Upper Extremity Joint Moment and Force Predictions when using a Joystick Control 2007-01-2497
This paper discusses the application of digital human models (DHM) to examine computer generated forces necessary to move specific joysticks by using roof bolter virtual operators to predict the forces experienced on the operator's upper extremities. Using DHM and simulations of static movements, investigators analyzed predictions of joint moment and joint force effects on virtual operator's right wrist, elbow and shoulder and compared them to different body dimensions and work postures. This study exemplifies the ease of estimating upper extremity loads on equipment operators using virtual operators and computer models of equipment and work environment. As expected, comparing results of percentage of joint force and moment reduction using the electronic control and of the mechanical control showed that the electronic control had lower joint forces and joint moments over the mechanical control. The average predicted value of the joint moment on the wrist was 1.84 Nm, elbow 7.85 Nm and shoulder 14.55 Nm and of the joint force on the wrist was 5.06 N, elbow 4.56 N, and shoulder 3.67 N. Because the data illustrates low-level forces to move a joystick, inadvertent actuation of the control is addressed. Regardless of the findings, research is still needed on joysticks in real world situations such as an epidemiological assessment of equipment operators in the field before final recommendations and conclusions can be drawn.