The UN sustainability goals and the European and Swedish research agendas describe a need for efficient and effective tools and intervention methods to improve our ability to monitor and prevent disorders and diseases. European and Swedish research agendas also call for efficient digitalisation tools for the design, modelling, simulation, optimisation, visualisation, and forecasting of products and production processes, resources, systems, and factories during their life cycles.
The research and development area of virtual ergonomics, which is part of the core scientific sub-areas of the INFINIT research environment at the University of Skövde, lies within the intersection between two important and challenging needs: sustainability and digitalisation.
The core research question of the Synergy project Virtual Ergonomics is: "How can you design, realise and validate usable decision support systems and associated methods that consider physical and cognitive ergonomics as well as system performance in virtual and real environments for development and operations in industry and the health care sector?".
This core research question has been divided into three interlinked sub-areas with detailed research objectives: Physical ergonomics and system performance, Cognitive functionalities, and the Gamification of digital human modelling. The project thus has three themes that span all of these sub-areas, creating a matrix structure: Modelling behaviour and appearance, Assessment, and Interaction.
Contribution to the field
This project will help advance knowledge within the research field of virtual ergonomics as well as maintain the University of Skövde’s leading position in the field nationally while strengthening its international reputation. More specifically, the research contributions will include techniques and methods for making well-informed design decisions related to ergonomics, mainly at the virtual stages of the product realisation process, including representing human diversity, digital twin solutions, modelling and assessing cognitive ergonomics, instructing manikins from demonstrations, applying persona descriptions to manikins, and interacting with manikins in immersive virtual reality (VR).
Partners and further development
The research will be co-produced with industry partners. In order to test, demonstrate and validate the research findings, the results achieved during the project will be implemented in IPS IMMA, which is a continuously developed digital human modelling (DHM) software testbed platform. The project will be an important means of developing an integrated research and education environment for virtual ergonomics at the University, and an important contributor to the University of Skövde's overarching theme for its research and education: Digitalization for sustainable development.