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Biomechanical Experimentation, Design, and Simulation

Bone Biomechanics Research

Faculty:  Dr. Carolyn Skurla, Dr. Joe Kuehl

We are using an experimentally based research program designed to address two fundamental questions related to bone fatigue (stress fractures) and bone failure prediction:

1)  How does the coupling of time-dependent "creep" dynamics with cycle-dependent "fatigue" dynamics affect bone fatigue predictability?

2)  How does variable amplitude forcing affect bone fatigue predictability?

Both of these are open questions in the biomaterials and engineering materials fatigue communities.

To address these questions, a suite of experimental studies are proposed including constant amplitude cyclic bending and torsion, variable amplitude (and chaotic) bending and variable amplitude (and chaotic) torsion.

Control Strategies for Coordinated, Multi-segmented Motion

Faculty:  Dr. Brian Garner

Exploring techniques, such as combining optimization, neural networks, and pid control strategies to automate control of coordinated motion in multi-segmented systems (e.g., mobile robots, animals, humans).

Geometric & Graphical Modeling of Non-rigid Materials

Faculty:  Dr. Brian Garner

Modeling and visualizing morphological changes of non-rigid materials during simulated motion (e.g., muscles wrapping around underlying anatomical structures during joint movement).

Image Analysis and 3D Reconstruction

Faculty:  Dr. Brian Garner

Developing algorithms and tools for high-quality analysis, 3D reconstruction, and refinement (e.g., smoothing, decimation, etc.) of surface-models from layered sets of 2D images such as MRI, CT, and other medical images.

Mechanical Systems Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization

Faculty:  Dr. Brian Garner

Developing models and applying computational methods and tools for the simulation of mechanical (including biomechanical) systems.

Orthopedics Research

Faculty:  Dr. Carolyn Skurla

In collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons at Baylor Scott & White in Waco, TX, we are beginning a study on the healing of defects in articular cartilage.

Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Issues/Research

Faculty:  Dr. Jonathan Rylander

My expertise is in the area of motion capture technology as it applies to orthopedic and rehabilitation issues. I am currently engaged in three projects with medical collaborators outside of Baylor University.

• The first study is in collaboration with Dr. Garrison Benton, an orthopaedic surgeon at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest in Waco TX. We are using motion capture to quantify movement quality for patients who have received a total hip replacement via an anterior surgical approach. Dr. Benton wants to know if retaining the capsule that surrounds the hip will have any functional benefit to the patient.

• The second project is in collaboration with Dr. Jason Wilken, a physical therapist and head of research at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio TX. We are analyzing the potential use of exer-gaming technology and software as a useful rehabilitation tool for those with medical conditions such as amputation, hip impingement, and ACL tears. Using the BioMotion Lab at Baylor University, we are able to quantify which motions are adequately tracked by the exer-gaming system and which ones are not and provide this information to physical therapists.

• The third project is in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Schmitz at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and Dr. Marc Safran at Stanford University. In this project, we are analyzing various hip braces as potential conservative treatment options for people with a hip condition called Femoroacetabular Impingement. This condition is characterized by abnormal bone growth at the hip that causes soft tissue damage and pain. It is possible that a hip brace might alter the mechanics of the hip in such a way as to prevent the injury mechanism from occurring or becoming worse.

Research Themes

Faculty:  Dr. Joe Kuehl

Nonlinear Vibrations and Time Series Analysis: Current research is focused around the concept of Phase Space Warping (PSW). PSW refers to the shifting of system dynamics in phase space caused by slight variations in system parameters. This e ffect has lead to an expanded interpretation of nite-time Lyapunov exponent calculations which are used to identify so-called chaotic mixing processes. This concept coupled with modal decomposition techniques also allows for the extraction of slow-time signals from fast-time measurements. The ability to preform such signal extraction allows for identifi cation of system fatigue. Early detection of fatigue (damage accumulation) is necessary for deployment of mitigation strategies before irreversible damage has occurred. Current topics being pursued are bone fatigue (applicable to the elderly, war fighters and athletes) and environmental change (pattern shifting and climate change).