View Full Version : Report on CMBEC-17 Conference and Workshop - Banff, Canada,May 1991

06-11-1991, 01:00 AM
Banff, Canada, May 1991

The recent CMBEC-17 conference and associated Workshops of the
Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society (CMBES) were
held in Banff, Alberta. Over 200 individuals registered for this
5-day meeting which included a one-day trip for the skiers to the
slopes above Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Some members
preferred hiking on the lower slopes where the snow had already
melted to reveal abundant wildlife which included bald eagles,
mule deer, elk, chipmunks and ground squirrels. Other delegates
relaxed in the ubiquitous Hot Springs with their characteristic
smell of sulphur and the 19th-century swimming-attire that may be
rented. Established in the late 19th-century, Banff National
Park became the third National Park to be established in the
world, shortly after the naming of Yellowstone Park in the USA
and a park in Australia. The abundant wildlife in Banff National
Park is reflected in the number of large elk that roam the lawns
and treed areas around the hotels in the town of Banff. And to
justify this part of the report from a Bioengineering sense, it
was noted that a number of the elk were fitted with telemetric

The conference dinner was in true Western style, featuring roast
beef, baked beans, hot apple pie, cowboy coffee, and a variety of
square-dancing styles which evolved as the attendees attempted
this unfamiliar form of social interaction! An intriguing
illustrated talk was given by anthropologist Dr Walter Kowal, who
talked about recent excavations related to Franklin's ill-fated
attempt to traverse the North West Passage. A feat which is so
ably and graphically-illustrated in Stan Rodger's classic folk
song of the same name - "... looking for the signs of Franklin's
hand leading to the Beaufort Sea ...". Graphic slides of buried
victims, with features well-preserved by the cold of the
permafrost, added to autopsy, radiographic and biochemical data
to provide a convincing case for the theory of lead-poisoning
caused by the canned foods that they ate. Scientific and medical
studies are clearly a major challenge in this arctic environment
and Dr Kowal is actively seeking individuals with skills and
techniques that might be used (in the arctic!) on the cadavers of
Franklin's expedition to determine the location of lead deposited
in their bones. Dr Kowal may be contacted at:

Dr Walter Kowal
Department of Anthropology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada, T6G 2H4

403-435-0254 Home
403-492-7196 FAX


To the conference .... with local organization spearheaded by
Zoly Koles (University of Alberta in Edmonton), it was one of the
most successful in the Society's 27-year history. The conference
theme of "Challenges in Health Care Technology", led to sessions
which covered Biomechanics, Transfer of Technology, Clinical
Engineering, Physiological Signal Processing, Modelling,
Kinematics, and Rehabilitation Engineering. A separate intensive
one-day Workshop on Strain Measurement in Biomechanics involved
an international faculty from academia and industry in Canada,
USA, England, Ireland and Eire and covered strain gauges,
holography, brittle lacquers, extensometers, SPATE
(thermography), vibration pattern imaging, photoelasticity, and
the complexities of measurements on soft tissues. Attended by 40
people, this Workshop was held with support of the Society for
Experimental Mechanics (SEM) and the British Society for Strain
Measurement (BSSM). Its comprehensive papers covered 8 topics
with material ranging from 7 to 36 pages in length and a total
length of 140 pages. Much of this material is ideally suited for
use in teaching and the limited number of spare reprints will
sell out rapidly.


The Strain Measurement workshop was stimulated by a similar
meeting given by the Biomechanics Group of BSSM and held at Queen
Mary and Westfield College (QMW) in London, England in the spring
of 1990. The proceedings of the QMW meeting are due to be
published in book format by Chapman and Hall in September 1991.
Tony Miles (University of Bath) and Liz Tanner (QMW) as editors
of the book, are to be commended on its contents which are seen
as complementary with the limited 100-copy CMBES publication.
For further details of the BSSM publication, contact Dr Elizabeth
Tanner at:- K.E.TANNER@QMW.AC.UK


The CMBES Secretariat in Ottawa has an international reputation
for its organizational skills. The Secretariat staff of Sally
Chapman, Gay Elliott and Ann Statham can take particular pride in
their production of the 200-page Conference Proceedings (ISBN 0-
919529-29-1) with its 2-page papers and the 140-page proceedings
for the Biomechanics Workshop (ISBN 0-919529-30-5). These
publications are readily available from the CMBES Secretariat who
may be contacted for details of cost etc. at the following

MONTREAL ROAD, 613-993-1686
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, 613-954-2216 - FAX
CANADA, K1A 0R8 e-mail: BLACK@iit.NRC.CA


A Student Paper competition forms a large part of these CMBEC
meetings. While one session-chairman proudly noted there was no
distinguishing mark between the 5 student-papers and the two
professor-presented papers in his session, one of the judges was
quick to retort that the student papers were better - they were
on time and clearly presented with a knowledgeable management of
questions. Sponsored by the suppliers and manufacturers of
biomedical equipment in Canada, the student-paper awards are
worth $500, $300 and $200 - i.e. apart from the prestige of such
a recognition of one's work. The international nature of this
competition was particularly noteworthy and the winners were:

1. Declan SLEMON:
"Photoelastic coating analysis of pelvic strain variations
resulting from the introduction of metal backed cementless
Co-authors: Patrick O'Donnell and Ted Little
Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering
University of Limerick

2. Sylvie DOR:
"Coordinate transformation for isoplanatic representation of
shift-variant CT point spread function"
Co-authors: Robert Kearney and J. DeGuise
Biomedical Engineering Department
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

"Modelling x-ray beam profiles in computed tomography (CT)"
Co-authors: Zoly Koles and Tom Overton
Department of Applied Sciences in Medicine
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

3-TIE. David WILSON:
"A method for estimating the instantaneous axis of rotation of
rigid-body motion"
Co-authors: Richard Myre and Robert Kearney
Biomedical Engineering Department
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


At the Awards Luncheon, Bryan Finlay was elected to the grade of
Fellow in CMBES and joins an elite group of Jack Hopps, Dennis
Lywood, John Milsum, Orest Roy and Bob Scott who have received
such honours in the 27-year history of CMBES. Bryan has been
actively involved with the Society since he emigrated to Canada
in 1972 from Scotland where he obtained his PhD from the
University of Strathclyde studying dynamic mechanical properties
of human skin. His subsequent work has included clinical
engineering and orthopaedic biomechanics for which he obtained
the Charnley Award of The Hip Society in 1985. Currently he is a
Full Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of
Western Ontario and is the Gwynneth D. Rorabeck Scientist in
Orthopaedics at University Hospital in London, Ontario, Canada.
He served as Treasurer of CMBES from 1978-1982 and has served on
many of the Society's committees. As a Professional Engineer he
has international qualifications (PEng, CEng, EurIng) and is also
a Certified Clinical Engineer (CCE).


Berj Bardakjian, an Associate Professor in the Institute of
Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, received the
Bionetic Outstanding Bioengineer Award for both his academic
activities and contributions to CMBES. While someone of Berj's
complexity defies "pigeon-holding", I was tempted to classify his
modesty, knowledge and poetic style as "a well-spoken
scientifically-oriented Bob Dylan". A simplification which is
intended to convey his embodiment of all the positive aspects of
such a description. In true Berj-style, he thanked the audience
with poetry while noting that he still has many tasks to complete
and others upon which he has not yet started.


The Biotek Outstanding BMET Award was presented to Tony Wallace
of the Biomedical Engineering Department of Chedoke-McMaster
Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. This award recognized his
contributions to CMBES and to the certification of BMET's.


On the night the conference wrapped up, a very relieved group of
organizers retired for a relaxed and well-earned dinner. Their
The festivities included a bubble-bath, whirl-pool bath, folk
songs from Ireland, traditional songs from England, Girl Guide
songs, and a number of jokes about a Hungarian-Albertan who was
reluctant to give us his version of the song "Alberta Bound".
Most of these activities took part in the whirl-pool bath and
terminated in the wee-hours of the morning after a friendly visit
from the hotel's Security Officer. The youngsters then found a
small drinking-and-dancing establishment where they disposed of
their excess energy within the next 2 hours - allowing 3 hours
sleep before rushing to catch aircraft to various corners of the
northern hemisphere!


The 1992 conference of the Canadian Medical and Biological
Engineering Society will be held in Toronto, Ontario from June 7
to 10, in conjunction with the annual RESNA conference (an
interdisciplinary association for the advancement of
rehabilitation and assistive technologies).

Multiple sessions will cater for:
Biomedical Engineering Technology
Clinical Engineering

Further details of the deadlines for papers, Biomechanics
Workshops, Courses, Poster sessions, Commercial exhibits, and the
Student Paper competition may be obtained from Sally Chapman at
the previously-listed CMBES address.
Best wishes:

Bryan Finlay, PhD
Director Orthopaedic Research

519-663-3904 FAX