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Technical Paper

Predicting Force-Exertion Postures from Task Variables

2007-06-12
2007-01-2480
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

2006-07-04
2006-01-2364
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

2006-07-04
2006-01-2365
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

Predicting Foot Positions for Manual Materials Handling Tasks

2005-06-14
2005-01-2681
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.
Journal Article

Postural Behaviors during One-Hand Force Exertions

2008-06-17
2008-01-1915
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

Digital Human Modeling Goals and Strategic Plans

2008-06-17
2008-01-1933
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.
Technical Paper

Analysis and Redesign of Battery Handling using Jack™ and HUMOSIM Motions

2004-06-15
2004-01-2145
The evaluation of maintenance tasks is increasingly important in the design and redesign of many industrial operations including vehicles. The weight of subsystems can be extreme and often tools are developed to abate the ergonomic risks commonly associated with such tasks, while others are unfortunately overlooked. We evaluated a member of the family of medium-sized tactical vehicles (FMTV) and chose the battery handling from a list of previously addressed concerns regarding the vehicle. Particularly in larger vehicles, similar to those analyzed in this paper, batteries may exceed 35 kg (77 lbs). The motions required to remove these batteries were simulated using motion prediction modules from the Human Motion Simulation (HUMOSIM) laboratory at the University of Michigan. These motions were visualized in UGS PLM Solutions' Jack™ and analyzed with the embedded 3-D Static Strength Prediction program.
Technical Paper

Modeling In-Vehicle Reaches Perturbed by Ride Motion

2004-06-15
2004-01-2180
Vehicle operators are required to perform a variety of reaching tasks while the vehicle is in motion. The vibration transmitted from the terrain-vehicle coupling can prevent the operator from successfully completing the required task. The level to which vibration inhibits the completion of these tasks must be more clearly understood in order to effectively design controls and displays that minimize these performance decrements. The Ride Motion Simulator (RMS) at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) simulated single-axis and 6DOF ride motion, in which twelve participants were asked to perform push-button reaching tasks to eight RMS-mounted targets. In order to better ascertain the effects of dynamic ride motion on in-vehicle reaching tasks, we used a twelve-camera VICON optical motion capture system to record and UGS PLM Solutions’ Jack™ to analyze the associated kinematic and kinetic motions.
Technical Paper

Balance Maintenance during Seated Reaches of People with Spinal Cord Injury

2004-06-15
2004-01-2138
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

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

2004-06-15
2004-01-2137
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

Simulating Complex Manual Handling Motions Via Motion Modification: Performance Evaluation of Motion Modification Algorithm

2003-06-17
2003-01-2227
Simulation of human motions in virtual environments is an essential component of human CAD (Computer-aided Design) systems. In our earlier SAE papers, we introduced a novel motion simulation approach termed Memory-based Motion Simulation (MBMS). MBMS utilizes existing motion databases and predicts novel motions by modifying existing ‘root’ motions through the use of the motion modification algorithm. MBMS overcomes some limitations of existing motion simulation models, as 1) it simulates different types of motions on a single, unified framework, 2) it simulates motions based on alternative movement techniques, and 3) like real humans, it can learn new movement skills continually over time. The current study evaluates the prediction accuracy of MBMS to prove its utility as a predictive tool for computer-aided ergonomics. A total of 627 whole-body one-handed load transfer motions predicted by the algorithm are compared with actual human motions obtained in a motion capture experiment.
Technical Paper

Redesigning Workstations Utilizing Motion Modification Algorithm

2003-06-17
2003-01-2195
Workstation design is one of the most essential components of proactive ergonomics, and digital human models have gained increasing popularity in the analysis and design of current and future workstations (Chaffin 2001). Using digital human technology, it is possible to simulate interactions between humans and current or planned workstations, and conduct quantitative ergonomic analyses based on realistic human postures and motions. Motion capture has served as the primary means by which to acquire and visualize human motions in a digital environment. However, motion capture only provides motions for a specific person performing specific tasks. Albeit useful, at best this allows for the analysis of current or mocked-up workstations only. The ability to subsequently modify these motions is required to efficiently evaluate alternative design possibilities and thus improve design layouts.
Technical Paper

A New Approach to Modeling Driver Reach

2003-03-03
2003-01-0587
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

2003-03-03
2003-01-0589
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

Development of an Angle-time-basedDynamic Motion Modification Method

2000-06-06
2000-01-2176
In this study, an angle-time-based motion modification method was developed. This method allows the use of existing motion data by modifying them to fit new scenarios given as new initial and final posture constraints. The motion modification method can generalize an existing motion data and derive, within a portion of space, a family of motions retaining the angular velocity characteristics of the original motion. It was found that the proposed method is capable of predicting realistic human motions with various new initial and final posture constraints in a robust manner. We expect that this motion modification method provides a way of using existing motion data more flexibly and economically.
Technical Paper

Modifying Motions for Avoiding Obstacles

2001-06-26
2001-01-2112
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

2001-06-26
2001-01-2120
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

Exertion-Driven Strength Modeling of the Shoulder

2001-06-26
2001-01-2098
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

Ergonomic Problems and Improvements in Automobile Assembly Operations

1984-02-01
840038
Workers who must perform manual operations with the hands above shoulder level have increased risk of developing painful disorders of the neck and shoulder. This is a special problem in automobile assembly because of the trend toward unit body construction. Parts that operators formerly attached to a frame must now be assembled to the underbody structure. Using a special conveyor system to tilt the vehicle has been considered as a way to minimize musculoskeletal stress. Experimental trials of chassis assembly operations using a 30 degree tilt are described here. Tilting was not effective in reducing stress of overhead work. The 30 degree angle was insufficient to significantly reduce work height, and tilting frequently obscured, rather than improved, visibility. In order for tilting to be effective, it appears that a full 90 degree rotation is required, and the vehicle needs to be designed to take advantage of body tilting.
Technical Paper

Simulating Reach Motions

1999-05-18
1999-01-1916
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.
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