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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

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

Torso Kinematics in Seated Reaches

Simulations of humans performing seated reaches require accurate descriptions of the movements of the body segments that make up the torso. Data to generate such simulations were obtained in a laboratory study using industrial, auto, and truck seats. Twelve men and women reached to push-button targets located throughout their right-hand reach envelopes as their movements were recorded using an electromagnetic tracking system. The data illustrate complex patterns of motion that depend on target location and shoulder range of motion. Pelvis motion contributes substantially to seated reach capability. On padded seats, the effective center of rotation of the pelvis is often within the seat cushion below the pelvis rather than at the hips. Lumbar spine motions differ markedly depending on the location of the target. A categorization of reach targets into four zones differentiated by torso kinematics is proposed.