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Powered exoskeleton: realistic human anatomy?

Question asked by Dale Mahalko on Mar 17, 2015
Latest reply on Mar 17, 2015 by Dale Mahalko

I am a hobbyist and a novice at SolidWorks, trying to design a real-life fully-body robotic powered exoskeleton that very closely matches the real-world anatomy of muscles and skin of the human body. To do that, I need an extremely high precision, anatomically correct, flexible human body model that accurately simulates internal skeletal bone motion and correct skin surface elasticity and geometry changes.


When you rotate your wrists fully clockwise / anticlockwise, the two bones in your forearm cross over each other, and the skin topology along the length of your forearm deforms in a complex manner which very simple "wrist as a single ball socket" models don't simulate correctly. Also, human shoulder joint motion and shoulder skin topology changes through the entire range of joint motion is a combination of the motion of the clavicle, scapula, and humerus bones -- a simple single ball socket and static unchanging arm / torso geometry is not sufficiently accurate.


The following movable 3D human model rigged for animation in 3D Studio Max appears to have the high joint and skin accuracy I'm looking for as a starting point for modeling:  realistic male body 3d model



But, from looking around on this forum, it looks like SolidWorks can't be used to do what I'm trying to do, as it handles solid body modeling only and exclusively, and cannot understand the deformable skin surface of this model, even if only as a reference surface for separate solid body modeling. Am I understanding this correctly?


Should I be starting the actual robotic exoskeleton modeling in an entirely non-CAD 3D animation and modeling software, and once I know the actual dimensions and "geometry window" of the exoskeleton, move the solid-body robotic portion to SolidWorks later, to do actual stress and load design simulation?


It appears that the best I can hope for, with direct and accurate real-life movable human body/skin anatomy modeling within SolidWorks, is to use a free-space 3D scanner like the 3D Scanner | Portable 3D Handheld Scanner | Cubify to scan "snapshots" of an actual human body in various limb positions, and then try to align an assembly against these static models in various poses.


I was considering trying to model flexible hydraulic tubing and brake cables ( Bowden cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) bundled together and constrained but sliding within hollow guide channels on a movable structure, but now it's unclear to me if Solidworks can do that, either, and what else I could possibly use to do that sort of modeling.


Message was edited by: Dale Mahalko Change article title to be more accurate