How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

By Tim
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Courtesy Sunshine Heart

Courtesy Sunshine Heart

While I know that I should eat well, exercise regularly, not smoke, and have regular checkups – I don’t always do these healthy things, which puts me at greater risk for developing a heart condition. 

Apparently, I am not alone. I just read some staggering statistics on Heart Failure (HF) at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Five million people in the United States suffer from HF and 500,000 more are expected to join their ranks each year.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the 2006 costs associated with HF in the U.S. was 29.6 billion dollars.

Thankfully, there are many bioengineering researchers in the world who are using realistic simulation technology to study the heart and associated medical devices in amazing levels of detail.

Click to view animation of Stent analysis using Abaqus FEA

Click to view animation of Stent analysis using Abaqus FEA

Performing realistic 3D simulation of the human heart and medical devices requires being able to model human tissue, blood flow, nonlinear structures, and complex contact between the devices and the heart. SIMULIA has developed robust finite element analysis (FEA) and multiphysics technology within the Abaqus Unified FEA product suite.  This technology is being used by bioengineering researchers to simulate realistic physical behavior of the medical devices interacting with the heart, arteries, and blood vessels.

One of those researchers is Dr. William Peters, a cardiothoracic surgeon and and founder of Sunshine Heart in New Zealand. His patented C-Pulse has recently been accepted for human trials in the U.S. The device consists of a cuff that wraps around the aorta that inflates and deflates a membrane against the vessel’s external walls. This process makes the aorta pulsate in time with the heart, augmenting blood flow through the circulatory system and reducing the strain on the entire heart. Check out the complete case study here.

Milton DeHerrera Ph.D of Edwards Lifesciences  is another innovative bioengineer. At the 2009 SIMULIA Customer Conference, he presented a paper on the “Numerical Study of Metal Fatigue in a Superelastic Anchoring Stent Embedded in a Hyperelastic Tube”, coauthored by Wei Sun, Ph.D from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Their research is intended to  improve the virtual representation of human tissue and medical device interaction.

Adding to the complexity of developing medical devices is that ‘one-size does not always fit-all’. Dr.   Ken Perry has a cool medical device simulation blog site detailing his use of FEA and associated validation processes. Check out a couple of his recent posts – Identifying Worst Case Device Sizes and FEA and the FDA .

These dedicated researchers are helping to develop amazingly innovative and effective treatments that are truly capable of ‘mending broken hearts’. Now that I am aware of the alarming heart failure statistics, I plan to take a little more initiative in trying to keep my heart healthy.

Pass the fruit, veggies, and oats…will you join me?

Take care

PS: This is part 2 of my ongoing series on how realistic simulation is being used to improve medical devices and enhance the quality of our lives, stay tuned.

Tiger Woods and my dad have something in common

By Tim
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No, it’s not below-par rounds of golf. My dad’s sport was basketball. But both golf and b-ball contributed to their common link – bad knees.  Tiger’s knee injury ended his 2008 season prematurely. Tiger had arthroscopic surgery and physical therapy and is winning at his sport once again.

My dad also had arthroscopic surgery. It helped him for a while. But in his late 50’s he underwent complete knee replacement surgery on his right knee. A few years later, he had his left knee replaced. Then about 10 years after that, he underwent a second replacement on his right knee. Though he never got back on the basketball court, the implants definitely helped him maintain his quality of life by keeping him mobile and eliminating his knee pain.

Both Tiger and my dad have been helped thanks to ongoing research of knee mechanics and orthopedic implants. Researchers at Scripps Clinic have recently published a study on patients with knee replacements.

 At the time of surgery, they implanted tiny computer chips in the patient’s knees. These chips sent data to receivers that recorded the stresses on the knee joint during various activities. They then used the data, in combination with Abaqus FEA software from SIMULIA, to make increasingly complex 3D computer models of human knees. With these realistic models they can now perform accurate virtual tests on a variety of potential knee replacement parts and surgical techniques. Check out the case study on Scripp’s research published at Design World Magazine’s website.

Other researchers, such as the team at the University of Aberdeen  in the UK, have also published a study on using realistic simulation to understand the effect of ACL reconstructive surgery. Check out their paper published at the 2009 SIMULIA Customer Conference.

Engineers at Zimmer  and the University of Wisconsin-Madison collaborated on research published at the 2008 Abaqus Users’ Conference on material modeling of a virtual biomechanical knee.

Knee biomechanics and orthopedic implants is just one area of bioengineering research that is being performed with Abaqus. In the coming weeks, I will report on many other engineering groups who are creating virtual 3D models and realistic simulations of the human body to develop innovative products and medical treatments that are significantly enhancing the quality and longevity of our lives.




Have you had knee surgery, a knee replacement, or other type of implant? Feel free to leave a comment about your experience or your view of using realistic simulation for bioengineering research.

CATIA Design Visualization Contest | WINNERS !

By Xavier
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CATIA Design visualization Contest | 2009RCcar

We would like to thank all participants for the amazing visuals we received. After reviewing all the candidates’ entries and the quality of the visuals, we have decided to relaunch the experience next year and to create a best-of video.

CATIA Design Viz Contest entries | 2009

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In the actual competitive consumer market everyone needs to have appealing products and to make faster decisions. More than ever Creative Designers must have a realistic visualization of their design, make rapid decisions on their product and communicate and sell their Ideas quicky. Design Visualization on virtual prototypes has become an essential and Strategic tool for designers to reduce the validation cycle time and allow better decision making with accurate virtual visualization.

CATIA offers both, Advance Realtime Visualization for styling and Design Study, and also Advanced Photorealistic Rendering with CATIA PhotoStudio based on Mental ray.

With the talent of Designers and Digital Artists combined with CATIA Technology you can live and communicate Virtual product experiences.

CATIA Design Viz Demo Reel | 2009

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Congratulation to the winners for the quality of the rendering !

2009 | Winner

Jason Busschaert | Project Industrial Designer | DEWALT, PORTER-CABLE , DELTA


2009 | Award for 2nd Place

Dominik Wolm

Dominik Wolm





2009 | Award for 3rd Place

Luca Bordin

Luca Bordin




Focus on the winner,

Jason Busschaert Project Industrial Designer  | DEWALT, PORTER-CABLE

We had the chance to talk to Jason, the winner of the CATIA Design Visualization Contest | 2009  to know more about him and his use of CATIA and the importance of Visualization.

Hi Jason,

Can you tell us who you are and the reason you use CATIA?

My name is Jason Busschaert; I am a senior project industrial designer, working for BLACK&DECKER. I am currently working for the DEWALT brand; I have category responsibility for Corded and Cordless DEWALT saws. Our core product development team for DEWALT is located @ Black & Decker’s World Wide Headquarters here in Towson, Maryland. In addition, we have various satellite design centers across the globe. Black & Decker’s various project development teams use Catia as our primary CAD platform. CATIA’s advance surfacing capabilities allow our Industrial Design teams achieves best-in-class ergonomics, and working in the same CAD solution with engineering, create marketing leading power tools.

We would like to discover what is the story of the product  you created with CATIA?

Launched in 2008, the DEWALT DW717 10-inch Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw features best-in-class cross cut capacity and an exclusive bevel detent system for incredibly accurate cuts and amazing versatility. Designed and developed exclusively in Catia, this was one of my first projects as part of the DEWALT industrial design team. Working under Stuart Wright the lead designer on the project, I was involved in the final phases. These included working with Marketing and Sales to utilize the final CAD data to generate renderings for sales meetings, internal and external communication of the final design and features of the saw.  All this was done in CATIA’s Photostudio rendering workbench.

From your point of view, what are the main benefits you are getting from CATIA visualization tools usage?

There are several key benefits of photorealistic images in the design progress. High impact visuals allow design teams to make design development decisions prior to generating expensive prototypes. This also allows design teams communicate with marketing and sales and can benefit sales and marketing at the end of a project.

Which CATIA product do you use to create your visuals, and why did you decided to use it ?

CATIA Photostudio workbench allows our Industrial Design Group creates stunning visuals within our core development CAD platform. Having rendering capability within the design platform avoids complex exportation of data and allows us to generate new images after complex design changes.

What is the approximate amount of CATIA rendering images you are creating every year?

As a design team, we produce 100’s of CATIA Photostudio renderings per year to support internal design communication between our iD team, engineering, marketing and sales.

Thanks you very much jason and congratulation.



Focus on

Luca Bordin from Venezia






Can you tell us who you are and the reason you use CATIA?

I’m 28 years old and I work for Safilo company in Padua (Italy) as render maker of glasses; I started to use CATIA since a couple of years, as this software is used in the production deptm.
Thanks to the release 19 the form PHS has improved a lot and allowed me to realize that render I sent you.




We would like to discover what is the story of the product  you created with CATIA?

The idea of “Long Siege” born from the need to rebuild the workstation I have at home, so I wanted to highlight the captivating hardware with a bit of design and creativity; the fusion of a skeleton boat and the ergonomic position are the bases of this project that I am realizing at home during my leisure time (I am sending you herewith attached the pictures of the working progress: as you can see it is not in plexiglass because I don’t have the correct equipment to make it).





From your point of view, what are the main benefits you are getting from CATIA visualization tools usage?

The benefit of using 3D software and rendering is to see what you have inside your head projected into the monitor of your PC and allows you to make the other people better understand your idea.
To create this virtual project I have used forms of CATIA GSD for Surfacing, the MD2 GSO for Global Deformation and the render modules CATIA PhotoStudio.



What is the approximate amount of CATIA rendering images you are creating every year?




Thanks to the variety of glasses and colors available I can make around 2500/3000 images every year. I hope to improve myself and I’d like to get to the extreme realism, to say: is this a render or a real image?…..


thank you Luca.

N.B. Discover CATIA Industrial Design Software solutions

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