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You're a Real Boy Now, Newton!


In a previous blog, “Get Comfy Quickly with ThermoAnalytics Human Thermal Comfort Software”, we discussed the time and cost savings associated with adventuring on design excursions in the virtual world. We focused on our software and how it could account for realistic human physiological responses in the simulated environments of the engineers’ choice. Now, let’s get to know the physical manikin complement a little better.

The manikins, developed by Measurement Technologies NorthWest (MTNW), are cutting edge technology and leaders within the industry. Although MTNW develops a multitude of measurement devices, we’re going to focus on just two of their specialized manikins that each have unique job functions, depending on the task at hand.

The first is an active Manikin, known as “Newton”, which imitates the responses that a human would have to their surrounding environment by virtually sensing and adapting to that environment, thermally, just like you and I. For example, if the manikin is in a hot room, they will physically sweat! On the other hand, if they sense cold, they will physically shiver to increase their metabolic rate, and in turn, their body temperature to a comfortable level. That’s pretty neat! Newton is integrated with our TAITherm Human Thermal Module through a tool called Manikin PC2 to control his thermoregulatory responses based on the environment he senses. This makes Newton an excellent candidate for things like repetitive testing, protective garment testing, and clothing performance evaluation, just to name a few!


Automotive HVAC Manikin

The second is a passive Manikin, usually referred to as the “HVAC Manikin”. This guy is covered from head to toe in sensors that are strategically placed to characterize the environment that surrounds the human body. The HVAC Manikin gives engineers the ability to take measurements of dynamic environments that are of particular interest for human exposure; for example, passenger cars. These measurements can then be used to evaluate the performance of existing systems and be imported in to TAITherm for studies to improve on the existing design.

These passive and active manikins, coupled with TAITherm, give engineers the ability to better understand human thermophysiological response and subjective sensation comfort, respectively. Prior to development of such tools, human subjects were needed to assess the effectiveness of physical HVAC system prototypes; however, such testing can be expensive and can complicate matters due to difficulty in instrumentation, lack of sufficient spatial distribution, personal biases, inconsistency in opinion, and, well, general human-ness. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could maximize the human experience, while at the same time reduce and/or eliminate reliance on human subject testing? A human-focused design methodology that leverages the use of virtual simulation by using TAITherm with testing that leverages the MTNW manikins allows you to do just that. For more information on this subject click here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Dr. Mark Hepokoski & Tony Schwenn


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Katy Hickey's picture
Katy Hickey
Technical Sales Representative

Katy graduated from Michigan Tech in 2013 and 2015 with degrees in Biomedical Engineering & German Language, and an MBA, respectively. She... Read More

May 15, 2014