The effect of lumbar support on the trunk muscle activity and pelvic tilt in a passenger vehicle car seat

Daniell, N., Paul, G., & Al-Dirini, R.M.A. (2010) The effect of lumbar support on the trunk muscle activity and pelvic tilt in a passenger vehicle car seat. In The 6th World Congress on Biomechanics (WCB), August 1-6, 2010, Singapore. (Unpublished)


In order to gain a competitive edge in the market, automotive manufacturers and automotive seat suppliers have identified seat ergonomics for further development to improve overall vehicle comfort. Adjustable lumbar support devices have been offered since long as comfort systems in either a 2-way or 4-way adjustable configuration, although their effect on lumbar strain is not well documented. The effect of a lumbar support on posture and muscular strain, and therefore the relationship between discomfort and comfort device parameter settings, requires clarification.

The aim of this paper is to study the effect of a 4-way lumbar support on lower trunk and pelvis muscle activity, pelvic tilt and spine curvature during a car seating activity. 10 healthy subjects (5 m/f; age 19-39) performed a seating activity in a passenger vehicle with seven different static lumbar support positions. The lumbar support was tested in 3 different height positions in relation to the seatback surface centreline (high, centre, low), each having 2 depths positions (lumbar prominence). An extra depth position was added for the centre position.

Posture data were collected using a VICON MX motion capture system and NORAXON DTS goniometers and inclinometer. A rigid-body model of an adjustable car seat with four-way adjustable lumbar support was constructed in UGS Siemens NX and connected to a musculoskeletal model of a seated-human, modelled in AnyBody. Wireless electromyography (EMG) was used to calibrate the musculoskeletal model and assess the relationship between (a) muscular strain and lumbar prominence (normal to seatback surface) respective to the lumbar height (alongside seatback surface), (b) hip joint moment and lumbar prominence (normal to seatback surface) respective to lumbar height (alongside seatback surface) and (c) pelvic tilt and lumbar prominence (normal to seatback surface) respective to the lumbar height (alongside seatback surface).

This study was based on the assumption that the musculoskeletal human model was seated at the correct R-Point (SgRP), determined via the occupant packaging toolkit in the JACK digital human model.

The effect of the interaction between the driver/car-seat has been investigated for factors resulting from the presence and adjustment of a 4-way lumbar support. The results obtained show that various seat adjustments, and driver’s lumbar supports can have complex influence on the muscle activation, joint forces and moments, all of which can affect the comfort perception of the driver. This study enables the automotive industry to optimise passenger vehicle seat development and design. It further more supports the evaluation of static postural and dynamic seat comfort in normal everyday driving tasks and can be applied for future car design to reduce investment and improve comfort.

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ID Code: 49291
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Lumbar Back Support, Electromyograohy, Pelvic Tilt, Posture Data, Trunk Muscle Activity
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 The Authors
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2012 03:30
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2017 17:40

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