Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lameness locator

How cool is this???

... the human eye isn’t very reliable in recording and processing information. As a result, studies have shown that veterinarians tend not to be very consistent in their observations of lame horses. That is, one veterinarian may think a horse is lame in one leg, whereas another might pick another limb (or limbs) as the culprit ...

... This fall, a new piece of diagnostic equipment was made available to the veterinary community. It’s called the “Lameness Locator.” It was developed by Dr. Kevin Keegan, a professor of surgery at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, Mo. I think it has the possibility of revolutionizing lameness diagnosis, because it moves the process to more objective measurements. Essentially, the machine is a very precise way to measure the observations that we try to make anyway.

It’s a very clever bit of technology. It combines:

  • Two accelerometers - devices that measure acceleration—in this case measuring the up and down movements of the head and pelvis
  • A gyroscope - a device for measuring or maintaining orientation—in this case the orientation in space of the right fore limb
  • Bluetooth technology - for sending data over short distances
  • A proprietary computer program to collect and analyze all of the data

These devices are much more accurate at recording the movements of the head, pelvis and limb than is the human eye; the human eye is sampling about 20 times per second, whereas the Lameness Locator takes 200 samples per second

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