3D Technology in Orono Will Help Local Patients

Caitlin Burchill

Updated 1 year ago

You’ve heard about it in the movies and even in the sports world, but now 3D motion capture technology is being used to help regular folks in Maine.”This is a human performance lab so we look at human motion. It’s very hard for the eye to capture that complex motions and so if you can capture that you can begin to develop the solutions,” said Dr. Andrew Hodge, Chief of Orthopedics at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Clinicians at Eastern Maine Medical Center and researchers at UMaine have joined forces to use this technology to help patients.”Our first project is going to be working with patients that have spinal stenosis. So this is what we call one of our spine models. So looking at patients, how much they can bend forward and bend back,” said Katie Helo, a physical therapist at Eastern Maine Medical Center.The real time technology can gauge a person’s range of motion before and after an injury or possible surgery.”After we do some procedure like a joint replacement then we look at it afterwards and we see how their clinical outcome is and that’s very important in today’s health care system because the people who pay for these, which are the insurance companies, want to make sure their patients and clients are getting the best results,” said Hodge. But these doctors couldn’t help patients without the brains at UMaine.”It’s really important to have the engineering side in the development of whatever tests. If you want to look at a certain performance test then we can design that test and see how we can capture it,” said Hodge. While EMMC patients will benefit, UMaine athletics will be sure to take advantage of this equipment on their campus. “On the sporting side, we can show them how to do it correctly and avoid that injury that might take them out of competition,” said Hodge. A former college volleyball player, I thought I’d give it a try. “So this is you. This is what you were just doing. Your right one barely moves at all. Your left one goes in,” said Hilo as she examined my 3D motion capture results. The physical therapists diagnosed me with a weak VMO or weak inner quad on my left leg.Female athletes commonly have this weakness and it can result in a torn ACL.The physical therapist recommended that I do more squats. This 3D equipment is housed in the Human Performance Lab at the Culter Health Center on UMaine’s campus. Practioners will begin using this technology in full force next month.


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