Biomechanics is a scientific discipline in the field of Biophysics devoted to the study of motion (and its absence) and to the deformation of biological systems: the forces that produce and constrain them, and the distinctive characteristics of motion and deformation themselves. Its domains of intervention are plural but always focused in the optimization of motion and interfaces (machines, equipment, construction, floors, clothing, footwear, etc) between biological systems and its surroundings, as well as preventing structural and functional rupture and promotion of health and safety.
Porto Biomechanics Laboratory (LABIOMEP – Laboratório de Biomecânica do Porto) is a technological center of the University of Porto dedicated to scientific and technological research, innovation, teaching, providing specialized technical services and to transference of knowledge and technology (product development) in Biomechanics, whether human or animal, of ergonomic, clinical, sports or biomimetic interest (design, computer animation, model development, etc.). LABIOMEP’s mission is to catalyze the growth potential and competitive edge of University of Porto in all domains directly or indirectly related to Biomechanics, including the interaction with the productive structures.
The creation of LABIOMEP was made possible through the mobilization of QREN (Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional) and “O Novo Norte” (North Portugal Regional Operational Programme) resources, as well as resources from University of Porto, and dynamized by professors and researchers of the Faculties of Sciences, Sports, Engineering, Medicina, Dental Medicine, the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, IDMEC – Institute of Mechanical Engineering and INEGI – Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management. The collaboration between professors and researchers of different Organic Units, Institutes and Laboratories of the University of Porto aims at creating a space where it is possible to reinforce the launch of scientific infrastructures and technological development of common use, rationalizing equipment and opposing the duplication of entities that share objectives.
By embracing knowledge, competencies, projects and perspectives of know-how transference related to Biomechanics in several different scientific domains, LABIOMEP aims at creating critical mass that is able to intervene in an attractive manner with the industrial and productive structures, as well as strengthening the ties between teaching activities in higher education, research activities and extension to productive structures.
LABIOMEP has the goal of supporting the development of innovation projects and scientific and technological development of high capacity of social interaction, as well as the implementation of research project leading to the development of master and doctoral dissertations. It is aimed to develop projects that involve industrial research leading to the production of new devices, processes or systems, as well as to the significant improvement of the ones already existent. These projects can be developed in partnership with national companies, public or private, or with companies based outside Portugal. LABIOMEP will seek to boost the publications in indexed and reference scientific journals, as well as the registration of patents while ensuring the provision of differentiated services to companies, public or private, such as guidance, execution, applied research and development in Biomechanics. Its mission also comprises dissemination of scientific activity in national and international congresses, organized by LABIOMEP or other, as well as the organization of thematic congresses and seminars in partnership with companies, research centers and clusters with a local and regional target public in coordination with other Universities, associated laboratories and other entities of SCTN (Portuguese Scientific and Technological System).
The vision that guides the daily effort of those who participate in this project is quality and national and international leadership in its territory; a vision that marks the permanent compromise of accuracy, reliability, commitment and loyalty, whether for University of Porto, that sustains it, or for its partners and clients. In conformity with this, all of its intervenients have privileged access to advanced and continued lifelong training, as well as the privilege of team work and case-by-case management of efforts and schedules of each coworker.
The accomplishment of these objectives will be guaranteed by the collaboration of 29 professors and researchers of University of Porto, representing the different Organic Units directly involved, as well as three full-time technicians and an estimate of 20 research grant holders developing long-term projects.
The equipment available at LABIOMEP allows the diversified studies in the field of Biomechanics, from dynamometry (forces, moments and pressures evaluation) and cinemetry (determination of position, orientation, velocity and acceleration) to electromyography (recording of muscular electrical activity), thermography (recording variation of body temperature) and morphometry (evaluation of dimension and segmental and full body inertial characteristics).