Many of Exponent’s Biomechanics and Medical Devices staff are highly trained in specialties within the broader field of bioengineering. This diverse body of expertise can be brought to bear in addressing the broad array of problems encountered in the practice of bioengineering. These areas of special expertise include biotechnology, neural devices, rehabilitation engineering, biofluid mechanics, finite element analyses of biological structures, motor coordination and control, imaging and image processing, musculoskeletal modeling, neuromuscular stimulation, and bioelectricity.
Some examples of past work include the creation of dynamic computer models for custom golf club fitting and neuromuscular animal research, the analysis of wheelchair restraint devices on private and public transportation, consultations regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), evaluations of electrocution and electrical injuries, and the design of improved prostheses and orthoses for domestic and Third World applications. The “Projects” link above will take you to summary descriptions of selected studies.
Dynamic Musculoskeletal Modeling
Biomechanical testing measures the motions, forces, and accelerations that occur under a specific set of testing conditions. But physical testing cannot cover all of the possible variations in conditions, nor can it evaluate how a product that has not yet been built will perform with a human being. Musculoskeletal modeling can extrapolate beyond what can be tested physically by harnessing the power of the computer. Mathematical representations of human body parts—muscles, tendons, joints, and body segments—can realistically model how each body part reacts under different conditions of loading and acceleration. Simulations can be done to view motions that result from a specific set of initial conditions and product specifications. Exponent has developed models for sports equipment companies and motor control researchers.
Exponent engineers have designed new devices, and evaluated existing devices to aid persons with disabilities. Devices studied include wheelchair and wheelchair occupant restraints and lift systems, and we have also consulted on "reasonable accommodations."