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Hooke's Law applied to sensory structure of insects

  1. May 8, 2009 #1
    Greetings,
    Any advice you may be able to provide in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    INTRO:
    I am looking at a sensory structure in the legs of insects. It tells the insect the angle, velocity and acceleration that the insect joint is experiencing at any given time. I usually measure its displacement by taking pictures of the organ at different angles and noting how the structure deforms accordingly. The structure is fixed at one end and it stretches and shortens at the other end, very much like an elastic band. I can measure the displacement of any point along this "elastic band" but I am having a hard time pooling the measurements from different points along it (and different animals) since depending on how far from the origin the measurement point is, the point will displace more or less and therefore be difficult to average with the measurements from other animals.
    This problem seems to me to be similar to one in physics in which one was trying to find out the elastic constant of a rubber band by fixing one end of them and applying increasing weights (angles in this case) to the loose end. The complication here is that instead of measuring total length (not possible in this case), one is measuring the displacement of one (or several) points along its increasing length. Of course the first observation is that the displacement is reduced in amplitude for points close to the fixed end of the elastic.

    QUESTION:
    Do you know of an equation (or set of equations) that I may be able to use to normalize these measurements from different points along the length of the elastic band as to come up with a single value that I could then average with the ones similarly obtained from different animals?


    thanks for any help or guidance, hope you are having a good time there!
     
  2. jcsd
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