Published: 11 Jan 2017 | Last Updated: 11 Jan 2017 14:48:25

Open source image analysis software BoneJ, developed during BBSRC-funded biomechanics research at the Royal Veterinary College, is being used in fields as diverse as volcanology, marine biology, soils science, battery design, and food science.

software image of bone structure
Composite image showing how the structure of bone changes in different species. Left to right – Asian elephant, domestic horse and Fennec fox. Larger animals have fewer, thicker ‘struts’ (yellow is thickest, purple thinnest). But the ratio of struts to spaces does not change with animal size. This data was analysed with BoneJ. Image credit: Michael Doube

The software has been downloaded more than 28,000 times by users in 56 countries.

The research from which the software arose also led to a collaboration between the researchers and London- based architecture firm Foster + Partners, who are interested in using knowledge about bone structure and its ability to self-repair to develop biologically- inspired building materials.

Scan data from the research has also been used by digital film-makers and animators, including Weta Digital, in the design of CGI characters.

Professor John Hutchinson was the RVC's Principal Investigator on the initial work and Dr. Michael Doube was originally the postdoc who came up with the BoneJ tool and then was later hired as a Lecturer at RVC.

Read more on the BBSRC website at Open source bone biology software benefits industry and academia

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