A possible revival of population-representing digital human manikins in static work situations - exemplified through an evaluation of a prototype console for robotic surgery
Journal article, 2021

BACKGROUND: In the 90s, digital human manikins (DHMs) were introduced in planning ofworkstations, by static or semi-static simulations. Modern DHMs can simulate dynamic work and offer a rapid way for a virtual pre-production ergonomic evaluation. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders may affect surgical performance and patient safety. A prototype of an open console, which is contrary to the conventional closed consoles and may be seen as a representative for a new generation, has been designed to reduce workload for robotic surgery surgeons. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this project was to test a new DHM tool with improved usability to evaluate the ergonomics of a console of a robotic surgical system in a pre-production stage. METHODS: The DHM tool IMMA was used together with a 3D model of the prototype console. Twelve manikins who represented females and males from two national populations were introduced. Manikin-console distances, after console adjustments per manikin, were compared with a US checklist and Swedish standard for VDU work. RESULTS: The DHM tool was useful for this case, but the distances of the checklist and the standard were needed to be obtained "manually". The automatic functions of the DHM worked smoothly but were not optimized for VDU work. The prototype fulfilled most, but not all, of the ergonomic criteria of the checklist and the standard. CONCLUSIONS: There is room for improvements of the adjustable ranges of the console prototype. DHMs may facilitate rapid pre-production evaluation of workstations for static work; if ergonomic assessment models for VDU work are built-in, there may be a revival of DHMs in static work situations.

Robotic surgery

ergonomic assessment

digital human manikin


occupational ergonomics


Ida-Märta Rhen

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Production Systems

Karolinska Institutet

Xuelong Fan

Karolinska Institutet

Magnus Kjellman

Karolinska Institutet

Mikael Forsman

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Karolinska Institutet


1051-9815 (ISSN)

Vol. 70 3 833-851

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Civil Engineering






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