Can 3D Technology Spawn Better Athletes?

By Alyssa

Sports performance

Over the last few decades, technological advancements in sport have been moving the benchmark of human limitations. Some ways are easy to understand: fiberglass poles became more flexible allowing vaulters to reach new heights; replacing wooden tennis rackets with ones made of fiberglass and graphite improved accuracy; swimming bodysuits were developed to reduce drag.

But while these advances may have been game changing at the time, a new era of technology has arrived that seeks to lift the lid off the secrets to our biomechanics and help push both professional and amateur athletes to greater heights.

In every sport, and at every level, companies are now supplying equipment, clothing and gadgets in a bid to revolutionize the way professionals and amateurs train, compete and recuperate.

Personalized Footwear

Sports performance

As an example, in recent years, a growing consumer appetite for customization has seen sports brands embrace technology in order to create the perfect footwear for individuals. While it is already possible to go online or into a shop to choose the color and design of shoes, 3D modeling and printing technology is now being used to mold and shape footwear for customers to create the definitive personalized design.

Next Up: 3D Modeling for the Masses

3D modeling sole

Although professional athletes have greater support and access to use and trial these kinds of technologies, Susan Olivier, vice president of consumer goods and retail at Dassault Systèmes, believes 3D modeling techniques will soon be readily available to the public.

“The cost and size of 3D scanning is going down dramatically. I can imagine in three to five years that before shopping we will visit a booth that scans our feet and other body parts. Then we can take the scan to our favorite sports outlet who will be able to design equipment, clothing and footwear to our specifications,” says Olivier.

Want to learn more? We invite you to watch the video below co-produced by Dassault Systèmes and the BBC Commercial Advertising Production team that shares some specific stories of  how technology is helping both professional and everyday athletes race towards perfection.

YouTube Preview Image

You can also read more about in an article published on the BBC’s website.  This article includes examples such as how Olympians like Usain Bolt are benefitting from 3D technology mapping human motion to help athletes gain split second advantage and at the same time protect themselves from injury.

NOTE: The article and video were first published as an Advertisement Feature on BBC’s website and were created by the BBC Advertising Commercial Production team in partnership with Dassault Systèmes.

Making a Dream Come True for A Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

By Suzanne

Adrianne Haslet-Davis Dances at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Creating an unforgettable moment crystallizing how technology can change a person’s life, Adrianne Haslet-Davis last week fulfilled her dream of dancing again less than a year after losing part of her leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Haslet-Davis’ moment  took place at TED 2014 and was made possible through hard work and the support of Hugh Herr, MIT’s BioMechatronics Lab Director, who outfitted her with a revolutionary prosthetic limb that allowed her re-learn basic dance moves that once came naturally to her.

Photo of Adrianne Haslet-Davis and Hugh Herr at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Herr, shown above with Haslet-Davis at TED, is known for his revolutionary work in the emerging field of biomechatronics – creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. Herr was a guest earlier this year at Dassault Systemes’ SOLIDWORKS World event where he told attendees how he designed his own legs after suffering an accident as a child.  Using SOLIDWORKS,  he created the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The BiOM Being Designed in SOLIDWORKS

BiOM prosthetic legs mimic the movement of natural limbs by adapting to a person’s walking speed and the terrain of the land to help the prosthetic propel the person naturally. By simply using a battery source and springs for energy, the prosthetic legs augment a person’s ability to run and walk.  They normalize a person’s pace while enhancing stability and controlling for fatigue.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The SolidWorks World Audience is Surprised
to Learn that Herr Wears Prosthetics

Herr and his group worked with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium to create the BiOM prosthetic legs. He uses it in his group at MIT as well – as he feels that the minimal learning curve allows for quick, easy use by new incoming students.

The human body is often referred to as “the world’s most advanced machine,” and by improving medical device design and patient experience with our 3D design and simulation technologies, the potential to understand how that machine works is finally here.  As seen at TED, these advancements are enabling people to achieve what they once only dreamed.

Below is a video of Herr speaking to the audience about his work and about how technology has positively changed his life:

YouTube Preview Image

Tiger Woods and my dad have something in common

By Tim

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.

Enjoy,

Tim

p.s.

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.



3ds.com

Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.