During 2021 I am working on a project entitle “Using engineering principles to model biological systems” at Clare Hall College, Cambridge. At the end of each month I will summarize the progress that I have made.
One of my case studies involves analyzing linkage mechanisms in animal joints and modelling them in the same way that engineering linkage mechanisms are modelled. From the research so far it is clear that biological linkage mechanisms are highly optimized for motion and force. In particular, they are extremely compact due to optimal placement of muscle actuators. There are some interesting differences between engineering and biology. For example, biological linkage mechanisms often have spherical joints and out-of-plane movement. And animal joints do not have shafts and tubes due to growth constraints.