We conduct research in the application of rigorous design methodologies to the design of artifacts and environments for people.


Center of pressure excursion capability in performance of seated lateral-reaching tasks

Parkinson, M.B., Chaffin, D.B., and Reed, M.P., 2006. Clinical Biomechanics 21(1): 26-32. (BibTeX Citation)

Keywords: , , , ,


Seated center of pressure excursion capability can be used for patient evaluation in a clinical setting and in universal design. A quantification of excursion capability across age and anthropometry has not been previously reported, although some research suggests that the ischial tuberosities are the support structure limiting the excursion. Methods. Thirty-eight neurologically healthy adults ranging in age from 21 to 74 years and including 12 obese persons performed a series of 6 lateral reaching tasks. Participants sat on a platform such that their feet did not touch the ground, leaving their legs free to provide counterbalancing support. Data recorded from a force plate under the platform allowed calculation of the center of pressure throughout the trial and the maximum excursion for each condition was recorded. Findings. The average excursion capability for the healthy, experimental population was 148 mm or 37% of seated hip breadth. Taller participants had larger maximum excursions, on average, than shorter particpants, and older participants had smaller excursions than younger participants. Interpretation. The greater trochanter of the femur—rather than the ischial tuberosities—appears to be the primary support structure limiting center of pressure excursion in lateral, balance-limited reaches without contralateral support. These measures and concepts can be used for design, accommodation, and clinically for patient assessment.