This paper reports on the design and development of a multi-axis (up to 6 axes) mechanical tester for spinal research and testing. The developed spine tester allowed true motion to be simulated on a specimen in pure or combined modes. To demonstrate the capability of the new tester, flexural stiffness properties of sheep lumbar motion segments were evaluated together with a non-contact speckle displacement measurement system. The flexural stiffness of the specimens was measured and compared under constrained and non-constrained testing conditions; with relieving of shear forces (non-constrained), it was found that the specimen behaved in a ‘stiffer’ manner.

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