View Full Version : Re: Computer Aided Workspace Design?

Timo Leskinen
07-19-1990, 12:12 AM
Dear Biomch-l subscribers,

My colleagues Martti Launis and Jouni Lehtel"a have developed a computer-aided
design system for work place design called ergoSHAPE, which is working inside
the AutoCAD system in normal PC-AT or 386. It uses anthropometric man and woman
models which can be used to design the work-place for human needs. I include a
short description of the system written by my colleagues. The price of the
ergoSHAPE is currently 1200 US$, but educational and research institutes may
buy it for 600 $. Unfortunately I can't send any sample figures by
E-mail, but those interested may ask for further material from us.

Timo P. J. Leskinen
Institute of Occupational Health
Biomechanics Laboratory
Topeliuksenkatu 41aA
SF-00250 Helsinki
E-mail: tles@occuphealth.fi

ergoSHAPE - Two dimensional man models and ergonomic recommendations to
computer-aided design (CAD)

ergoSHAPE is an easy-to-use microcomputer-based man model system intended to
facilitate ergonomic designing of technical environments. The system has been
developed at the Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland. It is
constructed inside the AutoCAD(tm) design program, in the form of drawing
files, menu files and AutoLISP program files (AutoCAD is a registered trademark
of Autodesk, Inc.).

The system is two-dimensional for practical reasons. Two-dimensional design is
easy to perceive, easy to learn and use, and appropriate in normal design work.
The ergoSHAPE system is intented to be the designer's routine working tool.

The ergoSHAPE system consists of three parts:

- anthropometric man models, with the help of which working space can be
fitted to human dimensions

- biomechanical calculations, which enable the evaluation of postural
stress in manual material handling or in static postures

- recommendation charts, which give direct design guidelines to
particular work situations and workplaces.

Man models

180 different versions of human models have been constructed. The reason for
the great number of models is to ensure that the most suitable model can be
found for all design purposes. The models combine the following

- projection (viewing direction): left, right, top and front

- complexity (movability): fixed one-part models in typical different
working postures, models with six separate parts (trunk, head, two arm
and leg segments), or nine parts (lower and upper part of the trunk,
head, three arm and leg segments)

- basic posture: sitting and standing including some minor anthropometric

- sex: male and female

- anthropometric size: small, average and large (5th, 50th and 95th
percentiles), and a user-specified individual size.

The anthropometric data are based on Finnish, North European and North American
populations. The man models can be, however, easily linearly scaled to other

The models can be supplied with curves indicating the viewing angles,
distances, and reach zones. The models and other data can be manipulated by
built-in macro commands displayed on the screen or on the digitizing tablet.
Thus the technical use of the ergoSHAPE system does not require any special

Biomechanical calculations

The evaluation of postural stress is based on mechanical modeling of the human
body. Data concerning masses and mass centers of body parts, and of muscle
strength are restored in the program. In the actual posture with the determined
external load, the biomechanical program calculates the stress as a percentage
of the maximal static muscle strength. The percentage values can be referred to
the displayed recommendations for various situations or time ranges.

Recommendation charts

The ergoSHAPE system is supplied with schematic charts giving optimal working
zones, working heights, access dimensions etc. Because the system has been
created with the CAD program itself, the user can easily add recommendations
for particular working situations to the system. Such recommendations for e.g.
working at a table, VDT work station, location of controls in a cabin etc. are
included as examples.

Further information:
Martti Launis and Jouni Lehtel"a
Institute of Occupational Health, Section of Ergonomics
Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, 00250 Helsinki, Finland
E-Mail: jleh@occuphealth.fi