Planning of Environments for People with Physical Disabilities Using Computer Aided Design

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


In the area of environment adaptations for people with physical disabilities, it is of vital importance that the design is optimized considering the human-environment interactions. All involved persons in such a planning process must be given sufficient support in understanding the information, so that everyone can participate actively. There is an apparent risk that discussions will be kept between experts, due to difficulties in understanding the complex and technical adaptation issues. This thesis investigates the use of computer-based tools for planning/designing environments for physically disabled people. A software prototype, and a method to use such a tool in the planning process, was developed and evaluated, based on the findings from six case studies of real planning situations. The case studies indicated that although such a tool would support the design, as well as the dialog between the participants, a certain level of technical and economical efficiency must be obtained. To facilitate the professional planner's work, an important issue is to maintain a large library of 3D objects. With the latest prototype implementation, it was found that such a planning tool can be produced, even when using consumer-oriented computers. One previous critical factor, interactive manipulation of 3D objects, can now be achieved if utilizing modern graphic cards with 3D acceleration. A usability test was performed to evaluate the prototype's basic operations, involving two groups of future users: five occupational therapist students, and four persons with major physical impairments. It was found that although the usability was satisfactory for the basic tasks, several items needed to be improved or added in future versions. It is important with an integrated support for manikins, in order to evaluate, e.g., wheelchair accessibility, reach ability, positioning of handrails, etc. This thesis reviews and compiles published anthropometrical and biomechanical data into a uniform segment-by-segment structure, in order to aid the design and modifications of manikins. The compilation was implemented as a spreadsheet document. An MRI investigation of the neck-shoulder region was performed on 20 healthy Scandinavian, female volunteers, measuring various musculoskeletal properties. These measurements can be used for further refinements of manikin specifications and biomechanical models.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • manikin, Virtual Reality, CAD, computer aided design, 3D graphics, design tool, participatory planning, adaptation, Rehabilitation, disability, anthropometry, Technological sciences, magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, cervical spine kinematics, Teknik, biomechanics
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1998 Dec 18
  • Division of Ergonomics, Department of Design Sciences, Lund University
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1998-12-18 Time: 10:15 Place: M:B, M-house, Ole Römers väg 1, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Gontijo, Leila Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Dept. of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Fed. University of Santa Catarina, Brazil ---