Models of human beings: their impacts on tomorrow’s mobility

Science topics February 2015 Road safetyHuman behaviourModelling and computer simulation

Philippe Vezin, Director of the Biomechanics and Impact Mechanics Laboratory LBMC (2007 - 2015) - Transport, health, safety Department TS2

Mobility is a societal issue. Travelling is a normal day-to-day activity which everybody wishes to be safer, more comfortable and accessible. Travelling is also an important factor of socialisation, allowing people to avoid isolation and exclusion.



Changing transport means and systems

Everyday life is changing with the rise of new modes of transportation, the arrival of the automatic or autonomous cars, the emergence of soft transport modes and the increase of the public transports’ use. Going with these changes is a major concern of the sector actors whether political, industrial or academic. 

The complexity of the system to be studied, which has absolutely to take into account the individual and theirs particularities, can only be tackled with a massive use of the numerical simulation and virtualization allowed by the increased power of informatics.



Models that take account of the complexity of being human

Modelling the human being, who is at the centre of the system, represents a real scientific challenge for us today, even if we consider only the physical and biomechanical dimension1. There is a considerable degree of morphometric variability2, as well as major physical and mechanical differences from one individual to another. These characteristics are also changing over time, as a result of ageing, or simply physiology as a result of the individual’s state of health at a given time.
Moreover, the different components that make up an individual’s physical mobility, or the various events which can occur during a journey require a variety of modelling approaches.

For this reason researchers at the LBMC3 are exploring various approaches to modelling the human being in order to provide those who require them (vehicle designers, surgeons etc.) with tools for evaluating and predicting the biomechanical behaviour of human beings. The models in question take account of both inter- and intra-individual variability.

These tools allow us to construct specific models that provide a more faithful representation of the patient. They are also of assistance in the fields of post-traumatic and pathological surgery. Other approaches may be used in order to design protective equipment or the vehicle passenger compartments (ergonomics) in order for them suitable for the largest possible number of individuals.



New tools to anticipate the travels

Each application requires its  own model. These are used throughout the travel cycle to better anticipate thereof. From simply the walk, firs mode of travel, up to the post-accident repair, the biomechanical simulation tells the story of your travel.

First of all, going to the chosen mode of transport, access and take place in the vehicle. This activity could be more ergonomics and comfortable thanks to a new design also taking into account the specific characteristics of reduced mobility people. 

The vehicle and the on-board systems, thanks to the pre-crash simulation tools, could be designed to better prevent, mitigate or avoid an eventual crash.
Predictive models of injuries will allow the development of smart and efficient protective systems to reduce at the most the severity of the impact.

Finally, your own model, that means a patient-specific model, will help the surgeons for a better diagnostic and evaluation pre and postoperative to optimize the surgery and the rehabilitation. 



1 Human body mechanics
2 Quantification of shapes
The Laboratoire de Biomécanique et Mécanique des Chocs is a joint research unit between Ifsttar and the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1