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Technical Paper

Characterizing Vehicle Occupant Body Dimensions and Postures Using a Statistical Body Shape Model

Reliable, accurate data on vehicle occupant characteristics could be used to personalize the occupant experience, potentially improving both satisfaction and safety. Recent improvements in 3D camera technology and increased use of cameras in vehicles offer the capability to effectively capture data on vehicle occupant characteristics, including size, shape, posture, and position. In previous work, the body dimensions of standing individuals were reliably estimated by fitting a statistical body shape model (SBSM) to data from a consumer-grade depth camera (Microsoft Kinect). In the current study, the methodology was extended to consider seated vehicle occupants. The SBSM used in this work was developed using laser scan data gathered from 147 children with stature ranging from 100 to 160 cm and BMI from 12 to 27 kg/m2 in various sitting postures.
Technical Paper

Understanding Work Task Assessment Sensitivity to the Prediction of Standing Location

Digital human models (DHM) are now widely used to assess worker tasks as part of manufacturing simulation. With current DHM software, the simulation engineer or ergonomist usually makes a manual estimate of the likely worker standing location with respect to the work task. In a small number of cases, the worker standing location is determined through physical testing with one or a few workers. Motion capture technology is sometimes used to aid in quantitative analysis of the resulting posture. Previous research has demonstrated the sensitivity of work task assessment using DHM to the accuracy of the posture prediction. This paper expands on that work by demonstrating the need for a method and model to accurately predict worker standing location. The effect of standing location on work task posture and the resulting assessment is documented through three case studies using the Siemens Jack DHM software.
Technical Paper

Simulating Complex Automotive Assembly Tasks using the HUMOSIM Framework

Efficient methods for simulating operators performing part handling tasks in manufacturing plants are needed. The simulation of part handling motions is an important step towards the implementation of virtual manufacturing for the purpose of improving worker productivity and reducing injuries in the workplace. However, industrial assembly tasks are often complex and involve multiple interactions between workers and their environment. The purpose of this paper is to present a series of industrial simulations using the Human Motion Simulation Framework developed at the University of Michigan. Three automotive assembly operations spanning scenarios, such as small and large parts, tool use, walking, re-grasping, reaching inside a vehicle, etc. were selected.
Technical Paper

An Integrated Model of Gait and Transition Stepping for Simulation of Industrial Workcell Tasks

Industrial tasks performed by standing workers are among those most commonly simulated using digital human models. Workers often walk, turn, and take acyclic steps as they perform these tasks. Current h uman modeling tools lack the capability to simulate these whole body motions accurately. Most models simulate walking by replaying joint angle trajectories corresponding to a general gait pattern. Turning is simulated poorly if at all, and violations of kinematic constraints between the feet and ground are common. Moreover, current models do not accurately predict foot placement with respect to loads and other hand targets, diminishing the utility of the associated ergonomic analyses. A new approach to simulating stepping and walking in task-oriented activities is proposed. Foot placements and motions are predicted from operator and task characteristics using empirical models derived from laboratory data and validated using field data from an auto assembly plant.
Technical Paper

Assessing the Importance of Motion Dynamics for Ergonomic Analysis of Manual Materials Handling Tasks using the AnyBody Modeling System

Most current applications of digital human figure models for ergonomic assessments of manual tasks focus on the analysis of a static posture. Tools available for static analysis include joint-specific strength, calculation of joint moments, balance maintenance capability, and low-back compression or shear force estimates. Yet, for many tasks, the inertial loads due to acceleration of body segments or external objects may contribute significantly to internal body forces and tissue stresses. Due to the complexity of incorporating the dynamics of motion into analysis, most commercial software packages used for ergonomic assessment do not have the capacity to include dynamic effects. Thus, commercial human modeling packages rarely provide an opportunity for the user to determine if a static analysis is sufficient.
Technical Paper

A Task-Based Stepping Behavior Model for Digital Human Models

Cyclical stepping (gait) has been studied extensively. Some of these results are reflected in the straight and curved path step-following algorithms in commercial digital human modeling (DHM) implementations. With the aid of these algorithms, DHM users define start, intermediate, and end path points and the software generates a walking-like motion along the path. Most of these algorithms have substantial limitations, among them that the figures exhibit “foot skate,” meaning that the kinematic constraint of foot contact with the ground is not respected. Turning is accomplished by pivoting the entire figure, rather than through realistic lower-extremity motions. The simulation of the non-cyclical stepping motions accompanying manual material handling pickup and delivery tasks requires manual manikin manipulation. This paper proposes a paradigm for the simulation of stepping behavior in digital human models based on a model of foot placements and motions.
Technical Paper

The HUMOSIM Ergonomics Framework: A New Approach to Digital Human Simulation for Ergonomic Analysis

The potential of digital human modeling to improve the design of products and workspaces has been limited by the time-consuming manual manipulation of figures that is required to perform simulations. Moreover, the inaccuracies in posture and motion that result from manual procedures compromise the fidelity of the resulting analyses. This paper presents a new approach to the control of human figure models and the analysis of simulated tasks. The new methods are embodied in an algorithmic framework developed in the Human Motion Simulation (HUMOSIM) laboratory at the University of Michigan. The framework consists of an interconnected, hierarchical set of posture and motion modules that control aspects of human behavior, such as gaze or upper-extremity motion. Analysis modules, addressing issues such as shoulder stress and balance, are integrated into the framework.
Technical Paper

Optimizing Vehicle Occupant Packaging

Occupant packaging practice relies on statistical models codified in SAE practices, such as the SAE J941 eyellipse, and virtual human figure models representing individual occupants. The current packaging approach provides good solutions when the problem is relatively unconstrained, but achieving good results when many constraints are active, such as restricted headroom and sightlines, requires a more rigorous approach. Modeling driver needs using continuous models that retain the residual variance associated with performance and preference allows use of optimization methodologies developed for robust design. Together, these models and methods facilitate the consideration of multiple factors simultaneously and tradeoff studies can be performed. A case study involving the layout of the interior of a passenger car is presented, focusing on simultaneous placement of the seat and steering wheel adjustment ranges.
Technical Paper

Predicting Foot Positions for Manual Materials Handling Tasks

For many industrial tasks (push, pull, lift, carry, etc.), restrictions on grip locations and visibility constrain the hand and head positions and help to define feasible postures. In contrast, foot locations are often minimally constrained and an ergonomics analyst can choose several different stances in selecting a posture to analyze. Also, because stance can be a critical determinant of a biomechanical assessment of the work posture, the lack of a valid method for placing the feet of a manikin with respect to the task compromises the accuracy of the analysis. To address this issue, foot locations and orientations were captured in a laboratory study of sagittal plane and asymmetric manual load transfers. A pilot study with four volunteers of varying anthropometry approached a load located on one of three shelves and transferred the load to one of six shelves.
Technical Paper

Application of Digital Human Modeling to the Design of a Postal Delivery Vehicle

The development of a new carrier route vehicle for the U.S. Postal Service began with the design of the vehicle interior from an operator-centered perspective. A task analysis of the postal worker while driving and while performing mail-handling operations guided the layout of the vehicle interior. The Jack™ human modeling software was used, along with SAE Recommended Practices and other tools, to create a vehicle environment that will accommodate a large percentage of the operator population. The challenges of designing for this unique work environment provided a good opportunity to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the available human factors tools, including the Jack™ digital human figure model. This paper describes the development of the vehicle interior, discusses some lessons learned, and concludes with recommendations for increased functionality and improved integration of vehicle interior design tools.
Technical Paper

Digital Human Modeling Research and Development User Needs Panel

This panel provided a forum for discussion of future research and development desired by users and potential users of DHM technologies. The discussion was based on the experiences of users from various sectors and industries. Panelists provided written statements and delivered short presentations prior to opening the session to audience discussion. The panel was designed to inform and drive research and development plans to fill these needs.
Technical Paper

Development of Seatbelt Fit Assessment Components for the ASPECT Manikin

As part of the Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools (ASPECT) program, UMTRI researchers developed a new H-point manikin that is intended to replace the current SAE J826 manikin. The original manikin is used in many automotive applications, including as a platform for a belt-fit test device (BTD). In the current project, components and procedures were developed to measure belt fit using the ASPECT manikin. Contoured lap and torso forms were constructed using anthropometric data from an earlier UMTRI study. Prototype forms were mounted on the ASPECT manikin for testing in a laboratory fixture and in vehicles. The testing demonstrated that the ASPECT-BTD produces consistent measures of belt fit that vary in expected ways with belt geometry.
Technical Paper

Methods for Laboratory Investigation of Truck and Bus Driver Postures

Few studies have systematically examined the effects of truck and bus workstation geometry on driver posture and position. This paper presents methods for determining drivers' postural responses and preferred component locations using a reconfigurable vehicle mockup. Body landmark locations recorded using a three-dimensional digitizer are used to compute a skeletal-linkage representation of the drivers' posture. A sequential adjustment procedure is used to determine the preferred positions and orientations of key components, including the seat, steering wheel, and pedals. Data gathered using these methods will be used to create new design tools for trucks and buses, including models of driver-selected seat position, eye location, and needed component adjustment ranges. The results will also be used to create accurate posture-prediction models for use with human modeling software.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Methods for Predicting Automobile Driver Posture

Recent research in the ASPECT (Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools) program has led to the development of a new method for automobile driver posture prediction, known as the Cascade Model. The Cascade Model uses a sequential series of regression functions and inverse kinematics to predict automobile occupant posture. This paper presents an alternative method for driver posture prediction using data-guided kinematic optimization. The within-subject conditional distributions of joint angles are used to infer the internal cost functions that guide tradeoffs between joints in adapting to different vehicle configurations. The predictions from the two models are compared to in-vehicle driving postures.
Technical Paper

New Concepts in Vehicle Interior Design Using ASPECT

The ASPECT (Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools) program developed a new physical manikin for seat measurement and new techniques for integrating the seat measurements into the vehicle design process. This paper presents an overview of new concepts in vehicle interior design that have resulted from the ASPECT program and other studies of vehicle occupant posture and position conducted at UMTRI. The new methods result from an integration of revised versions of the SAE seat position and eyellipse models with the new tools developed in ASPECT. Measures of seat and vehicle interior geometry are input to statistical posture and position prediction tools that can be applied to any specified user population or individual occupant anthropometry.
Technical Paper

Design and Development of the ASPECT Manikin

The primary objective of the ASPECT (Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools) program was to develop a new generation of the SAE J826 H-point manikin. The new ASPECT manikin builds on the long-term success of the H-point manikin while adding new measurement capability and improved ease of use. The ASPECT manikin features an articulated torso linkage to measure lumbar support prominence; new contours based on human subject data; a new weighting scheme; lightweight, supplemental thigh, leg, and shoe segments; and a simpler, user-friendly installation procedure. This paper describes the new manikin in detail, including the rationale and motivation for the design features. The ASPECT manikin maintains continuity with the current SAE J826 H-point manikin in important areas while providing substantial new measurement capability.
Technical Paper

Human Subject Testing in Support of ASPECT

The ASPECT program, conducted to develop new Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools, used posture and position data from hundreds of vehicle occupants to develop a new physical manikin and related tools. Analysis of the relationships between anthropometric measures established the criteria for subject selection. The study goals and the characteristics of the data collected determined the sampling approach and number of subjects tested in each study. Testing was conducted in both vehicle and laboratory vehicle mockups. This paper describes the subject sampling strategies, anthropometric issues, and general data collection methods used for the program's eight posture studies.
Technical Paper

ASPECT Manikin Applications and Measurements for Design, Audit, and Benchmarking

The ASPECT (Automotive Seat and Package Evaluation and Comparison Tools) manikin provides new capabilities for vehicle and seat measurement while maintaining continuity with previous practices. This paper describes how the manikin is used in the development of new designs, the audit verification of build, and in benchmarking competitive vehicles and seats. The measurement procedures are discussed in detail, along with the seat and package dimensions that are associated with the new tool.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Investigation of Airbag-Induced Upper-Extremity Injuries

The factors that influence airbag-induced upper-extremity injuries sustained by drivers were investigated in this study. Seven unembalmed human cadavers were used in nineteen direct-forearm-interaction static deployments. A single horizontal-tear-seam airbag module and two different inflators were used. Spacing between the instrumented forearm and the airbag module was varied from 10 cm to direct contact in some tests. Forearm-bone instrumentation included triaxial accelerometry, crack detection gages, and film targets. Internal airbag pressure was also measured. The observed injuries were largely transverse, oblique, and wedge fractures of the ulna or radius, or both, similar to those reported in field investigations. Tears of the elbow joint capsule were also found, both with and without fracture of the forearm.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of Driver Discomfort and Related Seat Design Factors in Extended-Duration Driving

A study of automotive seating comfort and related design factors was conducted, utilizing subjective techniques of seat comfort assessment and objective measures of the seat/subject interaction. Eight male subjects evaluated four different test seats during a short-term seating session and throughout a three-hour driving simulation. For the latter, subjects operated a static laboratory driving simulator, performing body-area discomfort evaluations at thirty-minute intervals. Cross-modality matching (CMM), a subjective assessment technique in which a stimulus is rated by matching to the level of another stimulus, was used during the long-term driving simulation to evaluate discomfort. Subject posture, muscle activity in the lower back and abdomen, and pressure levels at key support locations on the seat were monitored. In addition, a sonic digitizing system was used to record seat indentation contours and to characterize the subjects' spinal contours.