(a) Laser scan of an elite athlete; (b) Digitisation of the athlete’s movement using the laser scan and a markerless motion capture method

Detailed, 3D simulations of everyday activities such as eating, moving and working allows us to improve health, performance and safety without expensive and invasive measurements and, with the use of high performance computing, can be used to optimise outcomes for community, for sports, and for workplace safety.

A “Digital Human”

A digital replication of a person and their environment is built:

  • The anatomy can be sourced from laser scanning (outside of the body) or medical imaging (outside or inside of the body).
  • The mechanical and chemical behaviour of the body and the environment is measured and accurately reproduced in the model. E.g. the crunchiness and flavour release for a piece of food, the water absorption properties of the intestine, and the hardness of the ground for walking.
  • Dynamic simulations are performed to evaluate performance, health and safety without putting any people at harm and without requiring expensive and invasive experiments.
  • Many simulations can be run simultaneously to gain new insight and optimise outcomes.

Non-invasive measurements

The digital human can be investigated in great detail without most of the ethical and practical concerns associated with physical experiments:

  • Internal forces can be calculated to understand injury risk or strength requirements for movement.
  • Transport of chemicals, such as flavour compounds in the mouth, can be measured in 4D, in much greater detail than could be measured in vivo.

Markerless motion capture

Currently we are developing a real-time full body markerless motion capture system which has a number of benefits over traditional marker based systems:

  • Quicker to set up because no markers are required to be fixed to the person
  • Can be used where marker systems are impractical like during sporting competition, in aquatic environments (swimming and diving), in the workplace to assess manual handling technique and for rehabilitation in the home
  • Very scalable approach that allows capture of many people and trials, producing large volumes of data that can be statistically analysed for technique variability – under fatigue, over months/years, or across individuals

Real world outcomes

The computer models are based on measured physical and chemical data and outputs can be used to gain new understanding and optimise processes.

  • A virtual Model of an Olympic swimmer was used to assess the coach’s proposed changes to his technique. Changes to swimming speed were assessed without unnecessarily disrupting training.
  • A Software Tool has been provided to Diving Australia to allow interactive experimentation of virtual dive technique for female synchronised diving athletes heading to Rio 2016. The coaches and athletes can trial technique alterations for improved scores without compromising performance or safety.
  • A Virtual Mouth is being used to inform the redesign of healthier food for greater consumer acceptance. The modelling process is increasing the understanding of in-mouth behaviour and the effect of proposed design changes.