Thursday, February 17, 2005

Anatomy dictates efficency of underwater propulsion

"The biomechanics of diving mammals, whose bodies reflect their environment, offer lessons for human divers."

Diving mammals are able to propel themselves through the aquatic environment very efficiently. Humans can become good swimmers, but human swimming feats can hardly be compared with those of diving mammals. Techniques for surface swimming, without diving gear, and for breath-hold diving among humans are quite different than those of the mammalian breath-hold divers.
Movement through water requires a propulsion system and energy to drive the system. The mechanics of moving a body through water is achieved through the musculoskeletal system, with the skeleton providing the structural support and lever arms for muscle movement. The skeletal system is divided into two main sections, axial and appendicular.

The axial skeleton includes the bones in the center of the body, namely the spine, rib cage, and pelvis. The appendicular skeleton includes the bones that support the extremities. The anatomy of the axial and appendicular skeletal systems of diving mammals has advantages for movement as well as for heat and energy conservation in the aquatic environment.

User Interface Design - Ergonomics

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