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Finalist, 2013

Choreographed Testing of Total Knee Replacements

Christopher Knowlton, Bioengineering

Total knee replacements are a common surgical intervention to alleviate debilitating pain at the knee, but wear of the implants has limited their longevity. Accelerated wear testing can be performed to evaluate materials and design; current standards only test walking. My research indicates that these standards do not reproduce wear in the body, and that simulating other daily patient activities, such as sitting down, standing up, walking up stairs and walking down stairs, may more accurately predict the wear of total knee replacements in the body. This image is a still taken during the filming of my entry for the 2012 Dance Your Ph.D. contest, which challenges Ph.D. students to translate their thesis research into a choreographed dance. The image shows a three-station knee simulator, represented by the three women with red knee pads, and the new inputs driving the simulator, represented by myself on the floor cycling their legs like pistons through the motions of the knee during wear testing. The dance film was a finalist in the competition and can be seen in its entirety online at