Effect of human link length determination on posture reconstruction

Jared Gragg, Jingzhou (James) Yang, Aimee Cloutier, Esteban Pena Pitarch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Motion capture experiment results are often used as a means of validation for digital human simulations. Motion capture results are marker positions and joint centers in Cartesian space. However, joint angles are more intuitive and easy to understand compared to marker or joint center positions. Posture reconstruction algorithms are used to map Cartesian space to joint space by re-creating experimental postures with simulation models. This allows for direct comparison between the experimental results and digital human simulations. Besides the inherent experimental errors from motion capture system, one source of simulation error is the determination of the link lengths to be used in the simulation model. The link length errors can propagate through all simulation results. Therefore, it is critical to eliminate the link length errors. The objective of this study is to determine the best method of determining link lengths for the simulation model to best match the model to the experiment results containing errors. Specifically, the way that the link lengths are calculated in the posture reconstruction process from motion capture data has a significant effect on the recreated posture for the simulation model. Three link length calculation methods (experimental-average method, trial-specific method, and T-pose method) are developed and compared to a benchmark method (frame-specific method) for calculating link lengths. The results indicate that using the trial-specific method is the most accurate method when referring to calculating frame-specific link lengths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Digital human models
  • Link lengths
  • Motion capture
  • Posture reconstruction


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