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      Dual spring force couples yield multifunctionality and ultrafast, precision rotation in tiny biomechanical systems

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          ABSTRACT

          Small organisms use propulsive springs rather than muscles to repeatedly actuate high acceleration movements, even when constrained to tiny displacements and limited by inertial forces. Through integration of a large kinematic dataset, measurements of elastic recoil, energetic math modeling and dynamic math modeling, we tested how trap-jaw ants (Odontomachus brunneus) utilize multiple elastic structures to develop ultrafast and precise mandible rotations at small scales. We found that O. brunneus develops torque on each mandible using an intriguing configuration of two springs: their elastic head capsule recoils to push and the recoiling muscle–apodeme unit tugs on each mandible. Mandibles achieved precise, planar, circular trajectories up to 49,100 rad s−1 (470,000 rpm) when powered by spring propulsion. Once spring propulsion ended, the mandibles moved with unconstrained and oscillatory rotation. We term this mechanism a ‘dual spring force couple’, meaning that two springs deliver energy at two locations to develop torque. Dynamic modeling revealed that dual spring force couples reduce the need for joint constraints and thereby reduce dissipative joint losses, which is essential to the repeated use of ultrafast, small systems. Dual spring force couples enable multifunctionality: trap-jaw ants use the same mechanical system to produce ultrafast, planar strikes driven by propulsive springs and for generating slow, multi-degrees of freedom mandible manipulations using muscles, rather than springs, to directly actuate the movement. Dual spring force couples are found in other systems and are likely widespread in biology. These principles can be incorporated into microrobotics to improve multifunctionality, precision and longevity of ultrafast systems.

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          Fiji is a distribution of the popular open-source software ImageJ focused on biological-image analysis. Fiji uses modern software engineering practices to combine powerful software libraries with a broad range of scripting languages to enable rapid prototyping of image-processing algorithms. Fiji facilitates the transformation of new algorithms into ImageJ plugins that can be shared with end users through an integrated update system. We propose Fiji as a platform for productive collaboration between computer science and biology research communities.
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            3D Slicer as an image computing platform for the Quantitative Imaging Network.

            Quantitative analysis has tremendous but mostly unrealized potential in healthcare to support objective and accurate interpretation of the clinical imaging. In 2008, the National Cancer Institute began building the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) initiative with the goal of advancing quantitative imaging in the context of personalized therapy and evaluation of treatment response. Computerized analysis is an important component contributing to reproducibility and efficiency of the quantitative imaging techniques. The success of quantitative imaging is contingent on robust analysis methods and software tools to bring these methods from bench to bedside. 3D Slicer is a free open-source software application for medical image computing. As a clinical research tool, 3D Slicer is similar to a radiology workstation that supports versatile visualizations but also provides advanced functionality such as automated segmentation and registration for a variety of application domains. Unlike a typical radiology workstation, 3D Slicer is free and is not tied to specific hardware. As a programming platform, 3D Slicer facilitates translation and evaluation of the new quantitative methods by allowing the biomedical researcher to focus on the implementation of the algorithm and providing abstractions for the common tasks of data communication, visualization and user interface development. Compared to other tools that provide aspects of this functionality, 3D Slicer is fully open source and can be readily extended and redistributed. In addition, 3D Slicer is designed to facilitate the development of new functionality in the form of 3D Slicer extensions. In this paper, we present an overview of 3D Slicer as a platform for prototyping, development and evaluation of image analysis tools for clinical research applications. To illustrate the utility of the platform in the scope of QIN, we discuss several use cases of 3D Slicer by the existing QIN teams, and we elaborate on the future directions that can further facilitate development and validation of imaging biomarkers using 3D Slicer. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Flexible mechanisms: the diverse roles of biological springs in vertebrate movement.

              The muscles that power vertebrate locomotion are associated with springy tissues, both within muscle and in connective tissue elements such as tendons. These springs share in common the same simple action: they stretch and store elastic strain energy when force is applied to them and recoil to release energy when force decays. Although this elastic action is simple, it serves a diverse set of functions, including metabolic energy conservation, amplification of muscle power output, attenuation of muscle power input, and rapid mechanical feedback that may aid in stability. In recent years, our understanding of the mechanisms and importance of biological springs in locomotion has advanced significantly, and it has been demonstrated that elastic mechanisms are essential for the effective function of the muscle motors that power movement. Here, we review some recent advances in our understanding of elastic mechanisms, with an emphasis on two proposed organizing principles. First, we review the evidence that the various functions of biological springs allow the locomotor system to operate beyond the bounds of intrinsic muscle properties, including metabolic and mechanical characteristics, as well as motor control processes. Second, we propose that an energy-based framework is useful for interpreting the diverse functions of series-elastic springs. In this framework, the direction and timing of the flow of energy between the body, the elastic element and the contracting muscle determine the function served by the elastic mechanism (e.g. energy conservation vs power amplification). We also review recent work demonstrating that structures such as tendons remodel more actively and behave more dynamically than previously assumed.
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                Journal
                Journal of Experimental Biology
                The Company of Biologists
                0022-0949
                1477-9145
                July 15 2022
                July 15 2022
                July 21 2022
                : 225
                : 14
                Article
                10.1242/jeb.244077
                35863219
                53b1c478-3add-458e-b254-92b7f434d047
                © 2022

                http://www.biologists.com/user-licence-1-1/

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