Lumbar posture assessment with fabric strain sensors. LQ Vu, KH Kim, LJH Schulze, SL Rajulu.

Date: March 2020.
Source: Computers in Biology and Medicine, Volume 118, 103624.
Abstract: Astronauts are at risk for low back pain and injury during extravehicular activity because of the deconditioning of the lumbar region and biomechanical demands associated with wearing a spacesuit. To understand and mitigate injury risks, it is necessary to study the lumbar kinematics of astronauts inside their spacesuit. To expand on previous efforts, the purpose of this study was to develop and test a generalizable method to assess complex lumbar motion using 10 fabric strain sensors placed on the torso. Anatomical landmark positions and corresponding sensor measurements were collected from 12 male study participants performing 16 static lumbar postures. A multilayer principal component and regression-based model was constructed to estimate lumbar joint angles from the sensor measurements. Good lumbar joint angle estimation was observed (<9° mean error) from flexion and lateral bending joint angles, and lower accuracy (13.7° mean error) was observed from axial rotation joint angles. With continued development, this method can become a useful technique for measuring suited lumbar motion and could potentially be extrapolated to civilian work applications.

Article: Lumbar posture assessment with fabric strain sensors.
Authors: Linh Q Vu, K Han Kim, Lawrence JH Schulze, Sudhakar L Rajulu. NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, USA.