The Human Touch: Measuring Contact with Real Human Soft Tissues

Dinesh K. Pai, Austin Rothwell, Pearson Wyder-Hodge, Alistair Wick, Ye Fan,
Egor Larionov, Darcy Harrison, Debanga Raj Neog, and Cole Shing

Simulating how the human body deforms in contact with external objects, tight clothing, or other humans is of central importance to many fields. Despite great advances in numerical methods, the material properties required to accurately simulate the body of a real human have been sorely lacking. Here we show that mechanical properties of the human body can be directly measured using a novel hand-held device. We describe a complete pipeline for measurement, modeling, parameter estimation, and simulation using the finite element method. We introduce a phenomenological model (the sliding thick skin model) that is effective for both simulation and parameter estimation. Our data also provide new insights into how the human body actually behaves. The methods described here can be used to create personalized models of an individual human or of a population. Consequently, our methods have many potential applications in computer animation, product design, e-commerce, and medicine.

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    author = {
        Pai, Dinesh K. and
        Rothwell, Austin and
        Wyder-Hodge, Pearson and
        Wick, Alistair and
        Fan, Ye and
        Larionov, Egor and
        Harrison, Darcy and
        Neog, Debanga Raj and
        Shing, Cole
    title = {
        The Human Touch:
        Measuring Contact with Real Human Soft Tissues
    year = {2018},
    issue_date = {August 2018},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    volume = {37},
    number = {4},
    issn = {0730-0301},
    url = {},
    doi = {10.1145/3197517.3201296},
    journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
    month = jul,
    articleno = {Article 58},
    numpages = {12},
    keywords = {
        contact, finite element, soft tissues, biomechanics,
        measurement, human simulation