Last Friday we celebrated National Biomechanics Day at NC State. We missed the official National Biomechanics Day (April 6) due to travel and other obligations, so we opted to hold our event a few weeks later. But we’re pretty sure the students didn’t mind.
This year we decided to re-envision the event from what we’ve done in the past. In previous years, we’ve had an expo-style event with labs leading short demos or activities related to their research. These events had 100-200 attendees. But this year we wanted to foster more meaningful connections with attendees, so we pared it down to 35 students and guided them through an engineering challenge. We chose the one from Teach Engineering made by Biomedical Engineers at UVA (find it here). It’s the year 2050 and Bill was hit by a car. A section of his bone, muscle, and skin were damaged beyond repair and need to be totally replaced by 3D bioprinting. The students have been hired as biomedical engineers to help print bone, muscle, and skin grafts for Bill.
We divided the students into groups of four, where they first brainstormed the problem, reading over information on their tissue type and thinking about how they could print it. They then broke into groups, assembled their bioprinters, and then got to making solutions.
The amazing Plaster of Paris wranglers. By the end of the day, none of their clothing had been spared from the wrath of Plaster of Paris powder!
At the end of the day, the groups all shared out their designs. We also had a teacher help us award a “superlative” to each group. The winners included:
- Perseverance in the face of glue that wouldn’t stick
- Most laughing
- Runniest plaster masterpiece
- Most creative
- Muscle masterpiece
- Fantastic femur
Sandra and Stephanie recently completed a year-long training offered through UNC’s Morehead Planetarium. The Inspiring Meaningful Programs and Communication Through Science (IMPACTS) Program is a state-wide public science communication training and outreach initiative. IMPACTS is designed to train scientists in public communication using a nationally acclaimed curriculum along with enabling them to practice and hone their science communication skills. Applicants are selected from scientists across the state.
There was a virtual graduation ceremony, and both received a signature tie-dyed lab coat.
We recently were lucky to be visited by an amazing group of high schoolers with Joann Blumenfeld’s Catalyst program, which aims to provide opportunities for students with disabilities interested in STEM. We were blown away by the excitement and some of the great questions from this amazing group.
Our lab and department has won not one but TWO awards for our National Biomechanics Day efforts!
First of all, Stephanie and Maggie won the Biomechanics Art competition. Check out their awesome graphic:
Also, we won one of the 2018 Greatest Impact awards for our event in April. Congratulations to Nicholas, who put the entry together, and everyone who helped us to have a successful event. Check out the Facebook post to see the award announcement.
Yesterday was our favorite day of the year, once again! No, not Christmas (though we do love presents)… it was National Biomechanics Day! We had nearly 250 students and teachers come visit us at NC State. Due to having so many visitors, we split the event between Engineering Building 3 (our home) and the nearby Hunt Library. The visiting students had a great time, and we like to think they learned something. The scientists also had a great time getting students more excited about biomechanics.
We can’t wait until 2019! In the meantime, check out some photos of our lab in action.
Students check out a 3-pt bending system to learn about material deformation and failure
Nicholas shows students how we can use Laser Doppler Flowmetry to measure blood flow
Jon talks about muscle moment arm and why a longer moment arm makes lifting a weight easier
Emily has students jump on a force plate to measure jump force versus hang time
Alex teaches students about different ways we can immobilize fractures for better healing
Our lab again brought the exciting world of bone healing and biomechanics to some local high school students with the Engineering Bits and Bytes. Check us out in action!