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Professor of Sport & Exercise,
School of Social Sciences, Business & Law
T: 01642 342381E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Futures Institute
Professor Spears’ background is engineering, specialising in computational biomechanics in the areas of sport and exercise. Prior to sport and exercise, he worked in dental and orthopaedic research. His dental research work on determining internal structure and mechanical properties of dental materials is still widely cited and attracted a series of follow-on grants.
His orthopaedic research involved the development of a virtual-reality testing environment for non-cemented hip replacements. This work was the seminal stage of an EU-wide initiative for biomechanical data collection funded from the German Research Council.
Professor Spears' five current postgraduate students are developing technologies for analysis of the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. For example, his most recently successful MPhil and PhD students completed dissertations on the development of simulations of the ligamentous interactions of the ankle joint and the mechanics of repair of hip fracture patients, respectively.
He acts as associate editor and reviewer for numerous scientific journals and on a practical level Professor Spears advises the Teesside Sports Injury Clinic on a range of injury-related issues. In addition, he is an inventor primarily in technologies related to the health care industry. These inventions have so far received widespread public and commercial interest. For example, an early invention virtual reality exercise bike with artificial intelligence for resistance setting (van Schaik et al., 2007) was created specifically to promote physical activity in older adults (BBC Look North, June 2005). More recently a low-cost patented motion capture system (UK Patent Filing Number 0808061.6.) was developed.
Professor Spears is currently the project leader on an EPSRC Digital Economy research project for a high-intensity low-volume exercise environment for use in social clubs. The intellectual property has been transferred into a new venture and commercial exploitation rights are in place with undisclosed market leaders in the fitness industry. These and future products based on his research base will continually be applied to the healthcare and health sciences sector; an area identified as one of the three pillars in the region’s strategy for success in the North East of England.
Professor Spears is particularly keen to hear from students who either have or wish to have good computational skills, and who are keen to conduct high quality research into the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.
Together with students, Iain is studying metatarsal fractures in footballers using simulations to identify the cause. He has also worked with final-year students to research mouth guards and bike seats. The impact of being bit by a cricket ball is very different to being hit by a boxing glove. They found that mouth guard designs need to be sport-specific.
Their computer modelling of the interaction between bike seats and the body looked at how arteries and nerves get compressed. When sitting, weight is frequently placed on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bone). It’s important to get this bone over the top of your bike seat, rather than hanging off it.
As a result, the team have made recommendations on safe cycling. Their findings were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a leading multidisciplinary journal, and his students won the Biomechanics Prize at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Student Conference (2002).
Iain is also working on a patented computer modelling system tracking human motion to predict falls in the elderly.
View Iain Spears' Publications on TeesRep
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Members of Social Futures Institute are involved in a range of research activities. You can view these in detail on each individual profile.
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Teesside's online research repository gives you access to the collection of peer-reviewed research and e-theses produced by members of the Social Futures Institute.
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