The Smart Skeleton: an open-source tool for teaching muscle and joint movements #Education

John M. Pattillo at Middle Georgia State University teaches human anatomy and physiology. He recently published an educational project in the journal Advances in Physiology Education. The “Smart Skeleton” uses BNO055 sensors to track the limbs of a plastic teaching skeleton. This allows students to use a companion application (written in Unity) to test their knowledge of joint movements and muscle actions. The project makes extensive use of Adafruit products.

This project has been designed to be low-cost (approximately US$330 at the time of this writing) and relatively easy to build, configure, and modify. Only basic, through-hole soldering skills are required to construct the simplest configuration of the Smart Skeleton, and assembly of the project should take 3 to 6 h. This paper gives an overall view of the hardware and describes the use of the companion computer application. Detailed instructions for constructing the Smart Skeleton are provided in Supplemental Data S1. A Github repository contains all schematics, application files, and source code. In addition to the supplementary written instructions, a series of videos demonstrating the construction of the project is available on YouTube.

The modular diagram for the Smart Skeleton is below:

See the paper for more information, the GitHub repo for files, and YouTube for assembly. Well done!

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