Simulations, Imaging, and Modeling: A Unique Theme for an Undergraduate Research Program in Biomechanics.
Biomechanical models are sensitive to the choice of model parameters. Therefore, determination of accurate subject specific model parameters is important. One approach to generate these parameters is to optimize the values such that the model output will match experimentally measured strength curves. This approach is attractive as it is inexpensive and should provide an excellent match to experimentally measured strength. However, given the problem of muscle redundancy, it is not clear that this approach generates accurate individual muscle forces. The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate this approach using simulated data to enable a direct comparison. It is hypothesized that the optimization approach will be able to recreate accurate muscle model parameters when information from measurable parameters is given. A model of isometric knee extension was developed to simulate a strength curve across a range of knee angles. In order to realistically recreate experimentally measured strength, random noise was added to the modeled strength. Parameters were solved for using a genetic search algorithm. When noise was added to the measurements the strength curve was reasonably recreated. However, the individual muscle model parameters and force curves were far less accurate. Based upon this examination, it is clear that very different sets of model parameters can recreate similar strength curves. Therefore, experimental variation in strength measurements has a significant influence on the results. Given the difficulty in accurately recreating individual muscle parameters, it may be more appropriate to perform simulations with lumped actuators representing similar muscles.