Partnering with VSR

The benefits to partnering with VSR go beyond the novel research and the products that this research fuels. As an integral part of The University of Iowa, VSR draws on expertise from other university groups such as the National Advanced Driving Simulator (the world’s most advanced driving simulator), the Center for Computer-Aided Design (which houses multiple modeling and simulation groups), and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (one of the largest teaching hospitals in the nation). In addition, VSR brings with it a long history of industry and military research partners, meaning that new efforts are able to leverage previously funded work. Given that the majority of the funded work ultimately integrates with the Santos software, our partners play a role in shaping the human modeling software, providing input on the ground floor.

What Makes Us Different

The VSR Program is the world’s most advanced digital human modeling laboratory and combines the leading scientists, engineers, and programmers with the ideal environment for sustained world-class research and development in the field of digital human modeling.

Our People

Linking industry to some of the brightest minds in academia, VSR is able to advance the limits of what can be done with digital human modeling and simulation on an ever-increasing scale. Our people truly make the difference and include:

  • Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek, the founder and director of the VSR program, and the director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design, has performed unprecedented research, with extensive work in the fields of real-time kinetics and robotic dynamics.
  • Dr. Jasbir Arora, associate director of the VSR Program and F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Engineering, is an international expert in numerical optimization and real-time implementation and leads our efforts in the implementation of predictive human dynamic motion simulation.
  • Dr. Salam Rahmatalla is an expert in structural optimization and human motion analysis. Dr. Rahmatalla has applied his expertise in multi-body dynamics, structural analysis and control, human motion analysis to validate predicted posture and motion, and human response to whole-body vibration.
  • Dr. Timothy Marler is the senior research scientist and works with predictive human models, developing optimization-based posture prediction capabilities and new methods and techniques for multi-objective optimization.
  • Dr. Laura Frey Law, with an extensive background in engineering and physical therapy, contributes expertise in human physiological assessment and modeling, developing joint-level models of dynamic strength and fatigue and developing novel methods to characterize propensity for injury based on repetitive human motion.
  • Dr. Jia Lu is an associate professor in the UI Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering. His research is in mechanics of soft tissue and computational mechanics. He received the National Science Foundation Career Award in 2004 and has pioneered our work in a new finite element modeling method based on non-uniform rational B-splines (NURBS).

Our Research

VSR’s human model, Santos, is the most visually realistic and the highest fidelity digital human model available. What sets Santos apart from all other currently available human models is his suite of interconnected, real-time, validated, physics-based, predictive capabilities. This sets in place the unique foundation he provides for comprehensive multi-scale human modeling. Santos is not dependent upon pre-recorded data. Rather, through the use of novel optimization-based modeling and simulation techniques, he is actually able to predict how and why humans perform.

Our Approach

VSR is unique as an academic lab in its ability to balance cutting-edge research with customer-driven, easy-to-use software with intuitive interfaces. The Santos environment has been meticulously designed and developed by a team of professional software engineers and developers with over 30 years of combined experience in the computer game industry. Consequently, VSR provides a software foundation that is scalable and future-proof.

A human is essentially a system of systems and can be accurately represented by a multi-scale model. VSR has a fundamental, validated human model ideally suited to serve as a platform for additional models of human anatomical components. This is reinforced by the software architecture and our configuration management approach. Santos is well suited to serve as the core element in a wide variety of digital human modeling research and development projects.