There is a growing interest inside the engineering world in the analysis and the study of the human body from an engineer’s perspective. Each main area of engineering ranging from chemical to mechanical has tried to understand the human body in their own perspective, improve quality of life, and address any health problem related to the individuals. But how can engineers get into the exciting world of exploring the human aspect? In this article, we will explore a little bit of how Mechanical engineers can use their knowledge and tools to address any challenges related to the human body inside the Biomechanical Engineer world.
Mechanical and Biomechanical.
Let stick with some journal definitions “Biomechanics is the application of mechanical engineering principles to living organisms” or “Biomechanics is defined as mechanics applied to biology, and mechanics itself is the response of bodies to forces or displacements”. All paths lead to Rome, Biomechanical is nothing but using mechanical principles and all related knowledge and then apply them in the understanding of the human body for any practical purposes.
If you are a mechanical engineer you might wonder yourself how is this possible?
Easy, an elbow, a wrist, a knee are nothing but more detailed and complex mechanical joints that have their own limitations. When you are designing a hydraulic arm of a bulldozer, by example, you need to understand the limitations related to the designs such as the loads that can carry, the degree of freedom, and range of movement. With that in mind, you proceed to select the materials that your estimations tells you that works for the purpose.
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Working with some bones and human joints is no different. For example, while working with an elbow, you have to understand the type of loads it will suffer during the specific task of interest, the degrees of freedoms, and the respective range of movement related to each DOF. And If you are designing a prosthesis, or some kind of device to replace completely or partially the joint you surely will use your own knowledge, but also will have to study additional topics such as receptiveness of the body to certain material, and psychologic feeling of the human mind to the design object.
Ergonomics and biomechanics
Biomechanic is linked to ergonomics studies, which globe a wide range of applications from designing a simple desktop mouse to the position of astronauts where gravity *Or the absence of it* will play a role in any design process related to biomechanical aspects.
Without having to go to the space to understand this aspect (and it applies not only for a mechanical engineer but also for industrial engineers) we can rely on one example, the design of a new Bicycle. When designing a new bicycle, ergonomics starts to play a major role in the process. If your design purpose is related to velocity or to comfort for recreational use, ergonomics studies will help you accomplish it. But how could ergonomics help in this task? Well, the answer is Torque. Torque is related to Power by a proportional estimation and to velocity by mechanical principles and Newton Laws of movement. By improving the design of the position of the bicycles’ rider, you could aim to gain more torque and thus might improve velocity. Of course, while there are many other aspects that will influence the design process, the essence is the same, mechanical principles were used to improve human conditions, in other words, Biomechanics.
The Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) is a competition host by ASME worldwide where students from all over the world test their designing skills in vehicles displaced by pure human power. In this competition, the application of different engineering topics is necessary to accomplish the goal, and that includes the biomechanical subjects of ergonomics. In the same line of ideas, Aerovelo’s Eta Speedbike reached the insane velocity of 86.65 miles per hour for a “bike”. An example of how engineers can use mechanical principles in conjunction with biological and physiological’s to achieve goals, in other words, biomechanics.
How can your 3D Modeling software Solidface can be used for this?
Although there might be specialized software to study ergonomics or any other biomechanical subject for specific purposes, when it comes to 3D modeling, there is no preference at all. Whether you are building a bone, a skull, a prosthetics, a bicycle, or even a mouse using biomechanical analysis, 3D models does not change. Traditional 3D modeling software is enough to accomplish any biomechanical design that can be treated as any other mechanical or industrial design.
The final statement
Knowing this, the real question is why to rely on traditional software when you can improve to a collaborative and cloud-based one? as learn in a engineer’s story if you can accomplish a biomechanical design with a traditional software, you will surely be faster and more precise when doing it with Solidface, and in addition you will only have to pay for the license only on a monthly basis and stop from paying it after your project is finished.
If you are a professional engineer and an expert with knowledge in mechanical principles, then you might be as well a professional and an expert in biomechanical topics. Being a biomechanical expert as we showed with the bicycle example, is just a matter of personal choice. If you decide to risk yourself a little and to work deep with biomechanical topics, be sure that you probably will need nothing more than just read and research specific related topics, but understanding of mechanical principles will be enough to develop an excellent work. Also, you will not need any additional tools, your 3D modeling software license Solidface is enough to create your 3D models and to quickly and easily share it with your colleagues and teammates. If you want to go further, you will probably improve your work by using additive manufacturing process to create your prototypes. One thing is sure, whatever your choice might be if risking to biomechanics or not, Solidface will help you all the way.