Biomechanical Modeling of the Human Body for Application to Wheelchair Seating Systems
wheelchair seating systems
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Honors Theses; 2016
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 preliminary 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 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 clinicians to report relevant data. Thus far, MATLAB code was written to model the human body as rigid body segments using data averaged over multiple studies of individuals. The code receives inputs of the overall height and weight of a potential wheelchair user and body angles to represent the orientation of the user in the wheelchair. The code outputs a pictorial representation of the user and the point forces associated with postural supports that act on him or her. Future work includes the elimination of included assumptions in the model and implementation of the model into OpenSim software. This research 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.
Academic Major: Mechanical Engineering
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