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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluating methods to use the Virtual Corset™ inclinometer for trunk posture measurements Van Driel, Robin


Non-neutral trunk posture and other related exposures have been linked to low back injuries and the reporting of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Methods to quantify trunk posture in occupational settings are essential for proper assessment of work tasks and the work environment. There are sophisticated methods that can measure trunk posture and three-dimensional trunk movement; however, these methods are costly, time consuming, have practical field limitations and require extensive data collection. This makes simplified, less accurate methods, such as observation, desirable for field work. Therefore, this work focused on examining a new data-logging inclinometer, the Virtual Corset™ (VC), as a direct reading instrument that can measure trunk posture on par with a complex laboratory based method. The first study compared posture measurements of trunk motion from a commercially available optoelectronic motion capture system to a method employing the use of a torso mounted and pelvis mounted VC. The results indicated that the double-VC method accurately measured posture with high correlation and excellent agreement with the motion capture system. The second study examined a similar comparison as the first study, except that comparisons were made of posture measurements from a single torso mounted VC. It was found that by including a simple anthropometric measure, lower arm length, measurements using only the torso mounted VC may be used to create a predictive model of trunk posture, though with less accuracy than when using two VCs. In summary, this work provides a means to utilize the VC as a direct measurement device for characterizing posture without the expense and limitations of more complex systems or the time commitment and subjectivity of observational methods. It is anticipated that this thesis will contribute to future research utilizing the VC as a method of estimating spinal compression. This method will ultimately be applied with previously-collected postural VC data from a study of back injuries in heavy industries completed by the University of British Columbia.

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