Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Fig. 1.2 Early image of the mechanical interaction between an elastic foam support and a (rigid)
multi-body system, generated by the authors
effectiveness of therapeutic appliances. The research was conducted in the context
of various projects promoted by the University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt/
Main, the State of Hesse, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (B MBF )
as well as various industrial companies.
The approach has made it possible to objectively describe arbitrary mechanical
interaction between technical body support devices and the human body or single
body parts. Employing real human anatomical information, as well as mechanical in
vivo properties of human tissue (skin, fat, muscle, bone), it is thus possible to gain
knowledge of effects on tissue, preceding the manufacturing process of a support.
Using this process, body supports ranging from bedding to seating systems as well as
health care shoes, prosthetics, orthotics or stents can be evaluated. Comfort related
products such as automotive or airplane seats, sports shoes, protectors, helmets,
bicycle or motorcycle saddles can also be evaluated with this process.
In 2008, we were nominated for the G ERMAN F UTURE A WARD for our achieve-
ments in this research area. Beginning in 2010, again based on our efforts, we were
funded for a three year time period by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research
and Arts (H MWK ) within the framework of the federal state government ''Landes-
Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz'' (L OEWE )
program, funded by the state of Hesse (Germany), for a 3 year time period (see
Morbidity associated with demographic change as well as an increasingly
unhealthy lifestyle, resulting in diabetes, circulatory disease and adiposity are on
the increase. Accordingly, the need for support devices which do not cause tissue
damage is also steadily increasing. Body support devices and comfort related
products such as seating furniture, beds or (sports) shoes may, counter to intention,
worsen a medical condition or cause secondary complications by introducing
critical stress and/or strain inside tissue. Common examples are: bedridden or
wheel chair patients suffering from pressure sores due to inefficient cushioning;
flight passengers with an increased risk of thrombus formation on long distance
flights due to inappropriate seats; a diabetic foot syndrome treated with inadequate
shoes leading to amputation of the foot or the leg; stent rupture or migration
leading to vessel wall lesion; sports injuries due to inadequate sports shoes. Aside
from patient trauma and increased mortality caused by inappropriate support
devices, the cost is immense. Annual expenditure is estimated at several billion
preventive aids could halve this cost.
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