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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Insect load sensors, called campaniform sensilla (CS), measure strain changes within the cuticle of appendages. This mechanotransduction provides the neuromuscular system with feedback for posture and locomotion. Owing to their diverse morphology and arrangement, CS can encode different strain directions. We used nano-computed tomography and finite-element analysis to investigate how different CS morphologies within one location—the femoral CS field of the leg in the fruit fly Drosophila —interact under load. By investigating the influence of CS substructures' material properties during simulated limb displacement with naturalistic forces, we could show that CS substructures (i.e. socket and collar) influence strain distribution throughoutmore »the whole CS field. Altered socket and collar elastic moduli resulted in 5% relative differences in displacement, and the artificial removal of all sockets caused differences greater than 20% in cap displacement. Apparently, CS sockets support the distribution of distal strain to more proximal CS, while collars alter CS displacement more locally. Harder sockets can increase or decrease CS displacement depending on sensor location. Furthermore, high-resolution imaging revealed that sockets are interconnected in subcuticular rows. In summary, the sensitivity of individual CS is dependent on the configuration of other CS and their substructures.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
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  5. Animal locomotion is influenced by a combination of constituent joint torques (e.g., due to limb inertia and passive viscoelasticity), which determine the necessary muscular response to move the limb. Across animal size-scales, the relative contributions of these constituent joint torques affect the muscular response in different ways. We used a multi-muscle biomechanical model to analyze how passive torque components change due to an animal’s size-scale during locomotion. By changing the size-scale of the model, we characterized emergent muscular responses at the hip as a result of the changing constituent torque profile. Specifically, we found that activation phases between extensor andmore »flexor torques to be opposite between small and large sizes for the same kinematic motion. These results suggest general principles of how animal size affects neural control strategies. Our modeled torque profiles show a strong agreement with documented hindlimb torque during locomotion and can provide insights into the neural organization and muscle activation behavior of animals whose motion has not been extensively documented.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  6. Abstract The domestic dog is interesting to investigate because of the wide range of body size, body mass, and physique in the many breeds. In the last several years, the number of clinical and biomechanical studies on dog locomotion has increased. However, the relationship between body structure and joint load during locomotion, as well as between joint load and degenerative diseases of the locomotor system (e.g. dysplasia), are not sufficiently understood. Collecting this data through in vivo measurements/records of joint forces and loads on deep/small muscles is complex, invasive, and sometimes unethical. The use of detailed musculoskeletal models may helpmore »fill the knowledge gap. We describe here the methods we used to create a detailed musculoskeletal model with 84 degrees of freedom and 134 muscles. Our model has three key-features: three-dimensionality, scalability, and modularity. We tested the validity of the model by identifying forelimb muscle synergies of a walking Beagle. We used inverse dynamics and static optimization to estimate muscle activations based on experimental data. We identified three muscle synergy groups by using hierarchical clustering. The activation patterns predicted from the model exhibit good agreement with experimental data for most of the forelimb muscles. We expect that our model will speed up the analysis of how body size, physique, agility, and disease influence neuronal control and joint loading in dog locomotion.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  7. Hydrogels are candidate building blocks in a wide range of biomaterial applications including soft and biohybrid robotics, microfluidics, and tissue engineering. Recent advances in embedded 3D printing have broadened the design space accessible with hydrogel additive manufacturing. Specifically, the Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) technique has enabled the fabrication of complex 3D structures using extremely soft hydrogels, e.g., alginate and collagen, by assembling hydrogels within a fugitive support bath. However, the low structural rigidity of FRESH printed hydrogels limits their applications, especially those that require operation in nonaqueous environments. In this study, we demonstrated long-fiber embedded hydrogel 3Dmore »printing using a multihead printing platform consisting of a custom-built fiber extruder and an open-source FRESH bioprinter with high embedding fidelity. Using this process, fibers were embedded in 3D printed hydrogel components to achieve significant structural reinforcement (e.g., tensile modulus improved from 56.78 ± 8.76 to 382.55 ± 25.29 kPa and tensile strength improved from 9.44 ± 2.28 to 45.05 ± 5.53 kPa). In addition, we demonstrated the versatility of this technique by using fibers of a wide range of sizes and material types and implementing different 2D and 3D embedding patterns, such as embedding a conical helix using electrochemically aligned collagen fiber via nonplanar printing. Moreover, the technique was implemented using low-cost material and is compatible with open-source software and hardware, which facilitates its adoption and modification for new research applications.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  8. ABSTRACT Lantern bugs are amongst the largest of the jumping hemipteran bugs, with body lengths reaching 44 mm and masses reaching 0.7 g. They are up to 600 times heavier than smaller hemipterans that jump powerfully using catapult mechanisms to store energy. Does a similar mechanism also propel jumping in these much larger insects? The jumping performance of two species of lantern bugs (Hemiptera, Auchenorrhyncha, family Fulgoridae) from India and Malaysia was therefore analysed from high-speed videos. The kinematics showed that jumps were propelled by rapid and synchronous movements of both hind legs, with their trochantera moving first. The hind legs weremore »20–40% longer than the front legs, which was attributable to longer tibiae. It took 5–6 ms to accelerate to take-off velocities reaching 4.65 m s−1 in the best jumps by female Kalidasa lanata. During these jumps, adults experienced an acceleration of 77 g, required an energy expenditure of 4800 μJ and a power output of 900 mW, and exerted a force of 400 mN. The required power output of the thoracic jumping muscles was 21,000 W kg−1, 40 times greater than the maximum active contractile limit of muscle. Such a jumping performance therefore required a power amplification mechanism with energy storage in advance of the movement, as in their smaller relatives. These large lantern bugs are near isometrically scaled-up versions of their smaller relatives, still achieve comparable, if not higher, take-off velocities, and outperform other large jumping insects such as grasshoppers.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  9. Abstract Objective. To understand neural circuit dynamics, it is critical to manipulate and record many individual neurons. Traditional recording methods, such as glass microelectrodes, can only control a small number of neurons. More recently, devices with high electrode density have been developed, but few of them can be used for intracellular recording or stimulation in intact nervous systems. Carbon fiber electrodes (CFEs) are 8 µ m-diameter electrodes that can be assembled into dense arrays (pitches ⩾ 80 µ m). They have good signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and provide stable extracellular recordings both acutely and chronically in neural tissue in vivo (e.g.more »rat motor cortex). The small fiber size suggests that arrays could be used for intracellular stimulation. Approach. We tested CFEs for intracellular stimulation using the large identified and electrically compact neurons of the marine mollusk Aplysia californica . Neuron cell bodies in Aplysia range from 30 µ m to over 250 µ m. We compared the efficacy of CFEs to glass microelectrodes by impaling the same neuron’s cell body with both electrodes and connecting them to a DC coupled amplifier. Main results. We observed that intracellular waveforms were essentially identical, but the amplitude and SNR in the CFE were lower than in the glass microelectrode. CFE arrays could record from 3 to 8 neurons simultaneously for many hours, and many of these recordings were intracellular, as shown by simultaneous glass microelectrode recordings. CFEs coated with platinum-iridium could stimulate and had stable impedances over many hours. CFEs not within neurons could record local extracellular activity. Despite the lower SNR, the CFEs could record synaptic potentials. CFEs were less sensitive to mechanical perturbations than glass microelectrodes. Significance. The ability to do stable multi-channel recording while stimulating and recording intracellularly make CFEs a powerful new technology for studying neural circuit dynamics.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
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