While ultrasonic stimulation may now be an FDA approved method of healing bone injuries, a team of researchers at Purdue University and the University of Toledo have developed a prototype system that will hopefully keep you from requiring such treatment. The group is designing a wearable device that alerts a person engaged in rigorous activities (read: Dance Dance Revolution contests) when a stress fracture is immanent so they can cool their jets before it's too late. The system records "acoustic emission data" (sound waves creates by tiny bone fissures) the same way a machine monitors the integrity of bridges to detect harmful amounts of pressure before disaster strikes, and the data can be quickly analyzed via PDA software to determine if you're pushing things beyond recommended limits. The same techniques used in measuring earthquakes will potentially be used on athletes, runners, dancers, soldiers, and even horses in order to mitigate those oh-so-troublesome hairline cracks. While we don't intend for this to discourage you from remaining faithful to that newly-devised exercise plan, at least you would have an excuse to quit know when enough's enough, as you definitely don't want to end up hospitalized under this RN's care.

[Via MedGadget]

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New system warns of potential bone fractures