Creating an Orono Biomechanical Hoof Tester Using NI DAQ and NI LabVIEW

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"The NI USB-6210 gave us an ideal data acquisition solution with excellent signal quality and reliable data collection from every drop of the hoof. With LabVIEW, we quickly and efficiently programmed the data acquisition system with hardware integration and an intuitive user experience. We spent less time programming and more time developing, which certainly contributed to the success of the OBHT."

- Dr S.J Hobbs, University of Central Lancashire

The Challenge:
Developing a portable, reliable and accurate system to measure the condition of racing surfaces in equine sport.

The Solution:
Using the NI USB-6210 module along with NI LabVIEW to acquire and log signals produced by the physical simulation of a galloping horse.

Author(s):
Glen Crook - University of Central Lancashire
Dr S.J Hobbs - University of Central Lancashire

Introduction

Professor Mick Peterson at the University of Maine created the Orono biomechanical hoof tester (OBHT) to simulate the impact and loading characteristics of a galloping horse. The Research and Consultancy for Equine Surfaces (RACES) team developed an OBHT in the UK. The RACES team comprises of independent researchers from Anglia Ruskin University, Myerscough College, and the University of Central Lancashire, and is currently supported by Professor Peterson. As part of the RACES team, we manufactured, assembled and instrumented the OBHT in the engineering workshop at the University of Central Lancashire.

System Description

The main application of the OBHT is to test the condition of horse-racing surfaces. The data gathered ensures that surfaces are safe and suitable for professional equestrian events.

It is important that the running surface is consistent, provides sufficient load-bearing support, does not produce excessive impact shock on contact, has suitable frictional characteristics, and does not excessively shear when the horse pushes off. For some surfaces, it is also important that these properties do not dramatically change with use or changes in the weather.

We can transport the OBHT to different race tracks and arena locations around the country, and have already used it in several prestigious competition arenas. Once on-site, we mount it onto a vehicle to easily move around the surface.

To characterize each track surface for its suitability and safety, we equipped the OBHT with a variety of sensors, each measuring the various forces and strains present on a horse’s leg when impacting the surface. This includes a single-axis load cell to measure vertical force, a string potentiometer and a linear potentiometer to measure velocity on landing as well as deflection of the surface, and a triaxial accelerometer to measure vertical and horizontal decelerations on impact. We needed a quick, cost-effective solution to consistently and reliably acquire and log the signals to perform the necessary characterization. We chose the USB-6210 module and an application programmed in LabVIEW to meet these requirements.

We designed the OBHT to authentically simulate the impact of a horse’s leg on the ground. We did this with two nonorthogonal axes to measure both horizontal and vertical reactions. The two axes are a long set of rails and a shorter linear-bearing apparatus attached to the hoof plate. With gravity acting on the first axis (the long rails on which the hoof and instrumentation slide), the force is generated by accelerating this mass down the rails.

The total mass of the portion of the system on the long rails is 30 kg, which provides energy at an impact of approximately 540 J. This impact energy accounts for the energy of the hoof impacting the surface as well as the partial weight of the animal and associated musculature. A second set of shorter linear rails moves down as a part of the mass attached to the slide. This second axis incorporates a spring-and-damper system that moves when the hoof plate contacts the soil. The difference in the angle between the first and second axes also forces the hoof plate to slide forward as it impacts the soil, much like a real horse’s hoof slips as it impacts the ground.

Conclusion

The NI USB-6210 gave us an ideal data acquisition solution with excellent signal quality and reliable data collection from every drop of the hoof. With LabVIEW, we quickly and efficiently programmed the data acquisition system with hardware integration and an intuitive user experience. We spent less time programming and more time developing, which certainly contributed to the success of the OBHT.

Author Information:

Glen Crook        

University of Central Lancashire

01772 893355

Email: gmcrook@uclan.ac.uk

 

Dr. S.J. Hobbs
University of Central Lancashire

Dr S.J.Hobbs

01772 893328

Author Information:
Glen Crook
University of Central Lancashire
Darwin Building
Preston PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893355
gmcrook@uclan.ac.uk

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