Video-Based Direct Reading Exposure Assessment for Repetitive Motion

Research Trainee: Chia-Hsiung (Eric) Chen, PhD Student, Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering at this University of Wisconsin-Madison

Faculty Researcher: Robert G. Radwin, PhD, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison

I am investigating automated methods for evaluating exposure to repetitive motion in the workplace. My project involves using digital video processing feature extraction algorithms for quantifying the American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Hand Activity Level (HAL) in real-time using conventional digital videos focused on the upper extremities. This research is important because there is currently no practical instrument for objectively, unobtrusively, and efficiently measuring repetitive motion exposure for evaluating the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a research assistant in the Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory. I have extensive knowledge and software development experience in image/video processing algorithms, computer vision and computer graphics. I intend to pursue a course of graduate study that will apply these skills for solving problems in occupational safety and health. We first propose to refine video processing algorithms for automatically and continuously measuring HAL from standard digital video recordings. The video algorithms will then be evaluated by comparing repetition frequency, duty cycle and HAL derived by our algorithm from video clips of laboratory subjects performing paced repetitive tasks or actual industrial workers, against similar outcomes obtained by a human analyst conducting a manual frame-by-frame multimedia video task analysis. Ultimately this research might lead to applications that can be distributed widely on video-enabled hand-held devices such as Android or iPhone, and a video-based direct reading exposure assessment instrument with broad applications for occupational health and safety.

Selected video frames illustrating the task cycle defined by the elements (1) reach for a bottle, (2) grasp and move bottle, (3) release bottle and return to the starting position, and (4) rest.

Selected video frames illustrating the task cycle defined by the elements (1) reach for a bottle, (2) grasp and move bottle, (3) release bottle and return to the starting position, and (4) rest.

Publications resulting from this project:
Chen CH, Hu YH, Yen TY, Radwin RG. Automated video exposure assessment of repetitive hand activity level for a load transfer task. Human Factors. 2013;55(2):298-308. PMCID: 397962

Grants resulting from this project:
NIH/NIBIB. R21 EB014583 (PI: Radwin). Video Motion Analysis of Repetitive Exertions. 2012-2015.