Center for Human Modeling and Simulation

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

June 1999


Postprint version. Published in International Space Human Factors Workshop, June 1999, 9 pages.


Working and training for space activities is difficult in terrestrial environments. We approach this crucial aspect of space human factors through 3D computer graphics dynamics simulation of crewmembers, their tasks, and physics-based movement modeling. Such virtual crewmembers may be used to design tasks and analyze their physical workload to maximize success and safety without expensive physical mockups or partially realistic neutral-buoyancy tanks. Among the software tools we have developed are methods for fully articulated 3D human models and dynamic simulation. We are developing a fast recursive dynamics algorithm for dynamically simulating articulated 3D human models, which comprises kinematic chains - serial, closed-loop, and tree-structure - as well as the inertial properties of the segments. Motion planning is done by first solving the inverse kinematic problem to generate possible trajectories, and then by solving the resulting nonlinear optimal control problem. For example, the minimization of the torques during a simulation under certain constraints is usually applied and has its origin in the biomechanics literature. Examples of space activities shown are zero-gravity self orientation and ladder traversal. Energy expenditure is computed for the traversal task.


dynamic simulation, 3D computer graphics simulation, articulated body, human model, optimal control, motion planning



Date Posted: 11 July 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.