College of Engineering / Center for Occupational Safety, Ergonomics, and Injury Prevention / Research


The OSE/IP Ergonomics/Biomechanics, Human Factors, and work simulation/gait laboratories are well equipped with most data collection equipment field-capable for on-site data collection. The labs are capable of motion capture, wireless electromyography (EMG), force measurement, vision tracking, and vibration measurement. In addition, the labs are capable of environmental assessment including noise, temperature, humidity, and illumination. Measurement of subject characteristics is afforded with various strength dynamometers and anthropometry measurement devices. The gait laboratory has a 60-foot walkway with motion capture, force plates, and fall protection system for subjects. The main OSE/IP Laboratories are located in Shelby Center on the third floor.


Access our tools in Research Resources here or in the navigation menu on your left.


The main research space consists of:


The OSE/IP Library The Biomechanics Laboratory The Human Factors Engineering Laboratory The Work Simulation and Gait Laboratory
(Shelby 3323A) (Shelby 3325) (Shelby 3326) (Shelby Basement)


Our recent research projects include:


Wireless Ambulatory Inertial Sensors

Ambulatory inertial sensors (AISs) are emerging instrumentation devices that measure and report an object's orientation and motion characteristics using multiple electromechanical sensors (i.e., accelerometers, gyroscopes, and/or magnetometers). They are widely considered to provide more precise and unbiased information content for estimating occupational exposure to physical risk factors in comparison to self-report or observation-based exposure assessment methods. OSE faculty and students use these technologies to evaluate motion patterns and physical activity during various occupational activities.

Wireless Electromyography Data Acquisition System

The Noraxaon Wireless Electromyography (EMG) Data Acquisition System amplifies and filters the small bioelectrical signals that are associated with muscle activity during human movement. The OSE laboratory uses the system to evaluate muscle utilization in various occupational activities. Results of the evaluation provide the research with information concerning: (1) what muscles are used to perform the activity, (2) the timing of muscle utilization during the activity, (3) the level of force generated by the muscles during the activity. The system has a data logger that allows use in the field. The system allows eight channels of data collection and is capable of measuring heart rate, body angles, accelerations, and pressures.

The VICON Motion Capture System

The Vicon MX system is a state-of-art optical motion capture system that captures kinematic data from human motion activities. The human motion data is relayed to a computer where it is represented as position and angle-time profiles based on biomechanical linkage models. The major components of a Vicon MX system are the cameras, the controlling hardware module, the software to analyze and present the data, and a host computer to run the software. The MX system has been designed to be flexible, expandable and easy to integrate into your working environment. With a combination of MX system components you can create any size of system and link it easily to the external devices you want to use. This equipment can be used in any of the Auburn OSE/OIP Laboratories and can be used in the field. It is utilized in various research activities, including biomechanical analyses of manual materials handling activities, gait analyses, postural/motion comfort and discomfort analyses and automotive ergonomics. This equipment is utilized for undergraduate and graduate level courses, including Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 1110), Ergonomics I (INSY 7060) and Ergonomics II (INSY 7070). This equipment was recently used for a senior design project to compare various workstation layouts.

Ground Reaction Force Plates

Ground Reaction Force Plates record the magnitude and direction of forces applied to the ground (typically by the feet) during physical activities. These force plates can be integrated with the motion capture and EMG systems to allow comprehensive data collection of subject activities. The OSE laboratory uses force plates to measure the physical forces generated during manual materials handling activities (i.e., pushing, pulling, lifting, and lowering) found in occupational settings and to study gait patterns under various conditions. These devices have also been used in conjunction with the Balance Master for occupational fall research.

Anthropometry and Physical Capability Measurement

Multiple anthropometric and strength measurement devices are available in the Occupational Safety and Ergonomics laboratories. The equipment is used to collect body measurement data needed for human-compatible workstation and equipment design. The hand grip dynamometers and pinch grip gauges give accurate grip strength readings without the subject being able to "feel" the handle move. These measurement devices are used in psychophysical experiments to estimate the manual forces required to perform various manual tasks and to measure subject strength capabilities. This equipment is utilized in an undergraduate student laboratory exercise for INSY 3021. The objective of this exercise is for the student to gain practical experience in collecting anthropometric data using the appropriate equipment and proper techniques. Furthermore, the students gain an understanding of the application of this information to the design of real world items that people use. They also gain an appreciation for how individual differences in size and capability can impact workstation effectiveness.

Energy Measurement and Heart Rate Monitoring Equipment

Body Sense Media Energy measurement devices are used to estimate the energy requirements of various tasks and to assess the physical demands of workstations and work methods. The Body Sense Media devices measure thermal load, heart rate, and subject movement to provide a more accurate assessment of subject energy expenditures than heart rate alone. Currently, the Polar heart rate monitoring system is used to record cardiovascular effort required to perform various types of manual labor activities in both research and classroom demonstrations. The heart rate monitors are currently used for a student laboratory exercise in INSY 3021. The objective of this lab exercise is for students to gain an understanding of the application of work physiology concepts in the occupational setting. Further, students gain practical experience in data collections techniques, specifically heart rate monitoring and measurement.

Seat Pressure Pad

The seat pressure pad system maps and records interface pressures between any two surfaces quickly and accurately. The tactile surface pressure is displayed in real time in terms of its distribution and magnitude. By interpreting the pressure data obtained from the seat pressure pad system, a human factors engineer may determine whether or not seating pressures and support are acceptable. The equipment is currently used in for a student laboratory exercise in INSY 3021. The INSY 3021 students will perform an ergonomic evaluation of various chairs. The class gains experience using a pressure pad to collect objective measures of seating pressure distribution. Additionally, students learn to properly adjust an ergonomic chair.