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Virtual Biomechanics of Prostheses

How the digitalization of engineering has opened up new solutions to old medical problems.

Biomechanics has always sought to understand the complex interactions between biological and mechanical systems, unraveling how organisms move, how their tissues and structures adapt to physical demands, and how these principles can be applied in various areas, including medicine, sport , ergonomics and engineering. Through the analysis of forces, moments, movements and responses of biological systems, biomechanics contributes to improving the understanding of how the body works and to the development of solutions and technologies that benefit health, human performance and quality of life.

The challenge of biomechanics in assisting medicine and dentistry has always been great, developing suitable materials, experimenting with geometries, manufacturing prototypes and the final part. To try to do this in an agile way, traditional engineering used strategies such as testing on replicas of human structures, mathematical simplifications of models and “ one size fits all ” solutions.

Today, with the digitalization of engineering, it is possible to design a product in a completely virtual way, speeding up the production stages, from design, through testing to manufacturing. Given the limitations, in the past, medical companies were limited to executing only a few design iterations, accepting compromises in their creations. However, the current era is marked by the ability to optimize projects by executing countless iterations, tirelessly seeking the ideal design.

With advances in technology, materials and manufacturing methods, the next generation of medical devices are becoming more affordable, comfortable and faster to produce. See the example of the revolution that Siemens products generate in the development of prosthetics.

The new frontiers of prosthetics

Today's prosthetic devices are undergoing constant advances in complexity and customization. To remain competitive within a highly challenging scenario, companies must seek innovations in products and design processes. It is necessary to consider cost, comfort and customization when improving products to meet customer needs.

An example of necessity is the following, as an amputee patient grows, their prosthesis needs to adapt to the increasing size of the limb. This growth is a challenge that can make it difficult for children to access prosthetics from an early age. The current cost of replacing a prosthesis annually is prohibitive for many patients. The solution lies in finding ways to reduce the costs of prosthetics and make these devices more accessible to everyone.

Furthermore, we know that each patient has particularities in their anatomy, and, while adjustable prostheses meet patients' needs, the ability to digitize the geometry of the region in which the prosthesis will be fitted and design a customized prosthesis model for each patient makes ensuring that the fit is always good and the prosthesis is comfortable from the first use, not to mention the possibilities for optimization in prostheses subjected to high-performance environments, such as prosthetic blades for athletes.

How can we transform this process

With its integrated set of tools, Siemens enables companies to reduce prosthetic costs, offer customized features and improve the efficiency of their products. The virtual design approach enabled by NX enables patients around the world to access prosthetic devices without the need for in-person consultations. Siemens software opens up countless opportunities for the development of prosthetics, making the process more agile and accessible for those who depend on these devices.

NX offers a variety of easy-to - use tools for surface modeling. NX Realize Shape software is an affordable design solution for advanced shape creation. For athletes, prosthetics can be precisely tailored to fit a specific body shape, improving performance with the help of NX 's flexible design tools . This software allows designers to create refined shapes by subdividing an initial body into specific details, providing precise cutouts and geometry extrusions.

Additive manufacturing and other production technologies thrive with Realize Shape 's innovative approach to shape development. NX takes additive manufacturing to a new level, significantly expanding the range of products that can be manufactured. Additive manufacturing in NX makes it possible to create lightweight, durable and breathable prosthetics.

Design automation replaces labor-intensive processes that involve translations between multiple design tools. Integrated tools allow 3D scanning to be incorporated directly into the socket design, automating the process and resulting in a high-quality, repeatable and personalized socket for each customer.

The integration of NX with CAE (Computer Aided Engineering ) enables highly optimized projects. HEEDS software, for example, is a tool that enables simulation-driven design. HEEDS can connect all CAD and CAE tools, accelerating innovation in the product development process.

HEEDS accelerates the product development process by automating analysis workflows (Process Automation), maximizing available hardware and software computing resources (Distributed Execution), and efficiently exploring the design space for innovative solutions (Efficient Search) , while evaluating new concepts ensuring that performance requirements are met (Insight & Discovery).”

Simcenter 3D, meanwhile, is a fully integrated, computer-aided design solution for complex engineering challenges. This software offers advanced 3D modeling and effective simulation capabilities to gain a better understanding and improve the overall performance of products. In the aforementioned context of a prosthetic blade for athletes, Simcenter 3D and HEEDS can be used to enhance performance simulation before the product is subjected to real competition conditions.

Product performance is of paramount importance. Choosing to use these software allows companies to use several integrated design workflows to test product performance before it reaches customers.


Producing a design that achieves optimal performance with greater efficiency improves the overall quality of a company. The future with the use of NX , Simcenter 3D and HEEDS enables growth in market shares with lower development costs and higher quality products. In general, the use of these integrated software enables a more comfortable, reliable and accessible design for the patient, while resulting in cost savings for the company.

Want to know more? Schedule your meeting with CAEXPERTS right now and understand how we can help you.

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