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National Biomechanics Day, or NBD, was founded in 2016 by Dr. Paul DeVita, then president of the American Society of Biomechanics [1]. Its goal is to advance Biomechanics science and education by increasing the awareness and appreciation of Biomechanics within the worldwide high school community [2]. The event started as a US-based event, but very quickly expanded to an international event, having expanded to 30 countries worldwide and reaching over 30,000 high school students as of 2021 [3].

We can use a 3-point bending material testing system to determine stress-strain for a chicken bone

Our department has been involved with NBD since its inception, and the Orthopaedic Mechanobiology Lab has been one of NBD’s biggest cheerleaders. The first couple years we kept it small, welcoming about 40 students for lab tours. These tours highlighted different facets of biomechanics as they relate to biomedical engineering and showed off a few different tools that we use in our research.
 
 


In 2018, we decided to overhaul the format of our event to reach more students. Rather than lab tours, which greatly limited the number of students that we could reach, we hosted an expo-style event. There were over 20 ‘booths’, each featuring some sort of biomechanics-themed activity or demonstration. This allowed us to host nearly 200 students and introduce them to biomechanics! Even better, we found that the event left them with a more positive impression and better understanding of biomechanics [4].

A big crowd in 2018

We had students jump on a force plate to learn more about hang time and jump force.


We liked this format so much that we decided to do it again in 2019.

Students explore the use of internal versus external fixators for fracture healing.
Learning about moment arms and why they’re important.

The 2020 event was disrupted by the pandemic, but in 2021 we pivoted to creating online content. We put together a YouTube channel – Triangle Biomechanics – featuring short videos to introduce students to biomechanics, meet biomechanists, and learn about some different things that we do in biomechanics.


In 2022, we once again re-thought the event to see if we could do something more meaningful for a smaller group of students. We invited 35 students to campus and guided them through an engineering challenge: 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.

The students’ final products.
Using the homemade ‘3D Printer’ to print new tissue for Bill.

Stay tuned to see what we do next year!


You can see more photos from all of these events in our Lab News archives: https://oml.web.unc.edu/tag/national-biomechanics-day/ 


Interested in joining us for a future NBD event?

Email Stephanie (sdteeter[at]ncsu.edu) to get information about our latest event.


Sources:

  1. DeVita P (2018). Why National Biomechanics Day? Journal of Biomechanics 71, 1-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.03.030
  2. DeVita P (2022). The Biomechanics Initiative & National Biomechanics Day Celebrate the Breakthrough Science of the 21st Century:  https://thebiomechanicsinitiative.org/mesmerize/pauls-greeting/ 
  3. DeVita P (2022). National Biomechanics Day goes INTERnational! http://thebiomechanicsinitiative.org/#about-nbd 
  4. Teeter SD, Husseini NS, Cole JH (2020). Assessing changes in attitudes toward engineering and biomechanics resulting from a high school outreach event. Journal of Biomechanics 103:109683. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109683.