Whole Body Vibration

Demonstration of MOOG motion platform used for whole body vibration studies. (1:32)

Overview / Introduction

The 3D Bio-Motion Research Lab at the Center for Computer Aided Design at The University of Iowa hosts a six-degree-of-freedom man-rated Moog-FCS motion platform (Army Research Office-DURIP award (2007)) that can play back field ride files of heavy machinery inside the lab with a high degree of accuracy.



Chronic whole-body vibration (WBV) exposure, as expected in large military, construction, and agriculture vehicles, has been associated with neck and back pain and injury. The 3DBMRL is collaborating with industry on a long-term project to study human response to WBV with the objective of modifying the working environment and avoiding possible human pain or injury. In the first stage of this project, experiments have been conducted on human subjects under WBV scenarios. The resulting data are used to drive a computer human model, through which various joint torques and stresses on the lumbar area of the spine and the neck region can be found. The next phase of the project is to develop predictions for WBV environments using the Santos model.

The MOOG-FCS motion platform in the 3DBMRL can also be used to construct to-scale models of vehicles and cabs to study the placement of foot and hand brakes, seat belts, and glove boxes with force and displacement measures. The resulting kinematics and kinetics is applicable in minimizing the risk of pain and injury resulting from in-vehicle design.

Methods / Current Research

The following figure shows the process of (a) collecting WBV data, (b) post -processing the motion capture data using Vicon software, (c) using the data to drive a computer human model to calculate joint torques and stresses, and (d) animating Santos in the WBV environment.


Ongoing Work

The 3DBMRL has significant interest in adapting the Santos discomfort evaluation for WBV scenarios to aid in pain and injury prevention in agricultural, industrial, and military environments.

Contact Info


Related Publications

  1. S. Rahmatalla, M. Contratto, T. Xia, J. LI, G. Kopp, “A Framework to Study Seated Human Biomechanics in Whole-Body Vibration,” in review, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 2008.
  2. S. Rahmatalla, T. Xia, M. Contratto, G. Kopp, D. Wilder, L. Frey-Law, James Ankrum “3D Motion Capture Protocol for Seated Operators in Whole Body Vibration,” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics38, pp. 425-433, 2008.
  3. S. Rahmatalla, T. Xia, M. Contratto, D. Wilder, L. Frey-Law, G. Kopp, N. Grosland, “3D Displacement, Velocity, and Acceleration of Seated Operators in a Whole Body Vibration Environment using Optical Motion Capture Systems,” The Ninth International Symposium on the 3-D Analysis of Human Movement, Valenciennes (France), June 28-30, 2006.