Contracting muscles show complex dimensional changes that include lateral expansion. Because this expansion process is intrinsically vibrational, driven by repetitive actions of multiple motor units, it can be sensed and quantified using the method of Laser Doppler Vibrometry (LDV). LDV has a number of advantages over more traditional mechanical methods based on microphones and accelerometers. The LDV mechanical myogram from a small hand muscle was shown under conditions of elastic loading to be related systematically to the level of force production, and to compare favorably with conventional methods for sensing the mechanical and electrical aspects of muscle contraction.

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