Biomechanics and Computer Science

The synergies between biomechanics and computer science are multi-fold

Biomechanics of Movement provides an excellent primer for the computer scientist interested in biomechanics. Combining established theories with quantitative approaches, the book highlights synergies between the two fields.

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Filmmakers use the same motion capture technology as biomechanists to create computer-generated imagery (CGI) for games and movies, as shown in this image from the movie Avatar. These measurement and analysis techniques are described in detail in Chapter 7. Even without data, characters can be animated using optimization, the focus of Chapter 9.

For runners, the shoes they wear and the surface they run on are critical elements which influence both running times and injury risk. Tuned indoor running tracks, like at Harvard and Madison Square Garden, and running shoes, like Nike's prototype with a carbon-fiber plate, have incorporated the biomechanical concept of elastic energy into their designs to improve the running experience. Chapter 3 discusses these examples and more generally, the role of elastic energy and ground reaction forces in running.

Muscle redundancy refers to our body's ability to utilize many different muscle combinations to accomplish a task, such as picking up a cup. To solve the muscle redundancy, or muscle force-sharing, problem, computer simulations of movement rely on numerical optimization techniques. Chapter 9 guides the reader through the elements of a generic optimization problem. It discusses different optimization methods, including steepest-descent and the covariance matrix adaptation evolution strategy (CMA-ES), and also the tradeoffs between static and dynamic optimization.

Biomechanics of Movement

The Science of Sports, Robotics, and Rehabilitation

by Thomas K. Uchida and Scott L. Delp
Illustrations by David Delp

Here you will find resources to deepen your knowledge of biomechanics and connect you with the vibrant communities and technologies that are redefining the field.

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Published by MIT Press