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Horst Behncke

The influence of altitude, wind, and track curvature is studied on the basis of a simple biomechanical model. The results are compared with some data from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Munich, and Mexico City. The influence of these factors is found to be considerably larger than the current precision in the measurement of records.

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Mark L. McMulkin, Jeffrey C. Woldstad and Richard E. Hughes

Biomechanical optimization models are often used to estimate muscular and intervertebral disc forces during physical exertions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an optimization-based biomechanical model predicts torso muscular activity of males and females equally well. The Minimum Intensity Compression (MIC) model, which has been extensively applied in industrial ergonomic task analysis, was used to estimate muscle forces for 3D moments. Participants (6 M, 6 F) performed 18 isometric exertions resisting 3D L3/L4 moments while electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded for 8 muscles. Overall, model force estimates correlated better with male EMG activity (R 2 = 0.43) than with female EMG activity (R 2 = 0.33). Model force estimates of 4 muscles (LRA, RRA, REO, and RES) correlated better with male EMG activity than with female EMG. We conclude that trunk muscle forces estimated by current biomechanical modeling do not correlate equally well to male and female EMG activity. Future research needs to address validation or improvement of biomechanical trunk models for females.

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Mohammad A. Nazari, Pascal Perrier, Matthieu Chabanas and Yohan Payan

On the basis of simulations carried out with a finite element biomechanical model of the face, the influence of the muscle stress stiffening effect was studied for the protrusion/rounding of the lips produced with the Orbicularis Oris (OO). It is shown that the stress stiffening effect influences lip shape. When stress stiffening is modeled, the variation in the crucial geometrical characteristics of the lips shows a clear saturation effect as the OO activation level increases. Similarly, for a sufficient amount of OO activation, a saturation effect is observed when stiffening increases. In both cases, differences in lip shaping associated with the absence or presence of stiffening have consequences for the spectral characteristics of the speech signal obtained for the French vowel /u/. These results are interpreted in terms of their consequences for the motor control strategies underlying the protrusion/rounding gesture in speech production.

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Andrea Biscarini

We have developed a 2-D analytical biomechanical model for monoarticular open kinetic-chain exercises with lever selectorized equipment, and different relative placement between the joint center of rotation (J) and the center of rotation (C) of the resistance input lever (“off-center” exercises). All the relevant geometrical aspects of such exercises have been characterized: the change with the joint angle of the distance between the resistance pad (P) and J, and of the angle between CP and JP (i.e., the angle between the resistance input lever and the exercising limb). These changes may strongly affect the joint load and the muscle torque in inverse dynamic problems, given the joint kinematics and the mass of the selected weight stack. Therefore, the muscle torque, the shear and axial components of the joint load have been calculated analytically as a function of the relative positioning of C and J, and the length CP, in addition to the parameters that define the joint kinematics, the equipment mechanics, and the external load. From these results we have derived the optimal cam profiles for “off-center” exercises, as well as the geometrical “off-center” setting that minimizes the shear component of the tibiofemoral joint load in leg extension equipment.

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Bhupinder Singh, Thomas D. Brown, John J. Callaghan and H. John Yack

During seated forward reaching tasks in obese individuals, excessive abdominal tissue can come into contact with the anterior thigh. This soft tissue apposition acts as a mechanical restriction, altering functional biomechanics at the hip, and causing difficulty in certain daily activities such as bending down, or picking up objects from the floor. The purpose of the study was to investigate the contact forces and associated moments exerted by the abdomen on the thigh during seated forward-reaching tasks in adult obese individuals. Ten healthy subjects (age 58.1 ± 4.4) with elevated BMI (39.04 ± 5.02) participated in the study. Contact pressures between the abdomen and thigh were measured using a Tekscan Conformat pressure-mapping sensor during forward-reaching tasks. Kinematic and force plate data were obtained using an infrared motion capture system. The mean abdomen-thigh contact force was 10.17 ± 5.18% of body weight, ranging from 57.8 N to 200 N. Net extensor moment at the hip decreased by mean 16.5 ± 6.44% after accounting for the moment generated by abdomen-thigh tissue contact. In obese individuals, abdomen-thigh contact decreases the net moment at the hip joint during seated forward-reaching activities. This phenomenon should be taken into consideration for accurate biomechanical modeling in these individuals.

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Volker Nolte

The purpose of this investigation was to clarify the effects of blade design and oar length on performance in rowing. Biomechanical models and equations of motion were developed to identify the main forces that affect rowing performance. In addition, the mechanical connection between the propelling blade force and the force that the rower applies on the handle was established. On this basis it was found that the blade design and oar dimensions play a significant role on the rowing performance. While rowers have found empirically that larger and/or hydrodynamically more efficient blade shapes need to be rowed with shorter oars, this article explains this tendency from a biomechanical point of view. Based on the presented evidence, it can be concluded that shorter oars will allow rowers to improve the propelling forces without increasing the handle forces. These findings explain tendencies that started with the introduction of new blade shapes in 1991. A 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA was used to test the significance of the oar shortenings that occurred with the introduction of larger blade surfaces while international record times improved during all those years. Consequently, the findings of this investigation encourage coaches to further experiment with shorter oars and oar manufacturers to continue their blade development that would lead to even shorter oars, with the goal of continuous rowing performance improvements.

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Heon-Jeong Kim and Bernard J. Martin

Simulation of human movements is an essential component for proactive ergonomic analysis and biomechanical model development (Chaffin, 2001). Most studies on reach kinematics have described human movements in a static environment, however the models derived from these studies cannot be applied to the analysis of human reach movements in vibratory environments such as in-vehicle operations. This study analyzes three-dimensional joint kinematics of the upper extremity in reach movements performed in static and specific vibratory conditions and investigates vibration transmission to shoulder, elbow, and hand along the body path during pointing tasks. Thirteen seated subjects performed reach movements to five target directions distributed in their right hemisphere. The results show similarities in the characteristics of movement patterns and reach trajectories of upper body segments for static and dynamic environments. In addition, vibration transmission through upper body segments is affected by vibration frequency, direction, and location of the target to be reached. Similarities in the pattern of movement trajectories revealed by filtering vibration-induced oscillations indicate that coordination strategy may not be drastically different in static and vibratory environments. This finding may facilitate the development of active biodynamic models to predict human performance and behavior under whole body vibration exposure.

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Raymond C.Z. Cohen, Paul W. Cleary, Simon M. Harrison, Bruce R. Mason and David L. Pease

The purpose of this study was to determine the pitching effects of buoyancy during all competitive swimming strokes—freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, and breaststroke. Laser body scans of national-level athletes and synchronized multiangle swimming footage were used in a novel markerless motion capture process to produce three-dimensional biomechanical models of the swimming athletes. The deforming surface meshes were then used to calculate swimmer center-of-mass (CoM) positions, center-of-buoyancy (CoB) positions, pitch buoyancy torques, and sagittal plane moments of inertia (MoI) throughout each stroke cycle. In all cases the mean buoyancy torque tended to raise the legs and lower the head; however, during part of the butterfly stroke the instantaneous buoyancy torque had the opposite effect. The swimming strokes that use opposing arm and leg strokes (freestyle and backstroke) had smaller variations in CoM positions, CoB positions, and buoyancy torques. Strokes with synchronized left-right arm and leg movement (butterfly and breaststroke) had larger variations in buoyancy torques, which impacts the swimmer’s ability to maintain a horizontal body pitch for these strokes. The methodology outlined in this paper enables the rotational effects of buoyancy to be better understood by swimmers, allowing better control of streamlined horizontal body positioning during swimming to improve performance.

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Andrea Biscarini, Fabio M. Botti and Vito E. Pettorossi

We developed a biomechanical model to determine the joint torques and loadings during squatting with a backward/forward-inclined Smith machine. The Smith squat allows a large variety of body positioning (trunk tilt, foot placement, combinations of joint angles) and easy control of weight distribution between forefoot and heel. These distinctive aspects of the exercise can be managed concurrently with the equipment inclination selected to unload specific joint structures while activating specific muscle groups. A backward (forward) equipment inclination decreases (increases) knee torque, and compressive tibiofemoral and patellofemoral forces, while enhances (depresses) hip and lumbosacral torques. For small knee flexion angles, the strain-force on the posterior cruciate ligament increases (decreases) with a backward (forward) equipment inclination, whereas for large knee flexion angles, this behavior is reversed. In the 0 to 60 degree range of knee flexion angles, loads on both cruciate ligaments may be simultaneously suppressed by a 30 degree backward equipment inclination and selecting, for each value of the knee angle, specific pairs of ankle and hip angles. The anterior cruciate ligament is safely maintained unloaded by squatting with backward equipment inclination and uniform/forward foot weight distribution. The conditions for the development of anterior cruciate ligament strain forces are clearly explained.

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Luigi Baratto, Pietro G. Morasso, Cristina Re and Gino Spada

In order to identify useful guidelines for the clinical practitioner as regards the use of static posturographic analysis, we collected a set of posrurograms from 3 groups of participants (normal participants. Parkinsonian patients, and osteoporotic patients), according to the Romberg test. From each posturogram, we extracted global parameters (in the time domain and frequency domain) and structural parameters (based on diffusion plots and sway-density plots), with a total of 38 parameters. The discriminative power of each parameter was evaluated by means of statistical analysis in relation to the condition effect (open vs. closed eyes) and the pathology effect (normal participants vs. patients). The initial set of 38 parameters was reduced to 24 by identifying clear redundancies, and then to 18 by eliminating the parameters that did not pass the condition effect with normal participants. These parameters were analyzed for reliability and discriminative power in the general framework of a biomechanic model of postural stabilization. At the end of this analysis, we suggested that a set of 4 parameters is particularly valuable in the clinical practice: 2 global parameters (sway-path and frequency band of the posturogram) and 2 structural parameters (mean value of peaks and mean inter-peak distance in the sway-density plots).