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Re: The future of biomechanics

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  • Re: The future of biomechanics

    Dear subscribers,

    I agree with At Hof about the importance and usefulness of some simple
    models, especially when you know how to exploit them for finding general
    rules, principles... In the ISB Congress in Calgary I discovered that
    Alexander was a genius in doing that (he presented a keynote there).
    Personally, I have learned a lot about the technique of a gymnastic
    exercise, the double leg circles at the pommel horse, playing with a
    relatively simple model as well.

    I believe that this kind of simple math simulation has got little to do
    with the problem of myoskeletal inverse dynamics (that's why I changed the
    subject heading), but this is how we can study "motor strategies", or grasp
    the "qualitative mechanics" of human motion. These math models are virtually
    omnipotent. What's more important, they always relentlessly and exactly
    perform what you want. Contrary to models used for inverse dynamics, they
    are not used to mimic real motions, but to find out what happens when you
    change them. That's why the information gathered by playing with them is
    extremely useful for teaching sports techniques. It guides you when you give
    advices to athletes, and allows you to shorten and make easier their

    Obviously, more complex models are needed if your purpose is inverse
    dynamics. These models are more useful for clinical purposes, for
    understanding loads on anatomical structures, assessing functional status,
    preventing injuries... This kind of approach can be classified within the
    domain of "quantitative" mechanics. The above described application of math
    models is a completely different one, where approximation is not a problem
    and adverbs like "slightly", "fairly", "markedly" are often all what we need

    Sometimes we are so busy in refining numerical methods and protocols
    that we even neglect to apply and fully exploit them to provide
    comprehensive answers. Similarly, we often underestimate the complexity and
    importance of qualitative mechanics. That's why I believe it was not a bad
    idea to spend some more words for promoting this fascinating research vein:
    I am convinced it's still a rich one.

    With my kindest regards,

    Paolo de LEVA

    University Institute of Motor Sciences
    Sport Biomechanics
    P. Lauro De Bosis, 6
    00194 ROME - ITALY

    Telephone: (39) 06.367.33.522
    FAX: (39) 06.367.33.517
    FAX: (39)


    Tel./FAX/AM: (39) 06.336.10.218

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