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Biomechanics is a biological science that is essentially a combination of Biology and Engineering Mechanics. The science studies the principles of how living systems work at the most basic level. What are the mechanics behind a beating heart, for instance? Biomechanics research ranges from the way joints move when performing a task to how cells and organs function and behave. Just that they work isn't enough, Biomechanics focuses on understanding how they do what they do in terms of mathematical equations.
Due to the number of systems in a body and the various ways to look at them Biomechanics is a diverse discipline. Some researchers use computer models to simulate how the body moves and learn from that, while other work with tissue and live subjects. This research focuses on things that include the physical composition of tissue and bone, the mechanics of how a part of the body functions under different conditions and even how the cells of the body perform their jobs.
The study of biomechanics contains many possibly benefits for humanity. First off, in knowing how the body works at a fundamental level, we are better able to repair it or replace parts. One of the most exciting benefits of Biomechanics research comes in the form of mechanical limbs, the goal being to one day be able to replace a lost limb with little to no loss of mobility. In fact the military, namely the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is investing heavily into bionic arm research and expects to have a working model completed by 2009 that closely mimics the function of a normal human arm.
However this barely scratches the surface of what could be done with the science. Through the study of the inner workings of cells and organs scientists are getting better at repairing and replacing these organs. Biomechanics goes a long way to advancing the field of Tissue Engineering where new tissue is grown from cells taken from a patient.
Another obvious potential benefit of Biomechanics lies in the curing of diseases. It stands to reason the more we know about how the body works, the better able we will be to deal with some diseases. Some conditions that come to mind would be Osteoporosis and Arthritis, but their are literally hundreds more that research in this field could benefit.
Benefits of Bio-mechanical Innovation
The benefits of biomechanics go much deeper than can be measured on paper. Patients are given back their abilities to enjoy everyday activities that most take for granted, and they are given the opportunity for a second chance with their disability. One such example in implementing the use of biomechanics in the everyday world is an innovative stroller that gives a rider who cannot sit in an upright seated position that such ability. The stroller benefits both the person pushing and its occupant in its genius design. An insert in the stroller allows the position to be adjusted and makes it so the rider can recline. There are many more devices like this available to patients for their own specific needs. There isn’t high market potential for a lot of the custom equipment for patient disabilities, but such life changing designs give hope to the millions of people who live their lives without the same luxuries as the rest of us.
Anatomy,Kinesiology,Tissue Engineering, Bionics
Where we are right now
Where we are headed, except most likely a little less sinister
- American Society of Biomechanics-
- The Journal of Biomechanics-
- Wikipedias Entry on Biomechanics-
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