SantosHuman, Inc., a spinoff company that grew out of ongoing research at the University of Iowa, recently announced the release of a new plug-in module to its line of virtual human modeling and simulation software. Santos® Arm’s Force Field provides SantosHuman’s clients with the only existing way to access the most accurate, validated method to predict manual arm strength available today.

“What do you do in your daily life that doesn’t involve your hands?” said Steve Beck, President and CEO of SantosHuman. “We now have a module that allows engineers and designers to look specifically at exertions of the hand over a broad range of movements and forces, and obtain a highly accurate and validated means of saying, ‘If we’re going to ask people to perform a task, this is what that task represents with regards to exposure to risk of injury.”

Based on over 12 years of research by Emeritus Professor Jim Potvin and Professor Nicholas La Delfa at McMaster University, the Santos® Arm’s Force Field method is currently available within the latest version of Santos® Pro and will also be bundled with the soon-to-be-released product, Santos® Lite. 

"Most ergonomics software packages predict manual arm strength based on a number of assumptions that I was not comfortable with,” said Potvin. “Nick and I took a different approach and our method makes estimates that closely match empirical data from the large number of conditions we have studied in my lab.”

“Jim and his team have done incredible work in this and many other related areas,” said Beck. “They contacted us looking for a flexible digital human modeling platform that could accommodate the results of their research. Our software architecture and team of experts allowed us to quickly put this critical new capability into the hands of those who need it.”

Santos® virtual human modeling is the only software on the market that can predict human performance based on the physics of the human body. This includes human strength, fatigue and flexibility but also accounts for external factors such as environment, clothing and gender. 

“Because Santos® technologies represent a first-principles approach to virtual human-in-the-loop simulation, our capabilities are very flexible,” said Beck. “It doesn’t matter what the human-centric design problem is. Our technologies make it possible to go after those problems.”

Applications of SantosHuman’s state-of-art products include: virtual predictive models of how consumers will grasp and maneuver new packaging designs, analysis of potential occupant issues in the next generation of aerospace vehicles, virtual trade-off analysis of dismounted Warfighter equipment designs prior to deployment in expensive and time-consuming field trials, and identifying opportunities to reduce the risk of injury for assembly line operators using a comprehensive suite of ergonomics and human factors analysis capabilities. 

The Santos® Arm’s Force Field plug-in speaks directly to a significant need for an accurate, validated solution to this last example as it is estimated that every year in the United States, 4.1 million workers suffer a job related injury or illness that costs US employers between $50-$70 billion dollars in compensation alone. In addition, one of the greatest causes of lost days for Warfighters is due to accidents and musculoskeletal injuries involving the use of their equipment.

“There are growing discussions about health care costs, advances with manufacturing in the United States, and whether or not technology really helps individual workers,” said Dr. Tim Marler, Chief Research Officer at SantosHuman. “Socially, there’s always a need to help reduce injuries and make people’s lives better. Technically, there’s a growing need for integrated and linked models that help address more complex problems. Release of Santos® Arm’s Force Field addresses both of these needs, and it’s exciting to move forward in these regards.”

On the product development side, Beck said SantosHuman technologies allows clients to virtually simulate human product interaction to reduce the need for hugely expensive prototypes.

“Every company’s success is tied to providing greater customer satisfaction through products that can be brought to marker sooner and less expensively,” said Beck. “One of the critical components for this is virtual human modeling and simulation, and SantosHuman’s products are leading the way forward.”

Founded in 2008, SantosHuman is headquartered in the UI Research Park’s BioVentures Center and was born out of research and development at the UI College of Engineering’s Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) Program, which began in 2003. While research in virtual human modeling and simulation continues at Virtual Soldier Research, SantosHuman has the exclusive license with the University of Iowa’s Research Foundation within the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development to commercialize all Santos®-related technologies. SantosHuman clients include some of the most recognizable brands in the world.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at http://research.uiowa.edu, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.