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Technical Paper

The Virtual Driver: Integrating Task Planning and Cognitive Simulation with Human Movement Models

Digital human modeling has traditionally focused on the physical aspects of humans and the environments in which they operate. As the field moves towards modeling dynamic and more complex tasks, cognitive and perceptual aspects of the human's performance need to be considered. Cognitive modeling of complex tasks such as driving has commonly avoided the complexity of physical simulation of the human, distilling motor performance to motion execution times. To create a more powerful and flexible approach to the modeling of human/machine interaction, we have integrated a physical architecture of human motion (the Human Motion Simulation Ergonomics Framework—HUMOSIM) with a computational cognitive architecture (the Queueing network model human processor—QN–MHP). The new system combines the features of the two separate architectures and provides new capabilities that emerge from their integration.
Technical Paper

Validation of the Human Motion Simulation Framework: Posture Prediction for Standing Object Transfer Tasks

The Human Motion Simulation Framework is a hierarchical set of algorithms for physical task simulation and analysis. The Framework is capable of simulating a wide range of tasks, including standing and seated reaches, walking and carrying objects, and vehicle ingress and egress. In this paper, model predictions for the terminal postures of standing object transfer tasks are compared to data from 20 subjects with a wide range of body dimensions. Whole body postures were recorded using optical motion capture for one-handed and two-handed object transfers to target destinations at three angles from straight ahead and three heights. The hand and foot locations from the data were input to the HUMOSIM Framework Reference Implementation (HFRI) in the Jack human modeling software. The whole-body postures predicted by the HFRI were compared to the measured postures using a set of measures selected for their importance to ergonomic analysis.
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

Modeling Ascending and Descending Stairs Using the Human Motion Simulation Framework

The Human Motion Simulation Framework (Framework) is a hierarchical set of algorithms for predicting and analyzing task-oriented human motion. The Framework was developed to improve the performance of commercial human modeling software by increasing the accuracy of predicted motions and the speed of generating simulations. This paper presents the addition of stair ascending and descending to the Transition Stepping and Timing (Transit) model, a component of the Framework that predicts gait and acyclic stepping.
Journal Article

Distribution of Belt Anchorage Locations in the Second Row of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks

Seat belt anchorage locations have a strong effect on occupant protection. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 210 specifies requirements for the layout of the anchorages relative to the seating reference point and seat back angle established by the SAE J826 H-point manikin. Sled testing and computational simulation has established that belt anchorage locations have a strong effect on occupant kinematics, particularly for child occupants using the belt as their primary restraint. As part of a larger study of vehicle geometry, the locations of the anchorage points in the second-row, outboard seating positions of 83 passenger cars and light trucks with a median model year of 2005 were measured. The lower anchorage locations spanned the entire range of lap belt angles permissible under FMVSS 210 and the upper anchorages (D-ring locations) were distributed widely as well.
Technical Paper

Laboratory Investigations and Mathematical Modeling of Airbag-Induced Skin Burns

Although driver-side airbag systems provide protection against serious head and chest injuries in frontal impacts, injuries produced by the airbag itself have also been reported. Most of these injuries are relatively minor, and consist primarily of skin abrasions and burns. Previous investigations have addressed the mechanisms of airbag-induced skin abrasion. In the current research, laboratory studies related to the potential for thermal burns due to high-temperature airbag exhaust gas were conducted. A laboratory apparatus was constructed to produce a 10-mm-diameter jet of hot air that was directed onto the leg skin of human volunteers in time-controlled pulses. Skin burns were produced in 70 of 183 exposures conducted using air temperatures ranging from 350 to 550°C, air velocities from 50 to 90 m/s, and exposure durations from 50 to 300 ms.
Technical Paper

Effects of Seat and Sitter Dimensions on Pressure Distribution in Automotive Seats

Seat fit is characterized by the spatial relationship between the seat and the vehicle occupant’s body. Seat surface pressure distribution is one of the best available quantitative measures of this relationship. However, the relationships between sitter attributes, pressure, and seat fit have not been well established. The objective of this study is to model seat pressure distribution as a function of the dimensions of the seat and the occupant’s body. A laboratory study was conducted using 12 production driver seats from passenger vehicles and light trucks. Thirty-eight men and women sat in each seat in a driving mockup. Seat surface pressure distribution was measured on the seatback and cushion. Relevant anthropometric dimensions were recorded for each participant and standardized dimensions based on SAE J2732 (2008) were acquired for each test seat.
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

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

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

Modeling Vehicle Ingress and Egress Using the Human Motion Simulation Framework

The ease of getting into and out of passenger cars and light trucks is a critical component of customer acceptance and product differentiation. In commercial vehicles, the health and safety of drivers is affected by the design of the steps and handholds they use to get into and out of the cab. Ingress/egress assessment appears to represent a substantial application opportunity for digital human models. The complexity of the design space and the range of possible biomechanical and subjective measures of interest mean that developing useful empirical models is difficult, requiring large-scale subject testing with physical mockups. Yet, ingress and egress motions are complex and strongly affected by the geometric constraints and driver attributes, posing substantial challenges in creating meaningful simulations using figure models.
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

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

Investigation of Airbag-Induced Skin Abrasions

Static deployments of driver-side airbags into the legs of human subjects were used to investigate the effects of inflator capacity, internal airbag tethering, airbag fabric, and the distance from the module on airbag-induced skin abrasion. Abrasion mechanisms were described by measurements of airbag fabric velocity and target surface pressure. Airbag fabric kinematics resulting in three distinct abrasion patterns were identified. For all cases, abrasions were found to be caused primarily by high-velocity fabric impactrather than scraping associated with lateral fabric motion. Use of higher-capacity inflators increased abrasion severity, and untethered airbags produced more severe abrasions than tethered airbags at distances greater than the length of the tether. Abrasion severity decreased as the distance increased from 225 to 450 mm. Use of a finer-weave airbag fabric in place of a coarser-weave fabric did not decrease the severity of abrasion.
Technical Paper

Methods for Measuring and Representing Automobile Occupant Posture

Many vehicle design and safety assessment applications use physical and virtual representations of vehicle occupants within the vehicle interior. Proper use of these human models requires accurate data concerning vehicle occupant posture and position. This paper presents techniques for characterizing vehicle occupant posture by measuring accessible body landmarks. The landmark locations are used to estimate joint locations that define a kinematic linkage representation of the human body. The resulting posture analysis techniques provide a unified method of measuring and reporting vehicle occupant postures that is suitable for use with both physical and virtual human models.
Technical Paper

Modeling Population Distributions of Subjective Ratings

Most human figure models used in ergonomic analyses present postural comfort ratings based on joint angles, and present a single comfort score for the whole body or on a joint-by-joint basis. The source data for these ratings is generally derived from laboratory studies that link posture to ratings. Lacking in many of these models is a thorough treatment of the distribution of ratings for the population of users. Information about ratings distributions is necessary to make cost-effective tradeoffs when design changes affect subjective responses. This paper presents experimental and analytic methods used to develop distribution models for incorporating subjective rating data in ergonomic assessments.
Technical Paper

Automobile Occupant Posture Prediction for Use with Human Models

A new method of predicting automobile occupant posture is presented. The Cascade Prediction Model approach combines multiple independent predictions of key postural degrees of freedom with inverse kinematics guided by data-based heuristics. The new model, based on posture data collected in laboratory mockups and validated using data from actual vehicles, produces accurate posture predictions for a wide range of passenger car interior geometries. Inputs to the model include vehicle package dimensions, seat characteristics, and occupant anthropometry. The Cascade Prediction Model was developed to provide accurate posture prediction for use with any human CAD model, and is applicable to many vehicle design and safety assessment applications.
Technical Paper

Assessing the Validity of Kinematically Generated Reach Envelopes for Simulations of Vehicle Operators

Assessments of reach capability using human figure models are commonly performed by exercising each joint of a kinematic chain, terminating in the hand, through the associated ranges of motion. The result is a reach envelope determined entirely by the segment lengths, joint degrees of freedom, and joint ranges of motion. In this paper, the validity of this approach is assessed by comparing the reach envelopes obtained by this method to those obtained in a laboratory study of men and women. Figures were created in the Jack human modeling software to represent the kinematic linkages of participants in the laboratory study. Maximum reach was predicted using the software's kinematic reach-envelope generation methods and by interactive manipulation. Predictions were compared to maximum reach envelopes obtained experimentally. The findings indicate that several changes to the normal procedures for obtaining maximum reach envelopes for seated tasks are needed.
Technical Paper

Redesigning Workstations Utilizing Motion Modification Algorithm

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

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.