Brandon Wright, Mechanical Engineer graduate, created simulation models of shoulder muscles at the University of Cape Town.
Simulation of shoulder muscles

New to South Africa

Brandon Wright interned in South Africa this past summer to expand his skillset, learn more about South African culture and experience life in a newly industrialized country.

I REALLY WANTED TO GO TO SOUTH AFRICA TO LEARN ABOUT HOW THE COUNTRY HAD EVOLVED SINCE THE END OF APARTHEID AND ABOUT HOW THE DYNAMICS OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVISIONS MIGHT MANIFEST IN AN ENVIRONMENT SO DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING I HAD EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

 

“Aside from learning about the country, I was interested in building on my previously acquired skills with simulation software,” he shares. “I was also interested in learning about the biomechanical/biomedical research space to see if it might be a field of interest for future employment.”

Simulation Software

The goal of Brandon’s project was to create simulation models of shoulder muscles to help in the process of surgically planning a tendon transfer and ensure patients get the most benefit from the procedure. At the end of his internship Brandon gave an oral report to his supervisor which included a summary of the results he had been able to obtain using Open Sim as well as the progress he had made with trying to integrate coupling between Open Sim and the Finite Element Analysis package ABAQUS. Brandon explained that while he had been able to get proficient with the software, he found it harder to verify that his results were correct. He summed up his conclusions about coupling the ABAQUS software with Open Sim, noting that from his experience it might be worth trying to use another method/application to create a simpler workflow where dynamic data could be exchanged with a Finite Element Model.

Reflecting

“I definitely grew as a person, Brandon reflects. “The conversations I had with all the UCT students definitely helped me learn a lot more about South Africa’s culture, history, and politics, and at times even that of the world (given UCT’s large number of international students).”

  • Africa
  • Internship
  • MechE