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What is InstantSpine?

Once finished, InstantSpine shall enable creating FE (finite element) models of the spine at the push of a button. To achieve this goal, InstantSpine builds on a fully parametric spine FE model developed by members of the spine group of the Institute for Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics at the University of Ulm.

The first InstantSpine release will require a working ANSYS installation for pre-processing (i.e. geometry and mesh generation). Abaqus/Standard will serve as the default solver backend with an option for using the free FEBio solver instead.

For whom?

InstantSpine is designed to be used by academic, non-commercial researchers in the computational biomechanics field who are in need of a working, fully parametric FE model of the thoracolumbar spine. The models generated by InstantSpine might also serve as a starting point for generating more sophisticated models for new users in the field. Note that InstantSpine provides the FE model generation facilities, but that these models are neither calibrated nor validated at this point; this critical task remains to the user.

InstantSpine is free software and as such licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPL v3) for non-commercial use, hence anybody can use it for non-commercial applications at no cost whatsoever under the terms of the AGPL. If you want to publish research results (or improvements to InstantSpine itself) based on InstantSpine or one of its components, please give appropriate credit and consider citing our work on InstantSpine to support the ongoing development of this piece of software.

Usage conditions (summary):
  • InstantSpine and all of its components may be used and distributed freely for non-commercial use under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License v3
  • Any modifications, improvements or derivative works based on InstantSpine or any of its components have to be provided in source form to the community freely at no cost under the terms and conditions of the AGPLv3
  • Any research based on InstantSpine or any of its components has to credit the original source of the model (generator), i.e. link to this website or cite an appropriate publication

The plan

We are currently working hard on finishing a first release of InstantSpine that includes all the core functionality, i.e. a version that allows specifying all critical model parameters, saving, loading, importing of model data, executing scripts for automated computation of dependent parameters and finally automatic generation of a input file for your FE solver of choice. We also want to provide a useable default model setup to give the user a starting point for his/her own experiments.

Roadmap for InstantSpine v1

This is just a short overview of the current status of development of the first release of InstantSpine. For more details, consult the TODO.txt file in the root source directory.
Description Status
Provide a convenient user interface for modifying all relevant model parameters DONE
Automate FE model generation DONE
Provide converters to different FE solvers (e.g. FEBio) PENDING
Beta test & bug fixing PENDING
Provide a default model setup PENDING
Bundle a release package PENDING
Write enduser documentation PENDING

Roadmap for vNext

We plan to incorporate the following features in future releases:
  • Advanced UI with improved visualization and preview capabilities
  • Page-based navigation for enhanced usability
  • Localization (e.g. German, French, Spanish, ...; depends on community contributions!)
  • Custom unit systems with automatic conversion
  • Support for additional model parameters
  • More flexible model <-> UI interface


InstantSpine and its foundations started as a joint effort of different people, orginally members of the spine group of the Institute for Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics at the University of Ulm, including
  • Maria Elizete Kunkel (relations between different anatomical parameters, first prototype of a parameteric spine model)
  • Markus Eustermann (model calibration and sensitivity analyses)
  • Frank Niemeyer (developer and current maintainer of InstantSpine and ParaSpine)
  • Hendrik Schmidt (project management)
  • Hans-Joachim Wilke (project lead)

Community Contributions


Last edited Dec 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM by FrankN, version 37