Anthropometric diversity and consideration of human capabilities
Doctoral thesis, 2016

Contemporary product and production development is typically carried out with the support of computer tools where the design of products and workstations are originated and evaluated within virtual environments. Ergonomics addresses factors important to consider in the product and production development process to ensure a good fit between humans and the items being designed. Digital human modelling (DHM) tools enable simulations and analyses of ergonomics in virtual environments. Anthropometry is central when using DHM tools for product and production development to ensure that the design fits the intended proportion of the targeted population from a physical perspective. Several methods have been prescribed to consider the anthropometric diversity that exists within human populations. Still many DHM based simulations in product and production development processes are done with approaches that are poor in representing anthropometric diversity. Hence, there is a need for better tools and methods that would support DHM tool users to more effectively and efficiently consider anthropometric diversity in the design process. In this thesis current methods for anthropometric diversity considerations have been reviewed and new methods and functionality have been developed and implemented in a DHM tool. Mathematical models have been developed to consider three specific parts important to the consideration of anthropometric diversity: generation of suitable test cases, prediction of missing anthropometric data and implementation of more diverse anthropometric variables such as strength and flexibility. Results show that the proposed methods are accurate and advantageous compared to approaches often used in industry today. The mathematical models for generation of suitable test cases and prediction of missing anthropometric data have been implemented in an anthropometric software module. The module has undergone usability testing with industry DHM tools users. The developed anthropometric module is shown to answer to relevant needs of DHM tool users and fit into the work processes related to DHM simulations and ergonomics analyses utilised in industry today.

Human Factors




Workplace Design


Product Design


Digital Human Modelling



Virtual Development Laboratory, Hörsalsvägen 7A, Chalmers
Opponent: John Rasmussen, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark


Erik Brolin

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

Alla människor är olika, vissa är långa och vissa är korta. Vi har också olika proportioner, två personer av samma kroppslängd har troligtvis inte samma ben- eller armlängd. Det är viktigt att en produkt eller arbetsplats utformas med hänsyn till denna mångfald, vilket inte alltid är fallet idag. Samtidigt sker mer och mer av dagens produkt- och produktionsutveckling med datorprogram och digitala verktyg. Chalmers, Högskolan i Skövde och Fraunhofer-Chalmers center för industrimatematik samarbetar i ett flertal forskningsprojekt i vilka ett nytt datorprogram utvecklas som gör det möjligt att virtuellt studera om en planerad arbetsplats eller produkt är lämplig för olika människor eller behöver designas om. Avhandlingen fokuserar på utvecklingen av metoder för att kunna skapa olika digitala människomodeller som representerar den mångfald som finns när det gäller kroppsstorlek men även rörlighet och styrka. Beroende på vilken typ av produkt som utvärderas behöver olika typer av människomodeller skapas. Därför behöver de utvecklade metoderna vara flexibla och samtidigt ge exakta modeller som avspeglar människokroppen på ett korrekt sätt. Den utvecklade programvaran kommer göra det möjligt att tidigt identifiera och ändra dåligt utformade arbetsplatser och produkter och därmed minimera kostnaden för belastnings- och arbetsskador samt optimera komfort och ergonomi.

All people are different, some are long and some are short. We also have different proportions, two people of the same body length have probably not the same leg or arm length. It is important that a product or workplace is designed with regard to this diversity, which is not always the case today. At the same time more and more of today's product and production development is done with the help of computer software and digital tools. Chalmers, University of Skövde and Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics collaborates in several research projects in which a new computer software is developed which makes it possible to virtually study if a proposed product or workplace is suitable for the target group of people or needs to be redesigned. The thesis deals with the development of methods to create different digital human models representing the diversity that exists in terms of body size, but also flexibility and strength. Depending on the type of product being evaluated different types of human models should be created. Therefore, the methods developed need to be flexible while at same time provide accurate models which reflects the human body properly. The developed software will make it possible to early identify and change poorly designed workplaces and products and thus minimizing the cost of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries while optimising comfort and ergonomics.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie

Virtual Development Laboratory, Hörsalsvägen 7A, Chalmers

Opponent: John Rasmussen, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark

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