Joint Venture

May 20 - September 3, 2000
Contact: Jill Osaka, Public Relations Manager, 650-725-4657.

STANFORD, CA MAY 2000—The modern practice of joint replacement has increased mobility as well as the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of patients over the past several decades. Once surgically implanted, artificial joints are unseen. However, their influence on improved patterns of movement are apparent. Applying knowledge obtained from the study of human locomotion to design has enhanced the effectiveness of such replacement. Opening on May 20 in the Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery, Joint Venture examines the interrelationship between the design of an artificial knee and patterns of human locomotion.

Joint replacement requires an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and engineering. Restoration of function and elimination of pain due to joint disease are the primary goals of this surgery. Thus, understanding the biomechanics of human locomotion is a necessary step in the design of a well functioning joint replacement.

A smooth and coordinated pattern of limb movement has long been associated with well functioning joints. The photographic studies of Eadweard Muybridge capture the grace of limb movement patterns during locomotion. Classic studies of anatomy, beginning with Vesalius's De Humanis Corporis Fabrica in 1543, artistically illustrate the design of human joints. Borelli's De Motu Animalium (1680) identified the mechanical elegance of the joint by describing the musculoskeletal system, using fundamental mechanical models such as levers and pulleys. The concepts developed by Borelli provided the basis for realistic prediction of the forces generated by muscles and the effects on the bearing surface of joints—information crucial to the design process.