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Sensors 2015, 15(1), 1785-1803;

Pose Estimation with a Kinect for Ergonomic Studies: Evaluation of the Accuracy Using a Virtual Mannequin

M2S Laboratory, University Rennes 2, ENS Rennes, Avenue Robert Schuman, 35170 Bruz, France
FAURECIA Automotive Seating, ZI de Brières les Scellés, B.P. 89 91152 Etampes, France
Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, C.P. 6079, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, H3C 3A7 QC, Canada
CHU Sainte Justine de Montréal, 3175, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, H3T1C5 QC, Canada
INRIA, MimeTIC team, Campus Universitaire de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Biosensors)
PDF [4271 KB, uploaded 15 January 2015]


Analyzing human poses with a Kinect is a promising method to evaluate potentials risks of musculoskeletal disorders at workstations. In ecological situations, complex 3D poses and constraints imposed by the environment make it difficult to obtain reliable kinematic information. Thus, being able to predict the potential accuracy of the measurement for such complex 3D poses and sensor placements is challenging in classical experimental setups. To tackle this problem, we propose a new evaluation method based on a virtual mannequin. In this study, we apply this method to the evaluation of joint positions (shoulder, elbow, and wrist), joint angles (shoulder and elbow), and the corresponding RULA (a popular ergonomics assessment grid) upper-limb score for a large set of poses and sensor placements. Thanks to this evaluation method, more than 500,000 configurations have been automatically tested, which would be almost impossible to evaluate with classical protocols. The results show that the kinematic information obtained by the Kinect software is generally accurate enough to fill in ergonomic assessment grids. However inaccuracy strongly increases for some specific poses and sensor positions. Using this evaluation method enabled us to report configurations that could lead to these high inaccuracies. As a supplementary material, we provide a software tool to help designers to evaluate the expected accuracy of this sensor for a set of upper-limb configurations. Results obtained with the virtual mannequin are in accordance with those obtained from a real subject for a limited set of poses and sensor placements. View Full-Text
Keywords: Kinect; accuracy; virtual mannequin Kinect; accuracy; virtual mannequin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Plantard, P.; Auvinet, E.; Pierres, A.-S.L.; Multon, F. Pose Estimation with a Kinect for Ergonomic Studies: Evaluation of the Accuracy Using a Virtual Mannequin. Sensors 2015, 15, 1785-1803.

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