2021 journal article
Lifting Posture Prediction With Generative Models for Improving Occupational Safety
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON HUMAN-MACHINE SYSTEMS, 51(5), 494–503.
Lifting tasks have been identified to be highly associated with work-related low back pain. Posture prediction can be used for simulating workers’ posture of lifting tasks and thus facilitate the prevention of low back pain (LBP). This study adopts two generative models, conditional variational encoder and conditional generative adversarial network, to predict lifting postures. A regular feed-forward neural network (FNN) developed upon previous studies is also investigated for comparison purposes. Ground-truth lifting posture data collected by a motion capture system is used for training and testing the models. The models are trained with datasets of different size and loss functions, and the results are compared. The conditional variational autoencoder and the regular FNN achieved comparable top performance in lifting posture prediction in terms of accuracy and posture validity. Both generative models are able to partially capture the variability of constrained postures. Overall, the results prove that using a generative model is able to predict postures with reasonable accuracy and validity (RMSE of coordinates = 0.049 m; RMSE of joint angles = 19.58 <inline-formula xmlns:mml="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"><tex-math notation="LaTeX">$^\circ$</tex-math></inline-formula> ). The predicted postures can support biomechanical analysis and ergonomics assessment of a lifting task to reduce the risk of low back injuries.