View - Griffith Research Online
[
technical note
]
NEIL TUTTLE, BSc, GradDipAdvManipTher, MPhil, PhD1 • GUILLERMO JACUINDE, MEngTech2
Design and Construction of a Novel
Low-Cost Device to Provide Feedback
on Manually Applied Forces
P
force transmitted through the pahysical therapists commonly use their hands to perform
tient to the treatment table2,5,7,9 or,
manual therapy techniques. While the magnitude of the
with the therapist on a force platforce applied during these techniques is thought to be SUPPLEMENTAL
VIDEO ONLINE
form, the reduction of ground reimportant,10 it can vary between practitioners by as much as
action force under the therapist.6
4,11
12
500% and sometimes approach potentially dangerous levels.
These methods can accurately
Providing students with contemporaneous feedback is one method measure the net applied load but may not
that has been shown to improve the consistency of force application.1,6-7 reflect the load applied to the structures
Providing feedback for students is
complicated by the nature of the techniques performed. Therapists typically
use multiple points of contact with both
TTSTUDY DESIGN: Design and evaluation, technical note.
TTOBJECTIVES: To describe the design of a
simple, low-cost device for providing feedback
of manually applied forces to the cervical spine,
and to assess the device against specific design
criteria.
TTBACKGROUND: The forces applied during
manual therapy may vary by as much as 500%
between practitioners. But consistency can be
improved in students when they are provided with
contemporaneous feedback. The current methods
of providing feedback, however, are expensive,
complex, and/or preclude their performance in a
clinically relevant manner.
TTMETHODS: The design of the device was as-
sessed in accordance of the following criteria: (1)
ease of use, (2) low cost, (3) minimal interference
with technique, (4) ability to provide feedback with
suitable accuracy at forces up to 50 N, and (5) no
requirement of specialized skills to construct.
hands, while maintaining adequate support and control, to produce the desired
movement. Some investigators have evaluated the net applied load by measuring
TTRESULTS: A device is described that interfaces
with standard computers through the sound card
and measures force, using thin, low-cost, forcesensing resistors. Evaluated against the design
criteria, the device (1) is easy to set-up and use,
(2) can be produced for under $30 US dollars, (3)
creates minimal interference with performance of
a variety of techniques, (4) has limits of agreement
from –3.8 to 4.2 N for forces of 5 to 45 N and
repeatability coefficients of 2.0 N or 12%, and
(5) can be constructed without specialized skills
or knowledge.
TTCONCLUSION: A device is described that fulfils
most of the design criteria for providing feedback
on forces for physical therapy students and may
have applications in other fields. J Orthop Sports
Phys Ther 2011;41(3):174-179, Epub 5 January 2011.
doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.3461
TTKEY WORDS: education, force feedback, manual
therapy
of interest. In addition, these methods
of measuring the net load are expensive
and electronically and procedurally complex. Other investigators have measured
the load applied at a single point, the
simplest example of which employed a
hand dynamometer interposed between
the therapist and the patient.16 A sensor
positioned between the therapist and the
patient can accurately measure the load
applied locally; but a dynamometer, due
to its size, may prevent the evaluation of
some techniques and significantly alter
the performance of others.
Although not reported as a means to
provide feedback, another method of assessing forces applied at a single point of
contact is the use of thin, flexible, forcesensing resistors (FSRs), which minimize interference with the therapist’s
performance of techniques and sensitivity.8 FSRs have a reported repeatability
of approximately 5%, which would be
more than sufficient to provide feedback
for students; however, the accuracy of
the system described would likely be re-
Senior Lecturer in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. 2Senior
Scientific Officer, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. No grant support was received for the material
presented in this manuscript. The authors do not have a financial interest in the device or any components used in its construction. Readers should ensure the suitability of the
device for their computer before installing and using the device described in this article. Address correspondence to Dr Neil Tuttle, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science,
Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, 4222, Australia. E-mail: [email protected]
1
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duced, due to the contact surface not being controlled.3
In consultation with colleagues, we
found support for a simple, low-cost device to provide feedback on forces applied
during manual therapy techniques, to be
used as a teaching tool. Therefore, we set
out to develop a device that would measure, display, and store forces applied at
a single point to the cervical spine in the
performance of manual therapy techniques. The device had to be affordable
and allow the user to perform most techniques with minimal restriction. With
regard to its intended use as a means of
providing feedback to students, we considered it reasonable to sacrifice some
accuracy for lower cost and greater ease
of use.
The design criteria of the device were
that it should (1) be simple to use and calibrate, (2) cost less than $100 US dollars,
(3) allow the techniques to be performed
in as normal a way as possible, (4) be able
to provide real-time and archived feedback on force magnitude within 20%
or 5 N for forces up to 45 N, and (5) be
constructed from readily available parts
without requiring specialist skills.
The aim of this paper was to describe
the design, construction, and repeatability of measurements of this device and to
assess the device against the stated design criteria.
METHODS
Device Construction
F
SRs are thin (0.2 mm thick), lowcost pressure sensors whose resistance decreases with pressure
applied on the sensor surface. We used
Flexiforce A201 sensors (Tekscan, Inc,
South Boston, MA), which are rated
as having a 1-lb (0.454 kg) range and a
9.53-mm-diameter active area. Glued to
2 sides of the sensor are rounded silicone
bumpers and/or metal washers to ensure
that force is distributed over a constant
area. During development of the device,
we collected pilot data to determine what
type of “pucks,” when attached to the sen-
2
3.5-mm
3
stereo
2
plugs
1
1
Flexiforce sensor
3
FIGURE 1. The components used to construct the
device. The parts shown are (1) an audio jumper
lead with 2 male, 3.5-mm plugs, cut in half and wire
ends stripped, (2) a 2-element screw connector,
(3) a Zelman ZM-EC1 cable (Zalman USA, Inc,
Garden Grove, CA), with the male plug removed
and wire ends stripped, and (4) a Flexiforce A201
1-lb sensor (Tekscan, Inc, South Boston, MA), with
an 11-mm-diameter washer affixed to one side by
epoxy adhesive and a 7.9-mm diameter self-adhesive
silicone bumper (Bumpon SJ 5302; 3M, St Paul,
MN) on the other. More detailed instructions for
construction are contained in the APPENDIX
(available online at www.jospt.org). The device is
symmetrical, so either plug can be inserted into the
headphone socket and the other into the microphone
socket on a PC or laptop.
sor, would result in consistent changes in
resistance of FSRs and to ensure that the
silicone bumper and washer performed
similarly, whether forces were applied
over soft tissue or bony prominences. A
typical configuration used for performing computer-based measurements
with an FSR includes external electronic
components to condition the signal, an
analogue-to-digital converter to interface with the computer, and software to
process the data.13 We used simple wiring, without additional electronic components, and the computer’s soundcard in
place of an external analogue-to-digital
converter. Custom software was developed for signal processing, which produces a continuous 1000-Hz sine wave
output from the computer headphone
jack. The signal passes through the FSR
and the modified signal returns via the
microphone jack, such that the FSR essentially acts as a volume control. The
software reads the intensity of the return signal, converts the value to a force
equivalent, and displays the force both
as an instantaneous value and a time
series graph. A target force level can be
displayed on the graph and, if required,
FIGURE 2. Wiring diagram. One plug is inserted
into the headphone socket and the other into
the microphone socket of a standard computer
soundcard. The output from both channels of the
headphones goes through the sensor, and the
modified signal returns as input to the microphone
socket. Note that a few computers with low
specification sound cards will not produce sufficient
power to operate the device.
FIGURE 3. Screenshot of the software in operation.
The force is shown in Newtons on the top right, and a
5-second history of the applied force is shown on the
graph. A target force can be included on the graph
and appears as a red horizontal line. Start data and
stop data recording buttons enable the data to be
saved for viewing or analysis at a later time.
the force data can be saved for review.
The device, the wiring diagram, and a
screenshot of the software are shown
in FIGURES 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The
APPENDIX (available online at www.jospt.
org) presents a simple method of construction that does not require any skills
beyond cutting, stripping, and taping
wires, the use of a screwdriver, and gluing a washer to the sensor. Alternatively,
the device can be hardwired and built according to the wiring diagram presented
in FIGURE 2. An installable version of the
software is available online at www.jospt.
org.
Calibration
The sensor should be conditioned and
calibrated prior to each session. Conditioning is accomplished by applying an
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[
technical note
]
to the limits of agreement, except that it
indicates how closely the repeated measures agree with each other, rather than
with a known value. For example, limits
of agreement are relevant when a student
intends to reproduce a force used by the
instructor rather than a force of known
magnitude.
RESULTS
Accuracy
T
FIGURE 4. Use of the device. (A) The device in relation to a finger with the rounded bumper facing the finger.
(B-D)The use of the device during 3 techniques to the cervical spine with an arrow indicating the location of the
sensor.
approximately 5-kg load to the sensor
5 times, for about 5 seconds each time.
Calibration consists of a 1-point procedure using a mass of approximately 4 kg.
A full 4-liter or 1-gallon plastic bottle of
milk or soft drink, balanced upside-down
on the sensor, can be used as a calibration
mass (producing approximately 39.5 and
37.5 N of force, respectively, including the
weight of the bottle). The volume control
of the computer is then adjusted until the
digital readout corresponds with the applied load.
Use
The device is placed against a surface,
such as a desk or padded treatment table, and force is applied with a thumb or
finger to assist students in gaining an appreciation of the magnitudes of applied
forces. FIGURE 4 shows examples of how
the device can be used while performing
several techniques on the cervical spine.
If necessary, the device can be held in
place by double-sided tape, either on the
therapist’s hand or on the person being
palpated. Note that tape should not be
placed over the top of the sensor, as this
will result in inaccurate readings.
Test of Accuracy
After calibration, as a vertical load,
known weights of 0.5 to 4.5 kg were applied at 0.5-kg intervals, 3 times each,
using 4 different sensors on each of 3 different computers. To assess the accuracy
of the device, Bland-Altman plots were
constructed for the mean differences between the actual values and those measured with the device across the 4 sensors
and 3 computers. The 95% limits of
agreement (the range within which 95%
of the measures would fall) were calculated in Newtons and percentage values. To
assess the repeatability of the device, the
repeatability coefficient was calculated
and plots were constructed for the differences between the repeated measures,
when using the same computer and sensor. The repeatability coefficient is similar
he mean  SD difference between the applied load and the
reading on the device was 0.20 
2.00 N or 0.3%  14.9%. The limits of
agreement that indicate how closely 95%
of measurements would be expected
to approximate the actual applied load
were –3.8 to 4.2 N or –29.5% to 30.1%.
Bland-Altman plots show that the limits of agreement in Newtons remained
consistent from 5 to 45 N (FIGURE 5A).
When expressed as percentages, the differences decreased with increasing force
(FIGURE 5B). Due to the large percentage
differences for forces of 5 N, the limits of
agreement in percentage were calculated
for forces from 10 to 45 N as 22.6%
(FIGURE 5B). The repeatability coefficients
indicating the maximum difference between 95% of repeated measurements
were 2.0 N or 12.1% (FIGURE 6).
Comparison With Design Criteria
The device met most of the design criteria. (1) It was easy to use and calibrate,
with calibration taking less than a minute. (2) It cost less than $100 US dollars,
having been produced for approximately
$30 US dollars. (3) It allowed the techniques to be performed in as normal a
way possible, as it could be placed between the patient and different parts of
the therapist’s hand and was thin enough
(3 mm thick if 2 washers were used and 8
mm thick if 2 bumpers were used) to be
used with the therapist’s hands in normal
positions for most techniques. (4) It was
able to provide real-time and archived
feedback on force magnitude within
20% or 5 N for forces up to 45 N, with
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A
6
Difference From Applied Load (N)
contemporaneous visual feedback and
feedback from applied-force data stored
for later evaluation. Its accuracy was
within the design criteria, except that the
percentage variability for forces below 5
N were greater than the specified 20%.
(5) It was either available off-the-shelf or
could be constructed from readily available parts without specialist skills: the
device was made from parts that were
readily available from electronic suppliers and did not require specialist skills to
construct.
4
2
0
–2
–4
–6
0
DISCUSSION
20
30
40
50
Applied Load (N)
he described device provides a
low-cost, practical method for measuring forces manually applied
through 1 point of contact and is considered capable of providing useful feedback
for students learning manual therapy
skills. The device is able to assess forces
applied at 1 point and is only accurate
over a relatively narrow range of forces
(5 to 45 N). A maximum force of 45 N
was selected because the device was designed primarily for use with the cervical
spine. Our previous research found that
changes in stiffness of the cervical spine
related to patient symptoms occur at
forces as low as 4 N and predominantly at
those below 25 N.14,15 These findings are
consistent with those of an earlier study
by Marcotte et al,8 who found that pressures applied during motion palpation of
the cervical spine ranged from 4.0 to 41
N/cm2.
One strength of the device is that it
directly measures the force between the
user and the patient; however, as a result,
it cannot measure net forces that include
all points of contact. Nor can its measurements include contact between the
user and patient that extends beyond the
sensor, such as other parts of the finger,
thumb, or hand. Compared to the device
presented in this technical note, other devices used to provide feedback are more
accurate and applicable over a larger
range of forces; but these are at least an
order of magnitude more expensive and
B
60
Difference From Applied Load (%)
T
10
40
20
0
–20
–40
–60
0
10
20
30
40
50
Applied Load (N)
FIGURE 5. Bland-Altman plots of accuracy across all sensors, computers, and repeated trials. For both plots, the
y-axis indicates the difference between applied load and measured load, with (A) differences in Newtons and (B) in
percentages. Dashed lines indicate the 95% limits of agreement. The limits of agreement are shown for forces of
9.8 N and above, due to the large variation with the lower load.
interfere more with the performance of
techniques.
Force Versus Pressure
There is an important difference between force as we have considered it up
to this point and pressure as discussed
by Marcotte et al.8 Force is the relevant
parameter if the movement of a vertebra
is thought to be related to the magnitude
and direction of the applied force. Pressure, which is defined as force per unit
area, may be the relevant parameter with
respect to tenderness (eg, pressure pain
threshold), or soft tissue characteristics,
such as swelling or lymphoedema. The
characteristics of FSRs are such that
their resistance changes in response to
the maximum pressure at any point on
the sensor area. Marcotte et al,8 who
used bare, unmounted sensors, rightly
described their results as pressure rather
than force. We produced the effect of
varying the distribution of force across a
sensor, by using either the pad or a fingertip to apply force to an FSR resting on
a scale, to reach a series of target values.
The resistance of the bare FSRs differed
by as much as 100% when pressure was
applied by different parts of the finger.
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[
technical note
]
A
6
Difference From Mean (N)
4
2
0
–2
–4
–6
0
10
20
30
40
50
Mean Force (N)
B
60
Difference From Mean (%)
40
20
0
–20
–40
–60
0
10
20
30
40
50
Mean Force (N)
FIGURE 6. Bland-Altman plots of repeatability for trials using the same condition (same sensor and computer).
The y-axis indicates the difference between measured load and mean for that condition (shown on the x-axis), with
(A) differences in Newtons and (B) in percentages. Dashed lines indicate the 95% repeatability coefficients.
Therefore, bare FSRs may be useful when
pressure is the parameter of interest (eg,
assessment of pressure pain thresholds or
palpation of soft tissue, swelling, tenderness, or surface anatomy). For FSRs to
measure force, pressure must be evenly
distributed over the sensor area, using
pucks, such as the washers and bumpers
used in the current device.13
The device described in this paper
minimizes the complexity, cost, and
difficulty of use at some expense of accuracy and range. Though the device is
configured for a specific purpose, discussions with colleagues have raised a
number of applications for which simi-
lar devices might be used. These range
from assessing forces applied through
partial–weight-bearing casts to teaching postural drainage for premature infants. The relatively slow response time
of FSRs does not significantly affect their
accuracy at loading rates commonly used
in mobilization (less than 2 Hz), but
could result in underestimation of force
during more rapid techniques, such as
high-velocity thrusts. Hall et al6 provide
an in-depth description of more complex
configuration, calibration, and preparation procedures used for FSRs to maximize dynamic range and accuracy. There
are a variety of configurations between
those used in this study and those described by Hall et al3 that can be adapted
for specific applications. Some configurations include using (1) a range of sensors
to assess forces from tenths to hundreds
of Newtons or applied over larger areas,
(2) electronic circuitry to improve the
linearity and range of response, (3) more
sophisticated analogue-to-digital converters for simultaneously monitoring
multiple channels or to achieve greater
resolution and faster sampling rates, and
(4) wireless interfaces.
Positive feedback has been received
on the device from both staff and students of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, as well as students after
short continuing-education courses. Using the sensors to measure applied forces
before and after 2 continuing-education
courses, therapists reduced the average
force they applied during motion palpation by approximately 50%. Preliminary
feedback from clinical educators, postgraduate students, and undergraduate
students is that the device has been valuable in assisting students to more accurately modulate forces applied during
assessment and treatment techniques.
There is further research needed to determine the effectiveness of this device in
assisting students to produce consistent
forces and in maintaining force application skills over a period of months. We
are also investigating the repeatability of
assessing pressure pain thresholds using
the device, as well as variations of the device using bare FSR sensors and/or more
sophisticated electronic interfaces.
CONCLUSION
T
his technical note describes a
simple, low-cost device that fulfils
the design criteria for providing
feedback while teaching physical therapy
students to perform manual techniques
on the cervical spine. The device met each
of its design criteria, as it was simple to
use and calibrate, cost less than $30 US
dollars, enabled a variety of techniques
to be performed in a clinically relevant
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manner, provided both real-time and archived feedback on force magnitude, and
was constructed from readily available
materials without specialist skills. It is
anticipated that this and similar devices
may be useful across a variety of applications, in addition to teaching manual
therapy skills. t
REFERENCES
1. C
hang JY, Chang GL, Chien CJ, Chung KC,
Hsu AT. Effectiveness of two forms of feedback
on training of a joint mobilization skill by using a joint translation simulator. Phys Ther.
2007;87:418-430. http://dx.doi.org/10.2522/
ptj.20060154
2. Chiradejnant A, Maher CG, Latimer J. Development of an instrumented couch to measure
forces during manual physiotherapy treatment.
Man Ther. 2001;6:229-234. http://dx.doi.
org/10.1054/math.2001.0418
3. Hall RS, Desmoulin GT, Milner TE. A technique
for conditioning and calibrating force-sensing
resistors for repeatable and reliable measurement of compressive force. J Biomech.
2008;41:3492-3495. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.
jbiomech.2008.09.031
4. H
arms MC, Bader DL. Variability of forces applied by experienced therapists during spinal
mobilization. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon).
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5. Harms MC, Milton AM, Cusick G, Bader DL.
Instrumentation of a mobilization couch for
dynamic load measurement. J Med Eng Technol.
1995;19:119-122.
6. Keating J, Matyas TA, Bach TM. The effect of
training on physical therapists’ ability to apply specified forces of palpation. Phys Ther.
1993;73:45-53.
7. Lee M, Moseley A, Refshauge K. Effect of feedback on learning a vertebral joint mobilization
skill. Phys Ther. 1990;70:97-102; discussion
103-104.
8. Marcotte J, Normand MC, Black P. Measurement
of the pressure applied during motion palpation and reliability for cervical spine rotation.
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005;28:591-596.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2005.08.003
9. Snodgrass SJ, Rivett DA, Robertson VJ. Calibration of an instrumented treatment table for
measuring manual therapy forces applied to
the cervical spine. Man Ther. 2008;13:171-179.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2007.04.002
10. Snodgrass SJ, Rivett DA, Robertson VJ, Stojanovski E. A comparison of cervical spine
mobilization forces applied by experienced and
novice physiotherapists. J Orthop Sports Phys
Ther. 40:392-401. http://dx.doi.org/10.2519/
jospt.2010.3274
11. S
nodgrass SJ, Rivett DA, Robertson VJ, Stojanovski E. Forces applied to the cervical spine
during posteroanterior mobilization. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009;32:72-83. http://dx.doi.
org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.09.012
12. Sran MM, Khan KM, Zhu Q, McKay HA, Oxland
TR. Failure characteristics of the thoracic spine
with a posteroanterior load: investigating the
safety of spinal mobilization. Spine (Phila Pa
1976). 2004;29:2382-2388.
13. Tekscan, Inc. FlexiForce Sensors User Manual.
Available at: http://www.tekscan.com/pdfs/
FlexiforceUserManual.pdf. Accessed 2010.
14. Tuttle N, Barrett R, Laakso L. Posteroanterior
movements in tender and less tender locations
of the cervical spine. Man Ther. 2009;14:28-35.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2007.09.003
15. Tuttle N, Barrett R, Laakso L. Relation between
changes in posteroanterior stiffness and active range of movement of the cervical spine
following manual therapy treatment. Spine.
2008;33:E673-679.
16. Waddington GS, Adams RD. Initial development
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dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2006.06.009
@
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[
technical note
]
APPENDIX
INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1
List of materials:
1. Audio lead, 3.5-mm (1/8 in) stereo male to 3.5-mm stereo male plug
2. Strip connector block
3. Lead with 3-pin female plug, square pin at 2.54-mm (0.1 in) centers. In this case, Zalman
ZM EC1 extension lead for computer fan
4. Flexiforce A201 1-lb sensors
5. Thin steel or brass washers (8- to 9-mm outer diameter)
6. 9-mm-diameter silicone bumpers or thin washers of no more than a 9-mm outer
diameter
7. Epoxy glue
8. Electrical tape or 2 short lengths of heat-shrink
9. Wire clippers
10. Small screwdriver
Step 2
1. Glue washer to back side of sensor, ensuring that the center hole is filled to produce a
flat surface.
2. Either attach self-adhesive bumper or glue small washer to front of Flexiforce A201,
ensuring that it does not extend beyond the active colored area.
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[
technical note
]
APPENDIX
Step 3
1. Cut audio lead in middle.
2. Cut back 25 mm (1 in) of outer insulation.
3. Cut off outer wire shield and/or foil shield. Ensure that this shield does not contact the
other wires. Electrical tape or heat-shrink may be useful here.
4. Strip insulation from about 12 mm (½ in) of each of the inner insulated wires and twist
together the 2 wires on each cable (usually 1 red and 1 black).
NOTE: The 2 halves of the audio cable will be identical, but separate.
Step 4
1. Cut fan cable near male plug, leaving a long length attached to the female plug.
2. Clip off the middle (red) wire from the female plug, leaving the 2 outside wires (white
and black).
3. Strip insulation from about 12 mm (½ in) off the ends of the white and black wires.
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APPENDIX
Step 5
1. Cut 2 sections off the connector block strip.
2. Connect the 2 wires from the fan cable and the twisted wires from ½ of the audio cable
to each side of the connector block.
NOTE: These wires can be soldered rather than using screw connectors.
Step 6
1. Plug sensor into female 3-pin plug.
2. Plug 1 of the 3.5-mm audio leads into the headphone socket and the other into the mic
socket on your computer. If prompted, select microphone as the input.
3. Ensure microphone boost is off. Double-click on volume icon. Click
“Options”>”Properties”>select the “Recording” radio button>”Advanced.” Ensure the
microphone boost box is NOT selected.
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[
technical note
]
APPENDIX
INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1
Once you have downloaded and saved the file, double-click on “Pressure Sensor.zip” to
extract the files.
Step 2
Once the files have been extracted, navigate inside the “Release” folder and double-click
on “setup.exe.”
Step 3
Read the license agreement, select either “I Agree” or “I Do Not Agree,” and click “Next.”
Step 4
Select the installation folder and the appropriate users in case there is more than one
person using the computer. To continue click “Next.”
Step 5
Click “Next” to confirm the installation.
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APPENDIX
Step 6
A new installation window will appear, showing a security warning. Click “Install” to continue.
Step 7
The program will deploy and a confirmation screen will pop up, showing that the program
has been successfully installed in your computer. Click “Close” to finish.
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[
technical note
]
APPENDIX
SETUP AND CALIBRATION
Step 1
To run the program, simply go to “Start”>”Programs”>”Griffith University” and click on
“Pressure Sensor 3-1.”
Step 2
WARNING: This step will produce a high-pitched sound coming out from your computer
speakers.
Press the “Start” button. A high-pitched sound will come out from your computer’s speakers. If you can hear the sound, please go to Step 3.
NOTE: If you cannot hear the sound:
• Unmute the computer
• Adjust the volume
NOTE: If you still cannot hear the sound after the previous adjustments:
• Check the setting of your sound card
• Open the “Control Panel” by going to “Start”>”Settings”>”Control Panel”
Once the Control Panel is opened, double-click in “Sound and Audio Devices.”
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APPENDIX
On the “Sounds and Audio Devices Properties” dialog box, click on the “Audio” tab. Select
the appropriate devices for your computer for “Sound playback” and “Sound recording”
NOTE: if you have more than one sound card in your computer, you should select the
card with your microphone and headphone jacks on the front of your computer.
Step 3
Connect the device to the microphone and headphones jacks on your computer, as shown
in the picture. If prompted by an audio system event pop-up menu, select microphone as
the input.
Step 4
Press down the force sensor resistor with your finger and check for any change in the raw
count value, as shown.
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[
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APPENDIX
Step 5
Calibration
Calibration is accomplished by applying a known load of 30 to 40 N to the sensor. A 4-kg
weight equals 39.2 N. A full 4-L or 1-gal plastic drink bottle, as shown at right, produces
loads of approximately 39.5 or 37.5 N, respectively. Once the known weight is placed on
top of the force sensor resistor, adjust the volume until you get the corresponding value
on the graph.
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APPENDIX
IMPORTANT: If you experience problems during the calibration (the value saturates even
if you reduce the volume of your computer headphone jack), you may need to alter the
volume and/or remove the “boost” of your microphone. In order to do this, go to “Sound
and Audio Devices Properties,” click on the “Audio” tab (as described in step 2), and click
on the “Volume” button of the “Sound Recording.” The following control window will appear.
You can then alter the microphone volume.
To deselect the boost, click in the “Options” menu and select “Advanced Controls,” as shown
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APPENDIX
A new “Advanced” button at the bottom of the control window will appear.
Click on it to access the “Advance Controls for Microphone” control window. Deselect the
“Microphone boost” as shown
Step 6
Recording Data
IMPORTANT: If you need to record the data from the device, first you have to create a new
folder using Windows Explorer. Open Windows Explorer and select the C: drive
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APPENDIX
Go to “File”>”New”>”Folder” and rename the new folder “Force_Data”
The system is ready to record your data in a coma-separated value format (csv), which
can be opened using Excel. You can find your data files in the following directory: C:\
Force_Data. To start recording, simply press the "Start Data Recording" button. To stop,
press the “Stop Data Recording" button. To stop the high-pitched sound, press the pause
button (remember that it will stop the data acquisition)
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