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Planet Earth

Swimming robots and flexing bones: My new story for the New York Times

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerMay 17, 2011 9:38 AM

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Rib-cage-300.jpg

Biomechanics is the science of flesh and bone--how birds fly, sharks swim, muscles twitch, and tendons spring. In January, I went to a fascinating session at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology where biomechanics experts talked about how they've been trying to turn their insights about biomechanics into commercial products. One of the most surprising examples came from Charles Pell, a North Carolina inventor, who explained how surgical tools could be much improved by taking biomechanics into account. I later paid Pell a visit at the offices of his company, Physcient, to find out more about their first creation: a rib spreader that promises to spread ribs without breaking them. The result was an article which appears in today's New York Times. Check it out. [Image: Gray's Anatomy]

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