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Stanford Report, May 31, 2000

New exhibition focuses on design of artificial joints

The interrelationship between the design of an artificial knee and patterns of human locomotion is the focus of "Joint Venture," a new exhibition at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts.

On view in the Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery through Sept. 3, the show traces the development of artificial joints that have increased mobility and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of patients during the past several decades.

The early photographic studies of Eadweard Muybridge captured the grace of limb movement patterns, and classic studies of anatomy artistically illustrated the design of human joints. Borelli's 17th-century De Motu Animalium, for example, identified the mechanical elegance of the joint by using mechanical models such as levers and pulleys to describe the musculoskeletal system.

The concepts Borelli developed provided information about the forces generated by muscles and the effects on the bearing surface of joints ­ the kind of information that is critical to designing a well-functioning joint replacement.

The exhibit shows the form and function associated with both the natural knee and also the design of a replacement joint. SR