The software development
This chapter discusses about the development and working of the software, problems faced during development of the software, analysis packages used for statistical analysis of the data exported by the software for further analysis, flowcharts of the software and final product of software.
Three main steps involved in development of software are: 1) development of software for analyzing the data collected by means of JR3 tri-axial transducer which can measure forces and moments in three dimensions at the base of the socket; 2) development of software for analyzing the data collected with the use of Tekscan software that measures pressures inside the socket; 3) merging of two software's in to one and exporting the analyzed data into an EXCEL file, which can be used in statistical analysis packages such as SPSS, and SYSTAT.
This section enumerates the working and development of software for analyzing the forces and moments data collected by the JR3 tri-axial transducer.
- Prior to the use of transducer software, data collected using it is opened and saved in excel format.
- Data saved in Excel file is fed into the transducer software. Among various options shown by software forces in z-direction is chosen to detect manually the heel contact and toe-off.
- After selecting the forces in z-direction option, data related to it is displayed showing all the steps together.
- By looking at the plot individual gait cycles are selected. For ease of selecting individual gait cycles, zoom in, zoom out and pointer options are included in the window. For finding the exact heel contact and toe-off points zoom in option is used and for the inputting those values to software pointer is used.
- After inputting the data of individual gait cycles, data of each step will be divided into 50 intervals. For example if there are 350 points associated with a single step, software picks 7 consecutive points and put them in each interval and takes average of those 7 points. Then it displays the curves obtained after arranging each step into 50 intervals.
- After display of the individual gait cycle in % of gait, software calculates means and standard deviations of the curves and plots the same on a separate window.
- After calculation of means and standard deviation software calculates loading rate and impulse.
- Same process is followed for calculating means, standard deviations, loading rates and impulses of remaining forces in other two directions and moments in all three directions.
- After calculation of all these parameters, data will be exported into an Excel file which can be used for inputting into statistical softwares like SPSS,SYSTAT
Software for Tekscan data
This section explains the working and development of software for analyzing data collected using the Tekscan F-socket software that collects pressure data inside the socket.
- Prior to using the software for Tekscan data, Tekscan F-socket has to be used for data collection. For collecting data from the Tekscan F-socket one should go and open the downloaded movie and add a box or polygon to the window and plot the graph using that data.
- Data from the Tekscan F-socket will be in matrix form, which cannot be used in the software to analyze. To convert that matrix form into usable data format, one must save the data after plotting the graph in ASCII format.
- Now this file has to be opened in Excel and save as an Excel file, which can be directly inputted into software.
- After inputting the data file into the software for Tekscan data, remaining process will be same as it is for software for transducer data.
- By the end of using software for Tekscan data, one will get an Excel file with all means, standard deviations, loading rates and impulses, which can be inputted into statistical software's for further analysis.
This section describes how it works after merging of two software's and uses of merging them into one.
- Merging of two software's helps in finding the relation between forces and moments measured using tri-axial transducer and pressures measured by means of Tekscan software.
- Depending on the plane where windowing is done in Tekscan software, different forces, moments from transducer data are compared with pressure data from Tekscan and are plotted.
- Data from Tekscan and tri-axial transducer will be displayed simultaneously on the screen by merging both software's.
- Data after analyzing will be exported to an Excel file, which can be inputted into a statistical software and regression analysis can be done on it for finding the relation between forces, moments associated with transducer data and pressures developed inside the socket.
Different languages are examined to develop the software. Some of them are LabVIEW, Visual Basic, Mathcad. Considering compatibility and ease of operation Matlab has been chosen for developing the software.
LabVIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Engineering Workbench) is from National Instruments used as a platform and development environment for a visual programming language. It is mainly used for instrument control, data acquisition, industrial automation, analysis and signal processing, embedded design, and test automation. LabVIEW can be used for developing stand-alone executable, which can be distributed an unlimited number of times. This feature played an important role to look at the LabVIEW as we wanted to develop a stand-alone executable, which can be used in clinics with ease. But, to build stand-alone executable with LabVIEW, the Application Builder component included with the Professional Development System but requires a separate purchase.
Mathcad is software mainly used for documentation, validation of engineering calculations. Some of the capabilities of Mathcad are finding roots of polynomials, matrix and vector operations, curve fitting, solving differential equations,solving system of equations. This is primarily intended for non-programming users. It is quite difficult for programming of complex projects in Mathcad when compared with MATLAB.
Visual Basic (VB) is the integrated development environment (IDE) and third-generation event driven programming language. It was derived from BASIC and enables the rapid application development (RAD) of graphical user interface (GUI) applications. VB was designed to be easily learned and used by beginner programmers. It can be used for developing complex applications apart from allowing programmers to create simple GUI applications. Visual Basic can create executables (EXE files), ActiveX controls, or DLL files, but primarily used to develop Windows applications and to interface database systems. Manual selection of steps needed in software was the main reason to rule out VB. Coding for manual selection of steps in VB was difficult when compared with MATLAB.
MATLAB is a fourth generation programming language and numerical computing environment. MATLAB can be used for plotting functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creations of user interfaces, matrix manipulation, and interfacing with programs in other languages. It is very easy working with MATLAB executable, which doesn't need any other separate package. This made it easy to choose MATLAB for developing the software.
Problems encountered and resolved
Few problems encountered during development of software are:
- Clipping: Initially we thought of developing a GUI which includes a pointer for the raw data plot. For selecting the useful steps manually (Clipping) just clicking on the start and end points should generate a gait cycle. But with the restrictions in the code developed till then and to get different colors for different gait cycles it is not possible.
- Pointer: For entering the values for start and end points one should know the exact values which can be accomplished only by looking at the raw data plot. But one can't find exact values in the plot with the naked eye. For overcoming this a pointer which displays the x and y values of the plot has to be incorporated in the GUI.
- One way mapping: Initially we were able to plot the total data from the transducer file. But we were not able to go back to the data from the plot, for saving values of forces and moments for plotting gait cycles and calculating means.
For this problem we had to change the code completely and rewritten with different logic. Internet forum groups helped us a lot to figure out this problem.
- Executable file: We faced problems in converting .m file of Matlab into executable file to make it work as a stand-alone application without any need of original Matlab version installed on the target system.
To overcome this difficult we incorporated 10 edit boxes to enter the start and end points of steps manually.
It took a while to figure out the solution for this one. But by looking at different options and taking help of internet forums we figured out the problem successfully.
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