We have a large array of lab-based and field-based equipment appropriate for occupational exposure assessment, movement analysis, and ergonomic measurements. This page describes our current capabilities, but we may be able to expand our capacity through collaboration.
These systems are housed within the lab and can be used for simulation studies and experimental designs.
Rotopod Programmable Vibration Robot
Our high-precision hexapod robot has 6-axes with a table capacity of approximately 1000 lbs. It is currently equipped with an ATV frame and surrounding protective cage to replicate field-based measurements of whole-body vibration collected on Saskatchewan farms. We are conducting a series of lab-based studies with the robot to determine the effects of whole-body vibration from agricultural equipment on biomechanics and human performance.
10-camera Vicon Motion Capture System & Force Measurement
We have 10 motion camera system (T40-S), 1 Bonita camera (720C), and 64 channels VICON analog to digital (A/D) interface unit. We also have a Bertec Force Plate with 2 Bertec Force Cube (PY6). It can be combined with motion capture system for gait analysis.
We have a Delsys Trigno Wireless EMG System with 12 wireless surface electrodes. A portable surface EMG system allows for non-invasive assessment of muscle activity for a wide variety of muscles and can be applied to a wide variety of work contexts. EMG provides a unique type of biomechanical assessment and no feasible alternative methods currently exist for assessing muscle activity in the field.
These systems are robust and portable and appropriate for measurement in working environments outside the lab.
I2M Inertial Sensors
We have an I2M Motion Tracking System with 12 SXT posture sensors (NexGen Ergonomics) in the size of 5 cm x 3.5 cm x 1.2 cm docking in 12 stations. The portable inertial sensor system is used for ambulatory posture and movement monitoring in occupational settings. The SXT sensors is very robust in data storage and battery life: with an 8GB RAM holding over 28 days’ worth of data, and over 16- hours battery life that allows for wirelessly monitoring more than 8 hours. TK Motion Manager and HM Analyzer are used for data analysis.
Whole-body vibration assessment system
The whole body vibration array is comprised of 8-channel DataLOG (MWX8, Biometrics Ltd.), seat accelerometers (Series 2A), tri-axial type accelerometers, BNC adapters, and a vibration calibrator. The system allows for 3-dimensional assessment of vibrations at the vehicle floor as well as at the seat to examine the vibration attenuation offered by the seat. Biometrics Data Management Software 9.0.1, Biometrics Analysis Software 9.0.1, and VATs Analysis Software are used for field-based vibration data analysis.
Hand arm vibration assessment system
The hand arm vibration system consists of the 3-axis Palm Accelerometer and 3-axis Acceleramoter.
Surface electromyography is a non-invasive tool that measures muscle activity. It has been used extensively in different disciplines of research; as means to identify motor patterns associated with pathology, to test control and reflex mechanisms, to develop muscle models, and by ergonomists as indicators of muscle tension and fatigue. The Ergonomics Laboratory is equipped with a 16 channel Delsys Trigno Wireless Surface Electromyography (EMG) system (Delsys Inc., Massachusetts, USA). Each sensor is capable of measuring electrical muscle activity at a sampling rate of 2000 Hz, and has built-in tri-axial accelerometers with selectable ranges. At full functionality, we can measure 64 channels of data (16 EMG + 48 acceleration). Data can be acquired by dedicated Delsys software (EMGworks) or alternatively through common third party data acquisition systems. In the Ergonomics Laboratory, EMG data is seamlessly synchronized with motion capture data (Vicon Motion Systems Ltd), and force transducer and platform signals, through Vicon Nexus software.
We have the CyberGlove III (CyberGlove Systems LLC, San Jose, CA) to acquire hand and wrist posture data. The glove has 18 electrogoniometers ( HyperSensorTM) embedded in a lycra fabric glove, measuring wrist flexion/extension and radioulnar deviation, transverse palmar arch, as well as finger and thumb joint flexion/extension. The sensor resolution is < 1° with a tested repeatability of < 3°. The data will be collected at 100 samples per second (Hz) and transmitted wirelessly (802.11 WiFi) to a laptop with dedicated software (MoCap Console v.5).
Mechanical force can be measured using sensitive Piezoresistive devices that convert mechanical strain to electrical resistance and given force values. The Ergonomics Laboratory has the FlexiForce A201 (A201 FSR, TekScan Inc., South Boston, MA) force sensing resistors. These thin and flexible sensors are ideal for diverse non-invasive force and pressure measurements. They are capable of measuring three force ranges: Low 4.4 N (0 - 1 lb), Medium 111 N (0 - 25 lb) and High 445 N (0 - 100 lb). Data can be acquired usingportable battery-powered data-logger (MWX8 DataLOG, Biometrics Ltd., Newport, UK) which we also have in the lab. These force sensors can be used to measure handgrip forces when workers interact with tools.
We have 2 Sony SX45 SD Camcorders with spare high capacity batteries, chargers, memory cards, and monopods for filming working exposures. Video data can be analyzed later in Noldus observer and Nvivo 10 software.
Collaborate with us!
Our mandate is to advance knowledge in ergonomics and musculoskeletal health, and we are happy to work with you on these goals. We can provide:
- methodological expertise to design data collection protocols
- technical expertise to process and analyze data
- methodological descriptions and budget estimates (funds or in-kind) for grant applications