Muscle Hardness,” Japanese J. of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, Vol.1, No.5, pp. 180-185, 1952.
  11. [11] S. Uchida et al., “Assessing Perceived Shoulder Stiffness Using Hardness Meters,” Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol.51, No.12, pp. 1120-1132, 2011.
  12. [12] M. Kato, S. Murakami, and G. Matsumoto, “On the Stiffness of Human Tibialis Anterior Muscle during Voluntary Contraction,” Japanese J. of Medical Electronics and Biological Engineering, Vol.17, No.4, pp. 258-263, 1979.
  13. [13] H. Oka and S. Fujiwara, “Evaluation of Muscle Fatigue by Changes in Muscle Hardness ( Communication),” J. of the Society of Biomechanisms, Vol.20, No.4, pp. 185-190, 1996.
  14. [14] T. Uchiyama, K. Osugi, and M. Murayama, “Evaluation of Muscle Hardness by Indentation Method – Dependence on Isometric Contractile Force and Effect of Muscle Fatigue,” Biomechanism, Vol.18, pp. 219-227, 2006.
  15. [15] D. Ishikawa and T. Uchiyama, “Development of portable digital muscle hardness meter using indentation method,” J. of the Society of Biomechanisms, Vol.30, No.4, pp. 234-237, 2006.
  16. [16] K. Fujisaki et al., “Development of compact pressing system for muscle activity evaluation in force myography,” Mechanical Engineering Letters, Vol.7, Article No.21-00283, 2021.
  17. [17] S. Moromugi et al., “Muscle stiffness sensor to control an assistance device for the disabled,” Artificial Life and Robotics, Vol.8, No.1, pp. 42-45, 2004.
  18. [18] I. Shimizu et al., “Abdominal girth as an index of muscle tension during abdominal hollowing: selecting the optimal training intensity for the transversus abdominis muscle,” J. of Biomechanics, Vol.89, pp. 72-77, 2019.
  19. [19] A. Yamamoto et al., “Development of a Measurement Device Using a Sheet Stretch Sensor for Chest Wall Motion,” The Japanese J. of Rehabilitation Medicine, Vol.55, No.4, pp. 348-357, 2018.
  20. [20] K. Yoshimura et al., “Relationship between muscle output, EMG activity and muscle hardness during graded voluntary contraction of the vastus medialis muscle,” Physiotherapy Supplement, Vol.37, Suppl. No.2 (Abstracts of the 45th Annual Conference of the Japan Physical Therapy Association), 2010.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera.

Last updated on Jul. 19, 2024