Evaluation of Professional Ultrasound Probes with Santos DHM. Handling Comfort Map Generation and Ergonomic Assessment of Different Grasps
Authors: M. Mazzolaa, L. Forzonib, S. D’Onofriob, T. Marlerc, S. Becksd
Abstract: Sonographers’ work-related musculoskeletal disorder is a critical but often neglected problem, with reports indicating that approximately 80% of them experience pain from the extended use of sonography probes. Also transducer design can be a common cause of hand-wrist complaints. Moreover, there are many opportunities to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. A possible solution was proposed by Esaote, whereby the probe-handle shape is redesigned with a more ergonomically effective profile, appleprobe Design, that can be used with two or more different handling positions. This paper presents: details of this new design, where 6 different probes were analyzed experimentally for ergonomic purposes; virtual analyses of the evaluation of the contact surfaces (hand/probes) for each probe and each grasp, using an advanced Digital Human Model (DHM), Santos, and results of experiments to evaluate actual user discomfort. Results indicate the advantages of the proposed design and an acceptable correlation between the virtual and the experimental analyses. This work represents the first step towards the use of Santos DHM not only for comfort/ergonomics evaluation/validation after the production of the probe, but also for the simulation of new design concepts before prototypes are even manufactured, thus reducing production costs and improving quality.
Keywords: Digital Human Modeling, Diagnostic Ultrasound Probes, Sonographer, WRMSD
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