Visualization of the deflection of cilia bundles.
Hair cells are found in both the motion sensing and hearing apparatus of the
ear. These cells transduce mechanical stimulus into nerve impulses. A bundle
of cilia on the apical surface cause the cell to fire when deflected.
There are numerous configurations of cilia bundles including variations
on numbers, heights, and packing. I am investigating, quantitatively, the effects
of the various configurations on stiffness.
The individual cilia in the bundles are connected by tip links and
lateral links. A current theory is that
tension in tip links opens ion channels within the cilia causing the cell
Progress: (as of Feb. 23, 1996)
A finite element code has been written to model bundles. Because the model
is non-linear, the force is applied over many small steps. The model is
currently exhibiting oscillations for the material properties we wish to
A program has also been written that converts the text output of the finite
element model into a 3 dimensional solid modeler format (Inventor).
To create an series of applications to visualize the output of the finite
This is needed to aid in model testing (specifically stability tests),
model verification, bundle investigation, and presentation.
These applications will feature:
- ability to look at the bundle from any user defined orientation
- zoom in on an area of the bundle
- true or exaggerated deflections
- cut away cilia
- depict interconnection tension
- observe simulation steps via animation
- either quick (line drawn) or elaborate (gourand shaded) representations
last revised 2/23/96