by Glasgow Caledonian University
The most advanced computer model of the human foot ever created was unveiled in Europe – and named after Glasgow and the Dutch city of Maastricht.
Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) worked in partnership with colleagues at Maastricht University and Danish biomechanical firm AnyBody Technology to develop the pioneering human foot simulation.
The Glasgow/Maastricht Foot Model uses computer technology to model the many bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons which make up the human foot.
It will lead to the manufacture of better made and more efficient orthotic devices which should cut recovery times and reduce symptoms for the roughly 200 million Europeans who suffer from disabling foot and ankle conditions.
The computer model – developed from data collected at GCU and Maastricht University – can be used to test a huge range of potential cures and treatments for common conditions, such as flat feet or foot drop – which prevents recovering stroke patients from moving their ankles and toes upwards.
The work is part of the a-footprint project, a euro 3.7 million funded scheme to develop a new fully integrated design and manufacture process for orthotic devices, utilising new 3D printing techniques. The a-footprint project is funded by the European Commission Framework 7 Programme, under the Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies theme, Grant Agreement Number: NMP2-SE-2009-228893. A GCU team is leading a consortium of 12 industrial, university and business partners in the project.
Information about the model was disseminated for the first time on September 20, when GCU partner AnyBody Technology ran a promotional webcast on the new technology.
Professor Jim Woodburn, project co-ordinator, said:
“Previous to this development, most computer models of the human body ended in a black rectangle – the foot was simply too complicated to model. The Glasgow/Maastricht foot is a game changer. It opens the door to a huge range of applications, including the manufacture of better and more efficient orthotics, resulting in quicker recovery times, reduced symptoms and improved functional ability for those suffering from conditions which afflict the foot and lower leg.
“The fact the model has been named, at least in part, after Glasgow is testament to the hard work put in by the team working at GCU.”
Arne Kiis, Sales Manager, AnyBody Technology, said:
“The new foot model has an unprecedented level of anatomical detail. With the sophisticated analytical capabilities of the AnyBody Modeling System, orthopaedic device manufacturers, gait lab researchers, and others now have a unique opportunity to create a new generation of outstanding products and services based on a thorough understanding of dynamic foot biomechanics.”
Michiel Oosterwaal, clinical researcher at Maastricht University Medical Center, said:
“The Glasgow/Maastricht Foot Model will lead to a much better prediction of the contribution of each single muscle in the lower leg. The collaboration between the teams of GCU and Anybody Technology in this project in general, and development of this model in particular, have been of great use in the foot and ankle research conducted at the Maastricht University Medical Center.”
Glasgow Caledonian University is an international university delivering excellence, with a strong commitment to the common good. With 17,000 students at its main Glasgow campus and outreach campuses in London, China, Bangladesh and Oman, the university offers a modern environment for learning, teaching and applied research.
The university has particular applied research strengths in the fields of health and the environment and is rated among the top 10 in the UK for its allied health research and in the top 20 in research in the built and natural environment.
Glasgow Caledonian University’s mission is to provide a high quality, accessible, inclusive and flexible learning and teaching environment enhanced by curiosity driven research. It applies its knowledge and skills for the social and economic benefit of the communities it serves in Scotland and around the world.
Our sincere appreciation to Peter John Meiklem and Glasgow Caledonian University for permission to publish this article and learn about technical advances at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Peter John Meiklem
Glasgow Caledonian University
Research and Community Communications Officer
0141 331 8671