Ergonomics and Human factors

“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” – International Ergonomics Association

Ergonomics or human factors is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them. Motion capture in ergonomics is one of the technologies that enable you to design and optimize your workplace to fit your workers.

Ergonomics in practice

Ergonomics and Human Factors can be split up into Proactive ergonomics and Reactive ergonomics.

Proactive ergonomics
Proactive ergonomics (virtual design verification) concerns improving product and process while keeping in mind the human aspects, without the need to physically build the improved product or process. Virtual reality is used to visualize the rebuild and environment so the user can interact with it and the advanced functions can be measured. (Relevant topics include virtual assembly, virtual design verification, digital human modeling (DHM), training & simulation and product design.)

Reactive ergonomics
Reactive ergonomics (production line ergonomics) is concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. (Relevant topics include working postures, materials handling, biomechanics, repetitive movements, TAKT time reduction, work efficiency, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace optimization, safety and health.)

Ergonomics and Human Factors with Inertial Sensor Technology
Xsens MVN Analyze is a full-body motion analysis system with 17 inertial motion trackers. Based on a biomechanical model MVN Analyze provides 3D joint angles, body Center of Mass as well as spatial parameters such as segment position and orientation.

When doing ergonomic measurements with IMU technology, one of the first setbacks you would typically encounter were metal objects. These objects have their own magnetic field and create distortions. The Achilles heel of Inertial Motion Capture has always been body segment drift due to magnetic field distortions. Typically, metallic objects and/or electrical engines in the vicinity could cause errors and drift in the data over time, causing unusable data or the need for additional and costly post-processing.

With the new MVN engine, we are leaving drift due to magnetic distortions behind us. Due to batch processing and a new framework we are fully magnetic immune. In total 10 years of manhours went into the development of the new engine, advanced soft tissue modeling is also included. Due to this giant next step in full body motion capturing Xsens is able to ensure consistent and reliable data in any environment, so also near the production line or even inside a car.

Advantages of using Inertial Sensor technology for Ergonomics and Human Factors

  • Fast setup up times (time efficient)
  • Magnetic immunity (can be used in any environment)
  • Real-time accurate 3D Kinematics data
  • Faster than traditional measuring methods
  • Optimize workstation and reduce TAKT time
  • Improve safety and ergonomics in the workplace – without having to build it.

Read more on MVN Analyze here.


Cases for Ergonomics and Human factors

The next big automotive tool
The next big automotive tool
Taking the process out of the lab and onto the plant floor is a revolutionary step for the industry.
Capture freedom for Coventry University
Motion capture freedom
Leave the lab and capture motion anywhere, enabling faster, true-to-life and reliable results.
Building for the human world
UCSF: Building for the human world
How Xsens' inertial motion capture has revolutionized ergonomic design
Vedecom Pedestrian prediction analysis
Vedecom Pedestrian prediction analysis
Capturing pedestrian movement using kinematic measurement systems
Designing a Wearable System for Prevention of Health Care Worker Injuries
Injury prevention system
Designing a Wearable System for Prevention of Health Care Worker Injuries
Characterizing vehicle ingress and egress motion paths
Ingress & egress adaptation
Compare ingress and egress characteristics of individuals of varying age and body type
Evaluation of shoulder load in innovative order pick workstations
Order pick workstations
Evaluation of shoulder load in innovative order pick workstations
Analysis of vehicle ingress and egress
Vehicle ingress and egress
Updated: Analysis of vehicle ingress and egress by the Coventry University.
Assessment of lumbar spine forces during maneuvering of different lift devices during patient handling
Lumbar spine forces during maneuvering
Assessment of lumbar spine forces during maneuvering of different lift devices
A novel wearable measurement system for ambulatory assessment of joint loading in the occupational setting
Wearable measurement system
A wearable measurement system for ambulatory assessment by Harvard School of Public Health.

Published Papers

Quantifying performance and effects of load carriage during a challenging balancing task using an array of wireless inertial sensors

Journal Articles, Product: MTw, MVN BIOMECH

Stephen M. Cain, Ryan S. McGinnis, Steven P. Davidson, Rachel V. Vitali, Noel C. Perkins, Scott G. McLean

Read article


A Novel Approach for Researching Crossing Behavior and Risk Acceptance: The Pedestrian Simulator

Journal Articles, Product: MTw, MVN BIOMECH

Igor Doric, Anna-Katharina Frison, Philipp Wintersberger, Andreas Riener, Sebastian Wittmann, Matheus Zimmermann, and Thomas Brandmeier

Read article


Continuous ambulatory hand force monitoring during manual materials handling using instrumented force shoes and an inertial motion capture suit

Journal Articles, Product: MVN BIOMECH, Xsens ForceShoe

G.S. Faber, A.S. Koopman, I. Kingma, C.C. Chang, J.T. Dennerlein, J.H. van Dieën

Read article

View all Xsens related articles



Xsens newsletter

Signup today to stay updated on all major Xsens news and developments. Subscribe now