Assessment of Joint Angle and Reach Envelope Demands Using a Video-Based Physical Demands Description Tool

Hum Factors. 2022 May;64(3):568-578. doi: 10.1177/0018720820951349. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


Background: Current methods for describing physical work demands often lack detail and format standardization, require technical training and expertise, and are time-consuming to complete. A video-based physical demands description (PDD) tool may improve time and accuracy concerns associated with current methods.

Methods: Ten simulated occupational tasks were synchronously recorded using a motion capture system and digital video. The tasks included a variety of industrial tasks from lifting to drilling to overhead upper extremity tasks of different cycle times. The digital video was processed with a novel video-based assessment tool to produce 3D joint trajectories (PDAi), and joint angle and reach envelope measures were calculated and compared between both data sources.

Results: Root mean squared error between video-based and motion capture posture estimated ranged from 89.0 mm to 118.6 mm for hand height and reach distance measures, and from 13.5° to 21.6° for trunk, shoulder, and elbow angle metrics. Continuous data were reduced to time-weighted bins, and video-based posture estimates showed 75% overall agreement and quadratic-weight Cohen's kappa scores ranging from 0.29 to 1.0 compared to motion capture data across all posture metrics.

Conclusion and application: The substantial level of agreement between time-weighted bins for video-based and motion capture measures suggest that video-based job task assessment may be a viable approach to improve accuracy and standardization of field physical demands descriptions and minimize error in joint posture and reach envelope estimates compared to traditional pen-and-paper methods.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; ergonomics; physical demands; posture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Posture*
  • Shoulder*
  • Upper Extremity