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View Full Version : Re: CG industry software applied to Biomechanics



Jonathan Merritt
11-09-2004, 02:48 PM
Hi Miguel and List,

>I am a 4th year Biomedical Engineering student in Portugal with an interest
>in computer animation. I was interested in knowing if computer
>modeling/animation software such as 3D Studio Max, Maya or Lightwave is ever
>used in the research area of Biomechanics or medicine.
>
>

I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, the University
of Melbourne. I am using an Open Source "Maya-like" program called
Blender for some of my work:
http://www.blender.org/

My PhD is un-funded (except for a cost-of-living scholarship), and I am
not aware of other students or researchers at my university working on
similar topics. Consequently, my software options are *extremely*
limited, and I have had to take the initiative and create my own
solutions in most cases. I have used Blender as a kind of "3D glue" for
several of my projects. The two major examples are:

1. I have implemented a photogrammetric technique for
image-based-modeling of bones. The method is similar to that used in
optical kinematics systems: two cameras are first calibrated against a
known geometry. Rays are then traced out from these cameras to
corresponding unknown points in the two images, their best approximate
point of intersection is found, and the point is then digitized
(recorded) in 3D. I am presenting the details of this implementation
(including validation and error analysis) at the 5th Australasian
Biomechanics Conference in December. In line with that conference, I am
releasing my code as Open Source (so you will be able not only to use it
but also modify it to suit your own ends! :-).

2. I have partially implemented a muscle-path modeling system in Blender
to enable calculation of instantaneous muscle moment arms. This still
has quite some way to go, but looks like being completely successful.

In both projects, Blender has provided an enormous advantage over using
software written from scratch because much of the code required for 3D
viewing and manipulation is already present. It also includes a very
powerful scripting interface built around the Python language
(www.python.org), which enables extremely rapid construction of
visualization and GUI interfaces for all kinds of work. It is possible
to work with both the high-level constructs of Blender itself (meshes,
etc.), or to work directly with low-level OpenGL commands for greater
versatility.

I will shortly be posting a link to BIOMCH-L for the code to my
image-based-modeling method. A pre-release (for the Blender community)
of *just* the camera calibration component is online here:
http://www.warpax.com/pytsai/index.html
(NB: The write-up on that page is for a lay-audience who are
specifically familiar with Blender. :-)

Jonathan Merritt, BE(Mech)/BSc.
PhD Student - Biomechanics of the Equine Forelimb,
The University of Melbourne Equine Centre,
240 Princes Highway,
Werribee, Vic. 3030.

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