Unconventional Computer Simulations

I am always amazed when I learn about an unconventional application of computer simulation. A small news article appeared in the Times Of India — May 24, 2013 edition — that deserves a special mention here. It was about 13-year old Aarushi, an eighth grader from Delhi (India), who came up with a concept that can save millions of underprivileged children suffering from diarrhea.

The idea came as a solution to an awful report that she happened to read. It stated that every year millions of children under the age of five succumb to diarrhea. Young Aarushi first wanted  to invent a medicine to eradicate the condition, but after consulting her school teachers and the family pediatrician, the medicine idea seemed too big. This compelled her to perceive the solution from an entirely different angle. Continue reading

This Week’s Top 5 Engineering Technology News Articles

This week’s top 5 interesting engineering technology news articles looks at the 64th Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards, the trouble with lithium-ion batteries and 8 ways electric engineering is changing medicine, to name a few!

Enjoy!

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How Quickly Can I Ski Again, Doc?

image skiAs the ski season gets into full swing, friends who recently suffered a sprain or had a total hip arthroplasty (THA) (implanted hip prosthesis) are wondering whether they will be able to hit the slopes this year. Did you know that 400,000 American had a THA this past year? How long after a THA must they wait before skiing? And beyond that sport, before they are jogging or biking again? Most doctors offer a conservative approach, allowing for full recovery before pursuing such rigorous sports. Their judgments are based on the average recovery of a large group of patients, throwing in a reasonable safety margin to try to avoid joint deterioration.

If you’ve had to endure the seemingly never-ending recovery period of THA, you’ve no doubt felt the frustration of feeling perfectly fit to go skiing, probably just before the season ended. Too soon, according to doctors’ recommendations. But let’s imagine imagine a more hopeful scenario: that your doctor could evaluate (for you as an individual patient, not an average) whether the risk of injury practicing your favorite sport is indeed real. Will the exercise induce too large a movement between bones and implant, thus preventing proper healing? Would the stress in your weakened ankle be too great, leading to a new injury? Could you at least start some light training again? If only we could estimate the exact stress induced by various movements in the different parts of the body, we would know for sure if we can get back in the game or need to rest further. Continue reading

Top 5 Engineering Technology News Articles This Week

Happy Friday, folks! This week’s roundup of interesting engineering technology news includes Disney’s new “Test Track” that incorporates CAD software into the rider experience, EV batteries making an appearance in the residential energy sector and a bright future for simulation in R&D.

Enjoy!

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Simulation Technology at the Molecular Level

In recent years, I’ve come across a number of cases in which engineering simulation has been used in medical treatment for real people, all in various ways. It is no longer confined to research laboratories for demonstration purposes. Roughly speaking, these scenarios correlate the functionality of a living organ to a corresponding machine, such as a heart to a pump, bones to beams, and so on. Thanks to advancements in simulation technology, millions of people today have been cured in a way that is much better than once thought possible.

Now I am perplexed by this thought: How far could this analogy go? I got one answer while reading a featured story about employing simulation for cancer research on the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) site, written by Dr. Suse Broyde, a biology professor at NYU. Continue reading

This Week’s Top 5 Engineering Technology News Articles

Happy Friday, folks! Every now and again, we just have to toot our own horn. Pat ourselves on the back. Give ourselves two thumbs up. You get the picture. This week was kind of a big deal here at ANSYS — we released the newest version of our software,14.5.   We also had some great coverage that talks about simulation’s role in the F1 racing industry. And don’t miss how supercomputers and simulation are helping researchers come up with a better helmet design for the military and athletes!

Enjoy!

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Simulation Aids in Chiari Malformation Treatment

In a previous post, I discussed how CFD can help to save newborn lives. Today, I will focus on another advancement in medicine that is generally based on the same approach: patient-specific CFD studies to treat disease. The Chiari malformation is a malformation of the brain that can cause headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness in the head and face, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, nausea, impaired coordination, and, in severe cases, paralysis (source: “Chiari malformation: Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. November 13, 2008).

What physicians discovered is that this malformation alters the dynamic movement of fluid in the brain. This alteration is the cause for all of the malformation’s side effects. It can be corrected by a surgery that has a 70 percent success rate. This is good, but not good enough. Continue reading

Technology AND Process Spin Offs from Space

The space industry has long been at the forefront of fielding pioneering technology and solving some of the toughest engineering challenges. It is not unusual to see technology spin offs appearing in everyday life, for example novel light-weight and insulating materials, miniaturized electronics and sensors that get embedded in systems we take for granted such as cars and aircraft. Often overlooked is the impact of high-end space engineering on human life. According to NASA, space shuttle technology directly contributed to a miniaturized artificial heart, a balance evaluation system to help treat stroke victims, bioreactors for the development of therapeutic drugs, diagnostic equipment for blood analysis, lighting technology to treat brain tumors and prosthesis material for artificial limbs. What I find most interesting is that not only has the space technology spun out into this diverse set of biomedical applications, but that each of them makes extensive use of physics-based simulation — see for example the case studies at the ANSYS Healthcare site. It seems that not only the technology but the design tools and processes have also spun out. This theme was recently explored in an article in New Space Magazine.