Maximal isometric force exertion predicted by the force feasible set formalism: application to handbraking

The aim of this study was to test the capacity of the force feasible set formalism to predict maximal force exertion during isometric handbraking. Maximal force exertion and upper-limb posture were measured with a force sensor embedded in a handbrake and an optoelectronic system, respectively. Eleven subjects participated in the experiment which consisted of exerting the maximal force in isometric conditions considering five hand brake positions relative to the seat H-point. Then, maximal force was predicted by the force feasible set obtained from an upper-limb musculoskeletal model. The root-mean-square (RMS) of the angle between measured and predicted forces was 8.4° while the RMS error (RMSE) for amplitude prediction was 95.4 N. However, predicted, and measured force amplitudes were highly correlated (r = 0.88, p < 0.05, slope = 0.97, intercept = 73.3N) attesting the capacity of the model to predict force exertion according to the subject’s posture. The implications in the framework of ergonomics are then discussed.

Practitioner summary: Maximal force exertion is of paramount importance in digital human modelling. We used the force feasible set formalism to predict maximal force exertion during handbraking from posture and anthropometric data. The predicted and measured force orientation showed a RMS of 8.4° while amplitude presented a RMSE of 95.4 N with a strong correlation (r = 0.88, p < 0.05, slope 0.97, intercept 77.3 N).