The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Use of geometric data in human factors and ergonomic applications


1Anthropology, US Army Natick Soldier RDEC, 2Biosciences, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 3Human Sciences, Infoscitex, 4Human Performance, US Air Force Research Laboratory

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Human factors and ergonomics (HFE) studies seek to match capabilities of people to products and task. Typically, emphasis is on product or task design, but understanding user population form is also important. The application of geometric methods in HFE differs from usual explorations in physical anthropology. In HFE, both size and shape differences matter. Analysis seeks to characterize variation within a population rather than quantifying differences between populations. We used 3D scans from the CAESAR dataset to examine female anterior torso form (size and shape) for a personal protection application. For a human modeling application, seated torso scans were used to generate models for virtual fitting trials of an office chair. In both examples, scan data were sampled to reduce the number of mesh vertices and to establish correspondence between vertices and anatomy.

Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on the mesh data. Analysis of anterior torso form found differences along PC1 to be largely in girth, PC2 contrasted girth and torso height, and PC3 found differences mostly in chest/abdomen form. For the seated torso models, PCA scores were regressed against stature and BMI. Stature and BMI were then used to generate synthetic torso models for office chair evaluation.

The use of geometric-based analysis is relatively new in HFE and has the potential to greatly influence the analysis of body form. In the future, we will be investigating differences in body size and shape in more realistic dynamic postures.

Approved for public release by the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, U12-429.

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