The geometric method combines a volume and a density function to estimate body segment parameters and has the best opportunity for developing the most accurate models. In the trunk, there are many different tissues that greatly differ in density (e.g., bone versus lung). Thus, the density function for the trunk must be particularly sensitive to capture this diversity, such that accurate inertial estimates are possible. Three different models were used to test this hypothesis by estimating trunk inertial parameters of 25 female and 24 male college-aged participants. The outcome of this study indicates that the inertial estimates for the upper and lower trunk are most sensitive to the volume function and not very sensitive to the density function. Although it appears that the uniform density function has a greater influence on inertial estimates in the lower trunk region than in the upper trunk region, this is likely due to the (overestimated) density value used. When geometric models are used to estimate body segment parameters, care must be taken in choosing a model that can accurately estimate segment volumes. Researchers wanting to develop accurate geometric models should focus on the volume function, especially in unique populations (e.g., pregnant or obese individuals).
Wicke is with the Department of Health & Human Performance, Texas A&M–Commerce University, Commerce, TX. Dumas is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada.