The Surgical Discovery Centre in Cambridge is awaiting delivery of a cutting edge robotic simulator for biomechanics studies. The system, consisting of a KUKA 60-3 robot (https://www.kuka.com) and a dedicated biomechanics software package (SimVitro) developed by the BioRobotics core at Cleveland Clinic in the United States, is due to be installed the week of March 6th, 2017.
Unlike traditional mechanical testing systems, which usually operate in one or perhaps two planes of motion (up and down, to apply tension and compression, or in rotation to apply torque), the new robot is capable of translational and rotational movements around all three axes simultaneously. From a practical perspective, this means that the software drives to the robot to simulate the complexity of movement in both animals and humans. An example of the system's capability to simulate human knee movement can be found on the Cleveland Clinic site (http://mds.clevelandclinic.org/Services/BioRobotics/simVITRO.aspx).
Once installed in the Surgical Discovery Centre, the new simulator will be put to work immediately! The first testing will involve evaluation of the effects of knee replacement on movement patterns in the canine knee. We then plan to use the robot in a new study to develop a better surgical solution for dogs with elbow disease. Watch this space for videos and updates on our progress :)