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Virtual vehicle vibrations
Date:2/11/2013

"Sit up straight in your chair!"

That command given by countless parents to their children may one day be delivered by vehicle designers to a robot that is actually a computerized model of a long-distance truck driver or other heavy equipment operator, thanks to a University of Iowa research program.

That's because a UI researcher has designed a computer program that allows engineers to accurately predict the role posture plays in transferring the stress of vehicle motion to bone and muscle in the head and neck.

Titled "Human head-neck models in whole-body vibration: Effect of posture," the paper is published in the online Jan. 3 issue of the Journal of Biomechanics.

Lead author Salam Rahmatalla, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and research engineer at the Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) Program, a part of the College of Engineering's Center for Computer-Aided Design (CCAD), says that a computer model is needed.

"Studies have shown that awkward head-neck postures inside whole-body vibration environments can increase discomfort and the risk of injury," he says. "The goal of this project is to introduce a computerized human model that can be used to predict human motion in response to whole-body vibration when the human takes different head-neck postures."

He notes that the predicted motion data of his current model can be used to drive more sophisticated computer human modelswith muscles and internal tissuesthat can predict muscle forces and internal strain and stress between tissues and vertebrae.

Significantly, the computer program may reduce the need for actual human subjects to drive test vehicles.

"One major benefit of the current computer human model is the possibility of using it instead of humans in the design/modification loop of equipment in whole-body vibration," he says.

Rahmatalla says a wide variety of industry, university, and other re
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Contact: Gary Galluzzo
gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu
319-384-0009
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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