For Sam Clark, Class of ’10, and Laura Chernak, Class of ’09, six months of work paid off in one split second – and one split chicken bone. The two worked with assistant professor of biomedical engineering Eric Kennedy to develop a device to better understand when and why so many people tear their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.

Clark, a biomedical engineering major, and Chernak, a mechanical engineering major, have created an apparatus that mimics the injury mechanics of an ACL tear. The device, which uses a chicken bone to simulate a knee twisting really fast, includes a high-speed video camera and a data acquisition system.

They plan to build on their research, scaling the device to handle larger bones such as pig knees and, eventually, knees from human cadavers.

“Eventually this research could give athletic trainers the information they need to selectively develop training programs for different athletes,” Kennedy says.