VSR in the News

State-of-the-art research and technology has given VSR an edge over the competition to receive many well-known grants and scholarships.

VSR Publishes New Book

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Goerdt Receives Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award

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Marler, Bhatt Named Assistant Directors at VSR

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Abdel-Malek Receives 2012 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

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VSR Featured in Daily Iowan Article

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UI Publication Features VSR's Military Advisor

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Engineering Showcases STEM Efforts to Iowa Lt. Governor

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VSR Featured in Federal Computer Week

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KGAN-TV: Virtual Soldier Winning the War in Iowa City

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BTN Program Showcases UI Virtual Soldier

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Professors Kregel and Stauss Join CCAD

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Abdel-Malek Named Engineering Society Fellow

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Press-Citizen: Digital Humans Have Practical Uses

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International Society for Human Simulation Holds First Conference

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Knake receives Collegiate Scholarship

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Virtual Soldier Research program wins U.S. Navy contract

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Knake featured in December 2010 ICRU newsletter

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Publication in the Journal of Biomechanics

An article about Santos' human asymmetric gait model was published in the Journal of Biomechanics Read More »

UK blog commenting on Santos

Read the interest a blog in the UK has about Santos and his involement in the U.S. Department of Defense and Ford. Read More »

Santos mentioned in Ohio's Blade

Santos was mentioned in Toledo Ohio's Blade. Read More »

Santos featured in Computer Graphics World

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Ford Recruits Virtual Soldier to Boost Quality

DEARBORN, Mich., May 18, 2010 – The new guy on the Ford Motor Company assembly line is an inexhaustible tough guy with impeccable military and academic credentials. His name is Santos, a highly realistic virtual worker who doesn't just simulate motion; he records the actual physical strains of reaching, lifting and stretching. He can execute tasks autonomously. He can walk, talk and answer questions. Originally created for the U.S. Department of Defense at the University of Iowa as part of the Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) program to help reduce physical strain on soldiers, Santos has been heralded by ergonomists as a breakthrough in digital modeling. Santos' move from the virtual battlefield to the virtual assembly line is the latest step in Ford's efforts to improve ergonomics at its manufacturing plants. "Creating the safest and most ergonomic way to build a vehicle is a trial-and-error process – in recent years technology has allowed this process to happen in the virtual world," said Allison Stephens, ergonomics technical specialist with Vehicle Operations Manufacturing Engineering. "Santos takes this to a new level. He can perform a task and tell us whether over months and years it will cause back strain, for example, and we can make adjustments until we find the optimal way to get the job done." Santos builds on the company's use of digital avatars – dubbed Jack and Jill – that help Ford test ergonomics and safety on the assembly line in the virtual world. Santos goes further by allowing Ford to understand the true strain on the body when performing actions on the job. "It's very cool in the ergo world that we can evaluate these types of movements, these lifts where you're using acceleration, or momentum – what we call the dynamics of a lift," Stephens said. When Stephens heard about the research being done with Santos in VSR program, she was immediately intrigued. "The same issue is at work at Ford as in the military – how to analyze human limits with dynamic motion. Santos, with his capability in predictive dynamics, will aid in increasing efficiency as well as safety and quality." Santos is the culmination of years of study in modeling, multi-body dynamics and robotics, said Jay Johnson, CEO of SantosHuman Inc., which works in conjunction with the University of Iowa. "Our software uses a physics platform," Johnson said. "We can change things and see the effect; that's what predictive dynamics brings to the table." Predictive dynamics uses general rules of human body movement combined with complex mathematical models and robotics to enable Santos to provide feedback on fatigue, speed, strength and torque, even as the parameters of the virtual environment change, said Tim Marler, a VSR senior research scientist. Because Santos has been equipped with a complete biomechanical muscular system, he is subject to all the laws of physics, Marler said. "This software is a new experience – you can get feedback. You can see body strength in real time. You can see fatigue. When you have that ability to see motion, to predict motion, you can work that into your designs and programs." The Department of Defense has been working with the University of Iowa since 2004; Ford began working with the university three years ago. Stephens formed a collaboration with GM and Chrysler to share funding, with each automotive group paying $500,000 over the past three years. The federal government has put in approximately $10 million toward development. Santos is still in the testing phase, Stephens said, but when he comes on board, he will help Ford continue to move forward in the field of ergonomics. "The human body is amazing, and we're always learning something new," Stephens said. "The better we understand the human body, the better we can create a safer, ergonomically correct workplace." Read More »

Knake Receives Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award

Lindsey Knake, an undergraduate researcher at VSR, has been selected for an Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. The award, which will be presented at the Spring Undergraduate Research forum later this month, provides a $1,000 allowance for Knake to attend a conference in her area of study for the next academic year. Read More »

VSR Presents to NASA

On 14 January, 2010, representatives from the Virtual Soldier Research Program conducted a presentation to the NASA Technical Authorities at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. VSR had been invited to present by NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The briefing focused on the applicability of VSR’s SantosTM digital human modeling and simulation environment to ongoing research and development efforts at NASA in support of the Constellation Program, and other related NASA efforts. Specific demonstrations and discussions focused on the use of SantosTM to simulate and model crew mobility and endurance in both pressurized and non-pressurized scenarios, routine and emergency astronaut ingress and egress, analysis of crew thrash/flail during flight operations with varying levels of restraint systems engaged, and to support spacesuit design and analysis. “We are very excited about the prospect of working together with NASA,” said Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek, Director of the University of Iowa Center for Computer-Aided Design and the VSR Program, “it was very satisfying to receive such interest and positive reactions from the NASA scientific staff and technical leadership team, as well as the astronauts in attendance. NASA’s design challenges represent precisely the type of complex problems that SantosTM has been developed to resolve.” Read More »

CCAD Researchers Wrote Chapter in Industrial Engineering Magazine's Book of the Month

Four CCAD researchers co-authored a chapter in a book that was selected as Book of the Month by Industrial Engineering magazine. Handbook of Military Industrial Engineering, published by CRC Press, includes the chapter “Digital Warfighter Modeling for Military Applications” by Karim Abdel-Malek, Jingzhou (James) Yang, Timothy Marler, and Jasbir Arora. Read More »

Rahmatalla Receives Grant From Department of Transportation

Salam Rahmatalla, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, received a $69,092 grant from the Department of Transportation. Read More »

Kim Accepts Faculty Position

Dr. Joo H. Kim has accepted a faculty position at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU) as assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Read More »