Artificial body parts contribute to safer testing – new book out!

Thu 08 Jun 2023 08:48

In the beginning of May a new book on 3D printing was released, with Andrey Koptyug and Mikael Bäckström participating as authors. Their chapter focuses on the future possibilities with 3D printing, not least through the use of artificial body parts.

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Artificial body parts contribute to safer testing – new book out!

Research using body part surrogates is becoming a new area of interest, and its applications are most valuable for the production and assessment of safety devices.

– In the potentially dangerous situations, we cannot experiment with humans to test safety equipment. In safety research, it is a “catch 22” situation: we cannot use safety equipment without proving it is safe, but to prove experimentally it is safe we need to use it. Until recently, the only way forward was using computer modeling, but it has its weak points. Experiments are the ultimate validation tool, and we can experiment with body part surrogates having the properties close to that of human tissues, says Andrey.

For several years now researchers at the Sports Tech Research Centre in Östersund, are developing so-called “physical twins”, or  physical models of body parts in testing safety equipment as a complement to the advanced computer-generated models, or “digital twins” .

– By using 3D printed models based on the exact geometry of body parts (for example generated by CT scans) we can create surrogates using materials that recreate different body tissues. We can place multiple sensors inside these ”synthetic body parts”, which is hardly imaginable in human tests. We can control the conditions experimenting in the laboratory. In addition, we can compare acquired results with that generated by computer models. In this way, we can establish that the results from both approaches are consistent, he continues.

The advantage of “physical twins” is that tests do not need to endanger real people, although test conditions can be even more dramatic than that of real accidents. Another strength of using surrogates is that it is possible to ”look inside” the body parts during dangerous conditions that can lead to potential injuries if they happen in real life.

The chapter entitled Body Part Surrogates for Medicine, Comfort and Safety Applications in the book Advances in 3D Printing contributes knowledge about new types of test methods and shows the way to future test possibilities.

The chapter is based on research within the research project Augmented Sports, which is carried out with the support of the European Regional Development Fund and the municipality of Östersund.

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The page was updated 6/8/2023