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Technical Paper

Model Predictive Control for Human Motion Simulation

This paper describes a novel model-based controller designed to simulate human motion in dynamic virtual environments. The controller was tested on SantosTM, the digital human developed at the Virtual Soldier Research Program at the University of Iowa. A planar 3-degrees-of-freedom model of the human arm was used to test the hypothesis. The controller was used to predict on line, optimal torques required to move the end effector towards a target point. The control law was implemented using classical gradient-based optimization and the recently developed technique of model predictive control (MPC). An advantage of MPC is that it replaces intractable closed loop optimization problems with more easily implementable open loop problems. The controller was used to produce physically consistent simulations of the motion of a human arm in a virtual environment in the presence of external disturbances that were not known in advance.
Journal Article

Estimation of Mass and Inertia Properties of Human Body Segments for Physics-based Human Modeling and Simulation Applications

This paper describes an effective integrated method for estimation of subject-specific mass, inertia tensor, and center of mass of individual body segments of a digital avatar for use with physics-based digital human modeling simulation environment. One of the main goals of digital human modeling and simulation environments is that a user should be able to change the avatar (from male to female to a child) at any given time. The user should also be able to change the various link dimensions, like lengths of upper and lower arms, lengths of upper and lower legs, etc. These customizations in digital avatar's geometry change the kinematic and dynamic properties of various segments of its body. Hence, the mass and center of mass/inertia data of the segments must be updated before simulating physics-based realistic motions. Most of the current methods use mass and inertia properties calculated from a set of regression equations based on average of some population.
Technical Paper

Multiple User Defined End-Effectors with Shared Memory Communication for Posture Prediction

Inverse Kinematics on a human model combined with optimization provides a powerful tool to predict realistic human postures. A human posture prediction tool brings up the need for greater flexibility for the user, as well as efficient computation performance. This paper demonstrates new methods that were developed for the application of digital human simulation as a software package by allowing for any number of user specified end-effectors and increasing communication efficiency for posture prediction. The posture prediction package for the digital human, Santos™, uses optimization constrained by end-effectors on the body with targets in the environment, along with variable cost functions that are minimized, to solve for all joint angles in a human body. This results in realistic human postures which can be used to create optimal designs for things that humans can physically interact with.
Technical Paper

A Validation Protocol for Predictive Human Locomotion

A framework to validate the predicted motion of a computer human model (Santos) is presented in this work. The proposed validation framework is a task-based methodology. It depends on the comparison of selected motion determinants and joint angles that play major roles in the task, using qualitative and quantitative statistical techniques. In the present work, the validation of Santos walking will be presented. Fortunately, the determinants for normal walking are well defined in the literature and can be represented by (i) hip flexion/extension, (ii) knee flexion/extension, (iii) ankle plantar/dorsiflexion, (iv) pelvic tilt, (v) pelvic rotation, and (vi) lateral pelvic displacement. While Santos is an ongoing research project, the results have shown significant qualitative agreements between the walking determinants of Santos and the walking determinants of four normal subjects.
Technical Paper

Validation Methodology Development for Predicted Posture

As predictive capabilities advance and human-model fidelity increases, so must validation of such predictions and models. However, subjective validation is sufficient only as an initial indicator; thorough, systematic studies must be conducted as well. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to validate postures that are determined using single-objective optimization (SOO) and multi-objective optimization (MOO), as applied to the virtual human Santos™. In addition, a general methodology and tools for posture-prediction validation are presented. We find that using MOO provides improvement over SOO, and the results are realistic from both a subjective and objective perspective.
Technical Paper

Dual-Arm Dynamic Motion Simulation and Prediction of Joint Constraint Loads Using Optimization

Our previous formulation for optimization-based dynamic motion simulation of a serial-link human upper body (from waist to right hand) is extended to predict the motion of a tree-structured human model that includes the torso, right arm, and left arm, with various applied external loads. The dynamics of tree-structured systems is formulated and implemented. The equations of motion for the tree structures must be derived carefully when dealing with the connection link. The optimum solution results show realistic dual-arm human motions and the required joint actuator torques. In the second part of this paper, a new method is introduced in which the constraint forces and moments at the joints are calculated along with the motion and muscle-induced actuator torques. A set of fictitious joints are modeled in addition to the real joints.
Technical Paper

A Musculoskeletal Model of the Upper Limb for Real Time Interaction

With the ever-increasing power of real time graphics and computational ability of desktop computers, the desire for a real-time simulation of the musculoskeletal system has become more pronounced. It is important that this simulation is realistic, interactive, runs in real time, and looks realistic, especially in our climate of Hollywood special-effects and stunning video games. An effective simulation of the musculoskeletal system hinges on three key features: accurate modeling of kinematic movement, realistic modeling of the muscle attachment points, and determining the direction of the forces applied at the points. By taking known information about the musculoskeletal system and applying it in a real time environment, we have created such a model of the human arm. This model includes realistic constraints on the joints and real-time wrapping algorithms for muscle action lines.
Technical Paper

Newly Developed Functionalities for the Virtual Human Santos

This paper presents newly developed capabilities for the virtual human Santos™. Santos is an avatar that has extensive modeling and simulation features. It is a digital human with 109 degrees of freedom (DOF), an optimization-based method, predictive dynamics, and realistic human appearance. The new capabilities include (1) significant progress in predictive dynamics (walking and running), (2) advanced clothing modeling and simulation, (3) muscle wrapping and sliding, and (4) hand biomechanics. With these newly developed functionalities, Santos can simulate various dynamic tasks such as walking and running, investigate clothing restrictions to motion such as joint limits and torques, simulate the musculoskeletal system in real time, predict hand injury by monitoring the joint torques, and facilitate vehicle interior design. Finally, additional on-going projects are summarized.
Technical Paper

Posture Prediction and Force/Torque Analysis for Human Hands

Human hands are the bridge between humans and the objects to be manipulated or grasped both in the real and virtual world. Hands are used to grasp or manipulate objects and one of the most important functionalities is to position the fingers, i.e., given the position of the fingertip and to determine the joint angles. Last year we presented a 25-degree of freedom (DOF) hand model that has palm arch functionality. In this paper we preset an optimization-based inverse kinematics approach to position this 25 DOF hand locally with respect to the wrist instead of the traditional Moore-Penrose pseudo-inverse and experiment methods. The hypothesis is that human performance measures govern the configuration and motion of the hand. We also propose contact force and joint torque prediction.
Technical Paper

Optimization-Based Dynamic Motion Simulation and Energy Expenditure Prediction for a Digital Human

This paper presents an optimization-based algorithm for simulating the dynamic motion of a digital human. We also formulate the metabolic energy expenditure during the motion, which is calculated within our algorithm. This algorithm is implemented and applied to Santos™, an avatar developed at The University of Iowa. Santos™ is a part of a virtual environment for conducting digital human analysis consisting of posture prediction, motion prediction, and physiology studies. This paper demonstrates our dynamic motion algorithm within the Santos™ virtual environment. Mathematical evaluations of human performance are essential to any effort to compare various ergonomic designs. In fact, the human factors design process can be formulated as an optimization problem that maximizes human performance. In particular, an optimal design must be found while taking into consideration the effects of different motions and hand loads corresponding to a number of tasks.
Technical Paper

SANTOS™ Hand: A 25 Degree-of-Freedom Model

This paper presents a SANTOS™ 25 degree-of-freedom (DOF) hand model and the forward and inverse kinematic analysis. The Denavit-Hartenberg (D-H) method is used to define the position of the end- effector (fingertip). In the SANTOS™ hand model each finger has different constraints and movements (e.g., the middle finger in distal Interphalangeal (DIP) joint can move in Flexion/Extension (F/E) with a range 0–100 degrees, and the thumb in interphalangeal (IP) joint can rotate in F/E with arrange of 15H/80). Including hand model SANTOS™ has over 100 DOFs and the forward and inverse kinematics have been studied. Optimization-based dynamic motion prediction will be used to consider different gestures for hand grasping.
Technical Paper

Santos™: A New Generation of Virtual Humans

Presented in this paper is an on-going project to develop a new generation of virtual human models that are highly realistic in terms of appearance, movement, and feedback (evaluation of the human body during task execution). Santos™ is an avatar that exhibits extensive modeling and simulation capabilities. It is an anatomically correct human model with more than 100 degrees of freedom. Santos™ resides in a virtual environment and can conduct human-factors analysis. This analysis entails, among other things, posture prediction, motion prediction, gait analysis, reach envelope analysis, and ergonomics studies. There are essentially three stages to developing virtual humans: (1) basic human modeling (representing how a human functions independently), (2) input functionality (awareness and analysis of the human’s environment), and (3) intelligent reaction to input (memory, reasoning, etc.). This paper addresses the first stage.
Technical Paper

Restrained and Unrestrained Driver Reach Barriers

Design and packaging of automotive interiors and airplane cockpits has become a science in itself, particularly in recent years where safety is paramount. There are various methods for restraining operators in their seats, including fitting an operator, such as a race car driver or pilot, with two seat belts, one for each side of the body, a three point restraining system as in commercial vehicles, and a lap belt as in some trucks and other types of vehicles. Moreover, significant experimental efforts have been made to study driver reach and barriers since they directly affect performance and safety. This paper presents a rigorous formulation for addressing the reach envelope and barriers therein of a 3-point restrained driver compared with a lap-belt-restrained driver. The formulation is based on a kinematic model of the driver, which characterizes the upper body and arm as 7 degrees of freedom (DOF) for an unrestrained and 4DOF for a 3-point restrained driver.
Technical Paper

A Pilot Study of the Effects of Vertical Ride Motion on Reach Kinematics

Vehicle motions can adversely affect the ability of a driver or occupant to quickly and accurately push control buttons located in many advanced vehicle control, navigation and communications systems. A pilot study was conducted using the U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Ride Motion Simulator (RMS) to assess the effects of vertical ride motion on the kinematics of reaching. The RMS was programmed to produce 0.5 g and 0.8 g peak-to-peak sinusoidal inputs at the seat-sitter interface over a range of frequencies. Two participants performed seated reaching tasks to locations typical of in-vehicle controls under static conditions and with single-frequency inputs between 0 and 10 Hz. The participants also held terminal reach postures during 0.5 to 32 Hz sine sweeps. Reach kinematics were recorded using a 10-camera VICON motion capture system. The effects of vertical ride motion on movement time, accuracy, and subjective responses were assessed.