Intuitive Interface

Real-time calculation of shear and compression on the spine. (1:22)

Overview / Introduction

An intuitive interface gives its user the power to unleash the lastest research developments across a wide array of academic fields.  At VSR, our production team understands the importance of a usable interface in bringing the underlying research to life.  Our team has undergone a full design process to create an interface that provides a satisfying and productive environment that can be easily extended as the capabilities of the software grow.  Specifically, our team has developed state-of-the-art software that gives users the ability to build and manipulate a complex scene using intuitive tools.  In addition, the interface gives the user a straightforward way to create simulations involving multiple avatars utilizing posture prediction and predictive dynamics capabilities.  Our software also includes several analysis tools, including reach and comfort zones, spine shear and compression analysis, and joint torque calculations.  Our production team is working constantly to improve usability, work with users to add new features, and continuously integrate the latest research from VSR.

Methods / Current Research

The quality of the software design directly affects user satisfaction, and more importantly user efficiency and productivity.  Even the most sophisticated functionality can be rendered useless and abandoned by user frustration if the user interface is poorly designed.  In fact, even software that is originally sufficient in its design can become chaotic and tedious when the functionality of the software progresses beyond the original design.  For these reasons, the production team at VSR has carefully planned the design of the user interface and software architecture.  As the first step of the development process, an intuitive graphical user interface was designed and discussed.  Once satisfifed with the interface design, the team carefully outlined the underlying architecture and designed the details of several major systems.  From here, our production team has put full effort towards developing the base software systems, as well as integrating research as it became available.


The result of these efforts is a unique software package that can be used to simulate and analyze humans interacting with a 3D environment.  Our software allows users to create and manipulate 3D objects  as well as import custom geometry.  The environment provides a library of realistic avatars that can be added manipulated manually, or they can be posed in real-time using our predictive advanced inverse-kinematics (IK) technique.  In addition, the software includes a set of animated and predictive tasks that can be sequenced in order to simulate elaborate scenes involving multiple avatars and object interaction.  A number of analysis tools are also included, allowing users to evaluate simulations on several criteria.

Santos Environment


Predictive Stair-Climbing Simulation


Joint Angle/Velocity/Torque Analysis


Zone Differentiation For Comfort and Reach Analysis 


The Sequencer

The Sequencer allows the user to create and modify a sequence of tasks, such as posture or motion tasks, for a selected object to execute.  It has two views:  the Sequence view and the Timeline view. The Sequence view gives the user the ability to add new tasks, edit existing tasks, or change the order of tasks.  Some of these tasks, such as posture prediction, can be computed on the fly as the user is editing.  However, some tasks, such as dynamic motion prediction, can take hours to compute.  Thus, the user cannot see the results of such tasks until this computation is finished.  Computing all the tasks in a sequence is called “rendering”.  After a sequence has been rendered, it can be viewed in the Timeline view.  This view works similar to a movie player, and the user can watch the avatar move through the sequence of tasks and analyze the results. 

The Sequencer View


In the Timeline view, the user can also pause, rewind, or manually move back and forth through time as the avatar moves through the results.

The Timeline View


The timeline player has support to loop, play backwards and ping-pong. The user can also step frame by frame using the slider.

Spine Shear and Compression

The Spine Shear and Compression Analyzer calculates the total shear and compression in the back, specifically with respect to L4/L5.  Using this visualizer, the user can analyze the back shear and compression of an avatar in real-time while his posture changes or as applied loads are added or removed.  Specifically, the window displays the current moment about an avatar’s bending axis at L4/L5, the associated Single Equivalent Muscle force, the total compression, the reaction shear, and the joint shear.  Also, the user can visualize the 2D problem by displaying the sagittal plane, onto which all the applied loads considered in the analysis will be projected.  This allows the user to quickly analyze several static postures with applied loads to see how they affect spine shear and compression.

Spine Shear and Compression Analysis


Ongoing Work

Our production team is working to constantly update the software to reflect the latest research efforts at VSR.  In addition, we are continuously working with our partners to enhance the usability and stability of the existing software.

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