Biomechanical Modeling of the Human Body for Application to Wheelchair Seating Systems
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Series/Report no.:2016 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. 21st
People who have physical and/or mental disabilities often require wheelchairs to conduct everyday activities. Sitting in a wheelchair for an extended period of time can cause physical injuries such as pressure ulcers, spinal degeneration, and other biomechanical health issues. Assistive seating systems are integrated into wheelchair designs with the intent that the user has correct seated posture, which generally prevents these injuries. However, it is difficult to accurately predict how a seating system is going to affect an individual user due to the multiple conditions that may affect the user. The purpose of this research is to conduct a biomechanical analysis of the human body when in a seated position, and to specifically apply this analysis to individuals with disabilities. The initial research focuses on the most common conditions and disabilities of wheelchair users, the development of static equilibrium equations and models to calculate forces and pressures on the body, the implementation of those models in MATLAB software such that they can be easily integrated into existing biomechanical simulation software, and the development of a user interface for use by medical clinicians to report relevant data. Thus far, MATLAB code was written to model the human body as rigid parts using Barter’s body segment weights. Additionally, a range of seat cushions was analyzed via pressure mapping to develop an understanding of their individual effect on pressure distribution across the body. Future work includes the addition of external forces to the human body segment model, which allows the effects of seating system variables to be accurately predicted before they are implemented. This will reduce the amount of time clinicians spend to properly fit a wheelchair to its user and will save wheelchair users money and prevent future injuries by helping them choose the correct seating system the first time.
Engineering (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)
Academic Major: Mechanical Engineering
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