International Society of Biomechanics
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Student Travel Reports

Hello, I am Rene Ferdinands from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.  I am investigating the biomechanics of bowling in cricket.  This research is for my PhD thesis, and also involves two other major institutions - the University of Auckland and the Waikato Polytechnic. 


The research involves the 3D motion analysis testing an elite sample of fast bowlers delivering a cricket a ball.  This requires the excellent research facilities and staff expertise at the University of Auckland.  An EVA Motion analysis model of the bowler was developed here, and enables the researcher to obtain 3D kinematic data from all the body segments.


The kinematic data is then used to drive a 3D fifteen-segment rigid body model of bowling, which was developed at the University of Waikato, and is capable of inverse and forward solution dynamics.  This is the first time that a dynamics study of bowling has been attempted, and the results are providing real insights into the mechanics behind the bowling action, which has for too long now, been subject to little scientific treatment.   As such, there has already been significant interest shown in this research by the cricket playing countries of the world. 


I therefore am extremely grateful to the ISB Award Committee that granted me the ISB Travel Award, which enabled me to attend and present my research at two international biomechanics conferences – the XVIII International Society of Biomechanics Congress in Zurich, and the VIII International Symposium on Computer Simulation in Biomechanics in Milan. 

 The conference in Milan was very specialized, and brought together a group of quality researchers who are interested in computer modeling and simulation in biomechanics.  I gained an insight into the complexities of biomechanical modeling, and had a good opportunity to listen to high quality presentations of research that is right at the cutting edge.  Also, I had stimulating discussions with certain researchers on aspects of rigid body modeling and received some good tips on how to make my models more powerful and robust.


The ISB conference in Zurich was in comparison a much larger one, and covered a diverse range of biomechanical topics.  It was a very exciting and stimulating experience to see how important and vibrant the field of biomechanics is becoming.  I felt that I was part of something huge that could really benefit the world at large, and make a significant improvement on many physical aspects of human life.  I now have a better appreciation of how to use my research to make human movement more efficient not only in sport, but in other areas of biomechanics as well.


New Zealand is very far from Europe, and also the New Zealand dollar is low in respect to the other currencies – so the whole thing is very expensive! Therefore, without this travel award, it would not have been possible for me to attend these conferences.  I once again thank the ISB for giving me this opportunity, and I can confidently say that my research will be richer for it.

Rene Ferdinands
University of Waikato
New Zealand.