Abstract

The human spine is a sophisticated mechanism consisting of 24 vertebrae which are arranged in a series-chain between the pelvis and the skull. By careful articulation of these vertebrae, a human being achieves fine motion of the skull. The spine can be modeled as a series-chain with 24 rigid links, the vertebrae, where each vertebra has three degrees-of-freedom relative to an adjacent vertebra. From the studies in the literature, the vertebral geometry and the range of motion between adjacent vertebrae are well-known. The objectives of this paper are to present a kinematic model of the spine using the available data in the literature and an algorithm to compute the inter vertebral joint angles given the position and orientation of the skull. This algorithm is based on the observation that the backbone can be described analytically by a space curve which is used to find the joint solutions..

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