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Comment Why this is important for the US market. (Score 2, Interesting) 168

I engineer orthopaedic implants, and one of the things that is very interesting when considering design and excecution of implants is the culture of the physicians who will be using them.

Physicians who train in different countries (or time periods for that matter) have various preferences on what approaches they use and how they utilize certain devices. What is interesting about this case is that European surgeons are more likely to take hardware OUT of the patient after the fracture is resolved.

This is in contrast to US surgeons who tend to leave everything IN, supposedly to minimise the risk of second surgical exposure. Which technique is correct is up for debate, due to issues like infection rates and stress shielding, but this technology allows the best of both worlds.

This would not replace casting, for reasons mentioned above, but also because casting alone is only used on non-displaced fractures (or displace fractures that can be easily be aligned again).

Of even more interest is the mechanical characteristics of this material. Fracture plates that have moduli closer to bone don't produce as much stress sheilding, which causes the load path to run primarily through the plate and not the bone. Though this sounds like a good idea, bone relies on strain (which it sees due to stress applied and young's modulus) to signal bone remodeling. Too much shunting of load and the bone atriphies, making it likely to break again. These "absorbable" technologies usually produce a more compliant device, which is good for this. However, there is also the issue of the device breaking down and loosing rigidity before the bone can fully support load.

This idea has been done before, it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Comment Engineering! Fun and applicable! (Score 4, Insightful) 256

I've always thought that teaching something that combined science, engineering, and Vo-Tek would be highly practical in high school.

How about Small Engines? You can buy a small lawnmower engine (and a manual) and teach them principles of mechanics and combustion while also levening parts of "how things work" as well as basic repair techniques. Eventually you put the thing back together and start it up. You can even show how to mess with it to trick it out or solve common problems.

Not only would this get kids interested in science and engineering, but it would be practical.

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