Body Pose Measurement System: System Validation and Range of Motion Analysis of Three Pressure Suits

TitleBody Pose Measurement System: System Validation and Range of Motion Analysis of Three Pressure Suits
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDi Capua M, Akin DL
Conference Name43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems
Date Published07/2013
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Keywordsmeasurement, pose, suits

A noninvasive system has been developed at the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory with the goal of providing a new capability for quantifying the motion of the human inside a space suit. Based on an array of six microprocessors and eighteen microelectromechanical (MEMS) inertial measurement units (IMUs), the Body Pose Measurement System (BPMS) allows the monitoring of the kinematics of the suit occupant in an unobtrusive, self-contained, lightweight and compact fashion, without requiring any external equipment such as those necessary with modern optical motion capture systems. BPMS measures and stores the accelerations, angular rates and magnetic fields acting upon each IMU, which are mounted on the head, torso, and each segment of each limb. In order to convert the raw data into a more useful form, such as a set of body segment angles quantifying pose and motion, a series of geometrical models and a non-linear complimentary filter were implemented. The first portion of this works focuses on assessing system performance, which was measured by comparing the BPMS filtered data against rigid body angles measured through an external VICON optical motion capture system and a poteniometer. By comparing the two sets of data, performance metrics such as BPMS system operational conditions, accuracy, and drift were evaluated and correlated against VICON data and potentiometer readings. After the system and models were verified and their capabilities and limitations assessed, a series of pressure suit evaluations were conducted. Three different pressure suits were used to identify the relationship between usable range of motion and internal suit pressure. This paper demonstrates that the BPMS technology is a viable alternative or companion to optical motion capture; while BPMS is the first motion capture system that has been designed specifically to measure the kinematics of a human in a pressure suit, its capabilities are not constrained to just being a measurement tool. In addition to laboratory tests with pressure suits, BPMS was deployed in the Arizona desert and used to achieve to reconstruct the path followed by a test subject. The last section of the paper is devoted to future possible uses for the system, with a specific focus on pressure suit applications such in the use of BPMS as a master control interface for robot teleoperation, as well as an input interface for future robotically augmented pressure suits.