Using a Touch Probe to Acquire Muscle Fibre Data

Release Build - Win32, ~700KB, last updated Oct 9, 2008

An application I wrote while doing an internship at Autodesk Research, to aid Anne Agur's group who do research in musculoskeletal anatomy.

The Immersion MicroScribe (pictured above) is an example of a touch probe, a device that traces 3D points. It works by sensing the position at points of articulation along the arm to determine a 3-space position at the arm's end.

My application interfaces with the MicroScribe using Immersion's provided API. The software groups points into lines, lines into layers, and layers into heads (a muscle-specific type of group). Between layers, 3 calibration points define a unique 3D transform so that points between subsequent layers correctly line up, as the specimen is likely to be spatially shifted. The application outputs all data into Maya Ascii (.ma) format. Since the application offers a perspective view, realtime updating and display of the digitizer arm position, and a simple interface for organizing, displaying and exporting acquired data, these features made it a far more attractive substitute to what they had been using previously.


Right pedal adds points. Left pedal ends the current line. Left/middle/right mouse dragging performs tumble/pan/zoom for camera (copies Maya's behaviour).

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