A noninvasive technique for measuring the stretch of skin is described. The technique utilizes changes in the reflectivity of polarized light intensity as a monitor of skin stretch. Measurements of in vitro pigskin and in vivo human skin show that the reflectivity of polarized light intensity increases linearly with stretch. The changes in diffusive reflectivity properties of skin result from the alterations that take place in the roughness across the thickness of the skin layers due to stretch. Conceptually, as the roughness of a layer decreases with stretch, a smoother reflecting media is produced, resulting in a proportional increase in the specular reflection. Results can be easily extended to a real-time stretch analysis of large tissue areas that would be applicable for mapping the stretch of skin.
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