Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory           


The Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison researches innovative ways for measuring, quantifying and understanding human physiological and biomechanical capacities to do productive, quality, and healthful work.


Research in the Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory, under the direction of Professor Robert G. Radwin, focuses on the physiological and biomechanical aspects of work.  Our goal is to understand how to better design jobs, equipment, tools, products, and environments in which people play a significant role, so that human capabilities are maximized, physical stress is minimized, and workload is optimized.  This includes studying ergonomics aspects of the design, selection, installation and use of manually operated equipment and products; investigating the causes and prevention of work related musculoskeletal disorders; developing novel measurements and methods for assessing exposure to physical stress in the workplace; and quantifying functional deficits associated with musculoskeletal and neuromuscular disorders for medical surveillance, rehabilitation and prevention. 

The laboratory is fully equipped with a variety of sophisticated instruments for measuring human kinematics and kinetics, physiological functions, and biopotentials during work. These include OptoTrack™ 3-D motion analysis, MVTA™ Multimedia Video Task Analysis™, Flock of Birds™, electromyography (EMG), load cells and force measurement, vibration generation and measurement, and Biodex static and dynamic strength testing equipment.  The laboratory also has a dedicated GE Healthcare-Lunar Artroscan™ Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) extremity scanner.  Occupational activities are simulated in the laboratory for conducting human factors, ergonomics and biomechanics research.

Current Research Topics

  • Biomechanics of muscle and tendon disorders
  • Primary and secondary prevention of repetitive motion injuries
  • Ergonomic design of manually operated products, hand tools and equipment
  • Evaluation of risk for work related musculoskeletal disorders in manual work
  • Medical surveillance for carpal tunnel syndrome and upper limb disorders
  • Rehabilitation engineering
  • Quantification of psychomotor and manual skills
  • Ergonomics of medical instruments, procedures and simulations