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Current Projects

Optimizing a Dynamic Model of the Fouetté Turn
Course Project for BME 550 Sports Engineering, Continued to become an URA with Dr. John McPhee

Dance is an artistic and aesthetic sport which combines visual arts with athleticism to convey emotion to an audience. Dance requires flexibility, coordination, strength and balance. Training to become a skilled recreational or professional dancer requires both commitment and athleticism.

A fouetté turn is a classical ballet movement that translates lightly to “whipped turns”. This movement is an example of a conservation of angular momentum problem, and demonstrates the impact of the body’s moment of inertia. For instance, when the arms and legs are extended to the sides laterally, this increases the body’s moment of inertia, slowing them down. However, assuming momentum is conserved (i.e. no external forces), when the dancer pulls their arms and legs inwards towards their body, their moment of inertia should decrease, increasing their angular velocity. The goal of this project has expanded from BME 550 into an optimization problem, looking to optimize the trajectories of the joints to satisfy a cost function. With motion capture data provided by Dr. Andrea Schaerli at the University of Bern, Institute of Sport Science of professional dancers completing fouetté turns, the project has grown, and the goal is now to publish the completed model in a scientific journal.

Completed Projects

Pygo by Vigor
Fourth-Year Engineering Capstone Design Project

Sport-related concussions occur up to 3.8 million times a year. In the National Football League alone, sport-related concussions occur more than once every 2 games. While helmet design has improved in recent years, there has been minimal innovation in the chinstrap as an energy absorbing component. Pygo is a football helmet chinstrap which leverages relative motion to redirect energy away from the brain. Inspired by the NFL’s $3 million innovation challenge, Pygo aims to make sport safer for professional and youth athletes alike.

This project was completed as a team with 4 other UW Biomedical Engineering Graduates: Hannah Heigold, Alex Petropolis, Mohammed Al-Rawi and Xander Boston. Our team successfully defended our project during our panel exams in the Fall/Winter semesters of 2020/2021. This video is located on the University's website as part of the engineering design symposium.

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