ERGOBOSS: Ergonomic Optimization of Body-Supporting Surfaces


Published September 14, 2021

Danyong Zhao, Yijing Li, Tim Langlois, Siddhartha Chaudhuri, Jernej Barbic

Humans routinely sit or lean against supporting surfaces and it is important to shape these surfaces to be comfortable and ergonomic. We give a method to design the geometric shape of rigid supporting surfaces to maximize the ergonomics of physically based contact between the surface and a deformable human. We model the soft deformable human using a layer of FEM deformable tissue surrounding a rigid core, with measured realistic elastic material properties, and large-deformation nonlinear analysis. We define a novel cost function to measure the ergonomics of contact between the human and the supporting surface. We give a stable and computationally efficient contact model that is differentiable with respect to the supporting surface shape. This makes it possible to optimize our ergonomic cost function using gradient-based optimizers. Our optimizer produces supporting surfaces superior to prior work on ergonomic shape design. Our examples include furniture, apparel and tools. We also validate our results by scanning a real human subject's foot and optimizing a shoe sole shape to maximize foot contact ergonomics. We 3D-print the optimized shoe sole, measure contact pressure using pressure sensors, and demonstrate that the real unoptimized and optimized pressure distributions qualitatively match those predicted by our simulation.

Learn More

Research Area:  Graphics (2D & 3D)