3D modeling of the human upper limb including the biomechanics of joints, muscles and soft tissues

The challenge in virtual human modeling is to achieve the representation of the main human characteristics with as much realism as possible. Such achievements would allow the simulation and/or analysis of many virtual situations involving humans. Simulation is especially useful to derive information from the models so as to predict and/or reproduce the behaviors that would be observed in real situations. Computer methods in visualization and simulation have thus great potential for advances in medicine. The processes of strength generation and motion coordination are some of these phenomena for which there is still much remaining to be understood. The human shoulder is also probably the articulation of the human body which deserves more than any other to be named "terra incognita". Investigations towards the biomechanical modeling and simulation of the human upper limb are therefore presented in this study. It includes thorough investigation into the musculoskeletal anatomy and biomechanics of the human upper limb, into the biomechanical constitutive modeling of muscles and soft tissues, and into the nonlinear continuum mechanics and numerical methods, especially the incremental finite element methods, necessary for their simulation. On this basis, a 3-D biomechanical musculoskeletal human upper limb model has been designed using the Visible Human Data provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and applied to the dynamic musculoskeletal simulation of the human upper limb. This research has been achieved in the context of the EU ESPRIT Project CHARM, whose objective has been to develop a comprehensive human animation resource database and a set of software tools allowing the modeling of the human complex musculoskeletal system and the simulation of its dynamics, including the finite element simulation of soft tissue deformation and muscular contraction. An investigation towards the application of this knowledge for the realistic modeling and animation of the upper limb in computer animation is then presented. The anatomical and biomechanical modeling of the scapulo-thoracic constraint and the shoulder joint sinus cones are proposed and applied to the realistic animation, using inverse kinematics, of a virtual skeleton and an anatomic musculoskeletal body model.

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