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Technical Paper

Digital Human Modeling Goals and Strategic Plans

Digital human modeling (DHM) progress worldwide will be much faster and cohesive if the diverse community now developing simulations has a global blueprint for DHM, and is able to work together efficiently. DHM developers and users can save time by building on each other's work. This paper highlights a panel discussion on DHM goals and strategic plans for the next decade to begin formulating the international blueprint. Four subjects are chosen as the starting points: (1) moving DHM into the public safety and internet arenas, (2) role of DHM in computer assisted surgery and automotive safety, (3) DHM in defense applications, and (4) DHM to improve workplace ergonomics.
Journal Article

Postural Behaviors during One-Hand Force Exertions

Posture and external loads such as hand forces have a dominant effect on ergonomic analysis outcomes. Yet, current digital human modeling tools used for proactive ergonomics analysis lack validated models for predicting postures for standing hand-force exertions. To address this need, the effects of hand magnitude and direction on whole-body posture for standing static hand-force exertion tasks were quantified in a motion-capture study of 19 men and women with widely varying body size. The objective of this work was to identify postural behaviors that might be incorporated into a posture-prediction algorithm for standing hand-force tasks. Analysis of one-handed exertions indicates that, when possible, people tend to align their bodies with the direction of force application, converting potential cross-body exertions into sagittal plane exertions. With respect to the hand-force plane, pelvis position is consistent with a postural objective of reducing rotational trunk torques.
Technical Paper

Predicting Force-Exertion Postures from Task Variables

Accurate representation of working postures is critical for ergonomic assessments with digital human models because posture has a dominant effect on analysis outcomes. Most current digital human modeling tools require manual manipulation of the digital human to simulate force-exertion postures or rely on optimization procedures that have not been validated. Automated posture prediction based on human data would improve the accuracy and repeatability of analyses. The effects of hand force location, magnitude, and direction on whole-body posture for standing tasks were quantified in a motion-capture study of 20 men and women with widely varying body size. A statistical analysis demonstrated that postural variables critical for the assessment of body loads can be predicted from the characteristics of the worker and task.
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

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

Evaluating the Effect of Back Injury on Shoulder Loading and Effort Perception in Hand Transfer Tasks

Occupational populations have become increasingly diverse, requiring novel accommodation technologies for inclusive design. Hence, further attention is required to identify potential differences in work perception between workers with varying physical limitations. The major aim of this study was to identify differences in shoulder loading and perception of effort between a control population (C) and populations affected by chronic back pain (LBP) and spinal cord injury (SCI) in one-handed seated transfer tasks to targets. The effects of the injuries, and associated pain, are likely to produce variations in movement patterns, muscle loading and perceived effort.
Technical Paper

Balance Maintenance during Seated Reaches of People with Spinal Cord Injury

In many task analyses using digital human figure models, only the terminal or apparently most stressful posture is analyzed. For reaches from a seated position, this is generally the posture with the hand or hands at the target. However, depending on the characteristics of the tasks and the people performing them, analyzing only the terminal posture could be misleading. This possibility was examined using data from a study of the reaching behavior of people with spinal cord injury. Participants performed two-handed forward reaching tasks. These reaches were to three targets located in the sagittal plane. The terminal postures did not differ significantly between those with spinal cord injury and those without. However, motion analysis demonstrated that they employed distinct strategies, particularly in the initial phase of motion.
Technical Paper

A New Approach to Modeling Driver Reach

The reach capability of drivers is currently represented in vehicle design practice in two ways. The SAE Recommended Practice J287 presents maximum reach capability surfaces for selected percentiles of a generic driving population. Driver reach is also simulated using digital human figure models. In typical applications, a family of figure models that span a large range of the target driver population with respect to body dimensions is positioned within a digital mockup of the driver's workstation. The articulated segments of the figure model are exercised to simulate reaching motions and driver capabilities are calculated from the constraints of the kinematic model. Both of these current methods for representing driver reach are substantially limited. The J287 surfaces are not configurable for population characteristics, do not provide the user with the ability to adjust accommodation percentiles, and do not provide any guidance on the difficulty of reaches that are attainable.
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.
Technical Paper

Exertion-Driven Strength Modeling of the Shoulder

This study begins the exploration of the relationship between shoulder external moments and perceived exertion levels for submaximal delivery tasks. Twenty subjects were recorded while performing hand load movement tasks to specified targets. After each exertion, subjects were asked to rate the effort required to perform the task. The recorded motion profiles were processed using a biomechanical upper extremity model, from which resultant external shoulder moments were calculated. Average resultant shoulder moments, stratified by exertion level, were also calculated. Several individual subject moment/exertion profiles showed identifiable trends. It was demonstrated that while no strong relationships exist for individual task exertion effort prediction based on resultant shoulder moments, there is a general trend in the overall data sample, as is shown by a high correlation between mean integrated resultant shoulder moment by exertion level and exertion levels.
Technical Paper

Modifying Motions for Avoiding Obstacles

Interference between physical objects in the workspace and the moving human body may cause serious problems, including errors in manual operation, physical damage and trauma from the collision, and increased biomechanical stresses due to movement reorganization for avoiding the obstacles. Therefore, a computer algorithm to detect possible collisions and simulate human motions to avoid obstacles will be an important tool for computer-aided ergonomics and optimization of system design in the early stage of a design process. In the present study, we present a method of modifying motions for obstacle avoidance when the object intrudes near the center of the planned motion. We take the motion modification approach, as we believe that for a certain class of obstacle avoidance problems, a person would modify a pre-planned motion that would result in a collision to a new one that is collision-free, as opposed to organizing a totally unique motion pattern.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Effort Perception in Lifting and Reaching Tasks

Although biomechanics models can predict the stress on the musculoskeletal system, they cannot predict how the muscle load associated with exertion is perceived. The short-term goal of the present study was to model the perception of effort in lifting and reaching tasks. The long-term goal is to determine the correlation between objective and subjective measures of effort and use this information to predict fatigue or the risk of injury. Lifting and reaching tasks were performed in seated and standing situations. A cylindrical object and a box were moved with one hand and two hands, respectively, from a home location to shelves distributed in the space around the subject. The shoulder and torso effort required to perform these tasks were rated on a ten point visual analog scale.
Technical Paper

Simulating Reach Motions

Modeling normal human reach behavior is dependent on many factors. Anthropometry, age, gender, joint mobility and muscle strength are a few such factors related to the individual being modeled. Reach locations, seat configurations, and tool weights are a few other task factors that can affect dynamic reach postures. This paper describes how two different modeling approaches are being used in the University of Michigan Human Motion Simulation Laboratory to predict normal seated reaching motions. One type of model uses an inverse kinematic structure with an optimization procedure that minimizes the weighted sum of the instantaneous velocity of each body segment. The second model employs a new functional regression technique to fit polynomial equations to the angular displacements of each body segment. To develop and validate these models, 38 subjects of widely varying age and anthropometry were asked to perform reaching motions while seated in simulated vehicle or industrial workplace.
Technical Paper

Development of Dynamic Simulation Models of Seated Reaching Motions While Driving

A research effort was initiated to establish an empirical data base and to develop predictive models of normal human in-vehicle seated reaching motions while driving. A driving simulator was built, in which a variety of targets were positioned at typical locations a driver would possibly reach. Reaching motions towards these targets were performed by demographically representative subjects and measured by a state-of-the-art motion analysis system. This paper describes the experiment conducted to collect the movement data, and the new techniques that are being developed to process, analyze, and model the data. Some initial findings regarding the role of torso assistive motion, the effect of speed used in completing a motion on multi-segment dynamic postures, and illustrative results from kinematic modeling are presented.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Tolerance of the Cranium

The objective of the study was to investigate the biomechanical response of the intact cranium. Unembalmed human cadavers were used in the study. The specimens were transected at the base of the skull leaving the intracranial contents intact; x-ray and computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained. They were fixed in a specially designed frame at the auditory meatus level and placed on the platform of an electrohydraulic testing device via a six-axis load cell. Following radiography, quasistatic loading to failure was applied to one of the following sites: frontal, vertex, parietal, temporal, or occipital. Retroreflective targets were placed in two mutually orthogonal planes to record the localized temporal kinematics. Applied load and piston displacement, and the output generalized force (and moment) histories were recorded using a modular digital data acquisition system. After the test, x-ray and CT images were obtained, and defleshing was done.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Analysis of Tractor Induced Head Injury

Head injury is a serious threat to lives of people working around farm machinery. The consequence of head injuries are costly, paralytic, and often fatal. Clinical and biomechanical data on head injuries are reviewed and their application in the analysis of head injury risk associated with farm tractor discussed. A significant proportion of tractor-related injuries and deaths to adults, as well as children, is due directly or indirectly to head injury. An improved injury reporting program and biomechanical studies of human response to tractor rollover, runover, and falls, are needed to understand mechanisms of the associated head injury.
Technical Paper

Trauma to Children in Forward-Facing Car Seats

One of the leading causes of death and disability among young children is motor vehicle accidents. Although current child restraint systems (car seats) have significantly reduced mortality and morbidity, deaths and injuries still occur. Since it is not possible to correlate human child injury potential with the biomechanical devices used for high level impact testing using experimental methods, the acquisition and analysis of specific child injury data identifiable with real world automobile crashes is critical for input to biomechanical research, anthropometric test device (ATD) development and safety standard revisions. The purpose of this study was to analyze vehicular-related trauma that had occurred to children in known crash environments based on accident configuration and car seat design.
Technical Paper

Accident Investigation and Impairment Study of Lower Extremity Injury

The automotive safety community has grown increasingly aware of the societal costs of injury impairment and disability resulting from automobile accidents. A significant portion of this impairment can be attributed to lower extremity trauma. An accident data study was conducted to determine lower extremity injury frequencies and mechanisms for restrained front-seat occupants in frontal collisions. A query of the 1988-1990 NASS (National Accident Sampling System) data provided information on pelvis, femur, knee, leg, and ankle and foot injuries. Age, gender, seating position, and delta-V were examined for their effect on the data. Lower extremity injury data were compared with injury data of similar severity (AIS ≥ 2) for the head, chest, thorax, and abdomen. The NASS data was supplemented with injury impairment information which, combined with anthropomorphic and biomechanical data, provides a prioritization scheme for the design of dummy lower extremities and instrumentation.
Technical Paper

Adult Occupant Injuries of the Lower Limb

Lower limb injuries among motor vehicle occupants are relatively common and are one of the principle causes of permanent disability. The author has reviewed the current literature and his own experience as an orthopaedic surgeon and research accident investigator concerning lower limb injuries among motor vehicle occupants. An unreported series of knee, thigh, hip, pelvis injuries with indepth accident investigation is reported. Incidence rates for specific injury diagnoses are not available. Gross tabulations reveal that lower limb injury is second only to head injury in frequency among injured motor vehicle occupants. Lower limb injuries are possibly the commonest cause of permanent disability and impairment resulting from motor vehicle accidents.
Technical Paper

Evaluating Safety Regulations, Then and Now

The FMVSS were established to provide the public with uniform safety equipment and design standards based on sound research. Ongoing evaluation is essential to maintain the effectiveness and safety of FMVSS and to ensure that current technology is incorporated in standards development. Serious injury (AIS 3 or greater) reporting by NASS should be upgraded to facilitate standards evaluation and development. Although cost effectiveness is a mandated criteria for standards evaluation, the protection of human life and limb must remain the principle criteria for measuring effectiveness. A citizen's advisory panel, similar to the NMVSAC should be established to assist NHTSA in establishing priorities for standards evaluation, development and promulgation.