Physics-based seated posture prediction for pregnant women and validation considering ground and seat pan contacts

J Biomech Eng. 2012 Jul;134(7). doi: 10.1115/1.4007006. Epub 2012 Jul 13.


An understanding of human seated posture is important across many fields of scientific research. Certain demographics, such as pregnant women, have special postural limitations that need to be considered. Physics-based posture prediction is a tool in which seated postures can be quickly and thoroughly analyzed, as long the predicted postures are realistic. This paper proposes and validates an optimization formulation to predict seated posture for pregnant women considering ground and seat pan contacts. For the optimization formulation, the design variables are joint angles (posture); the cost function is dependent on joint torques. Constraints include joint limits, joint torque limits, the distances from the end-effectors to target points, and self-collision avoidance constraints. Three different joint torque cost functions have been investigated to account for the special postural characteristics of pregnant women and consider the support reaction forces (SRFs) associated with seated posture. Postures are predicted for three different reaching tasks in common reaching directions using each of the objective function formulations. The predicted postures are validated against experimental postures obtained using motion capture. A linear regression analysis was used to evaluate the validity of the predicted postures and was the criteria for comparison between the different objective functions. A 56 degree of freedom model was used for the posture prediction. Use of the objective function minimizing the maximum normalized joint torque provided an R² value of 0.828, proving superior to either of two alternative functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biophysical Phenomena*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Posture*
  • Pregnancy
  • Skeleton
  • Torque