Simple and accurate methods for quantifying deformation, disruption, and development in biological tissues

John J. Boyle, Maiko Kume, Matthew A. Wyczalkowski, Larry A. Taber, Robert B. Pless, Younan Xia, Guy M. Genin, Stavros Thomopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


When mechanical factors underlie growth, development, disease or healing, they often function through local regions of tissue where deformation is highly concentrated. Current optical techniques to estimate deformation can lack precision and accuracy in such regions due to challenges in distinguishing a region of concentrated deformation from an error in displacement tracking. Here, we present a simple and general technique for improving the accuracy and precision of strain estimation and an associated technique for distinguishing a concentrated deformation from a tracking error. The strain estimation technique improves accuracy relative to other state-of-theart algorithms by directly estimating strain fields without first estimating displacements, resulting in a very simple method and low computational cost. The technique for identifying local elevation of strain enables for the first time the successful identification of the onset and consequences of local strain concentrating features such as cracks and tears in a highly strained tissue. We apply these new techniques to demonstrate a novel hypothesis in prenatal wound healing. More generally, the analytical methods we have developed provide a simple tool for quantifying the appearance and magnitude of localized deformation from a series of digital images across a broad range of disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0685
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number100
StatePublished - Nov 6 2014


  • Material failure
  • Strain localization
  • Texture correlation


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