Using Topological Optimization to Reconstruct Disfigured Faces

Patients who have suffered devastating facial injuries sometimes go to great lengths to hide themselves from public view. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), two researchers are combining engineering and medical skills to tackle the complex challenge of facial reconstruction. Michael Miller, chair of plastic surgery at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, and civil and mechanical engineer Glaucio Paulino of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have teamed up to use technology called topology optimization. The software technique allows the researchers to see where they should put material, and where they shouldn't.