Research Topics

  • Biomechanics
  • Data analytics
  • Human factors/ergonomics
  • Human vibration research
  • Kinematics and dynamics
  • Motion capture
  • Structural health monitoring

The 3D Bio-Motion Research Lab (3DBMRL) performs applied and basic research in human motion analysis. The lab is committed to providing industry and government with innovative testing capabilities and analysis tools to study human motion and human response to external loading.



Salam Rahmatalla

Salam Rahmatalla, PhD

Director, 3D Biomotion Research Lab
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering

Equipment and Facilities

Dummy on shaker table

The lab is equipped with a Vicon motion capture system with 12 SV cameras and a Motion Analysis system.  The lab also houses a six-degree-of-freedom man-rated Moog-FCS motion platform. 

The Motion Analysis system features a four-megapixel-resolution with a latency of only 1-2 frames. It is a real-time-specific system with Eagle-4 digital cameras that can collect at up to 500 Hz with a shutter speed ranging from 0-2000 µs. The focal length can be adjusted from 18-52 mm.

The lab's Moog-FCS motion platform aids in the study of whole-body vibration (WBV). Chronic WBV exposure, as expected in large military, construction, and agriculture vehicles, has been associated with neck and back pain and injury. The 3DBMRL is collaborating with industry on a long-term project to study human response to WBV with the objective of modifying the working environment and avoiding possible human pain or injury. In the first stage of this project, experiments have been conducted on human subjects under WBV scenarios. The resulting data are used to drive a computer human model, through which various joint torques and stresses on the lumbar area of the spine and the neck region can be found. The MOOG-FCS motion platform in the 3DBMRL can also be used to construct to-scale models of vehicles and cabs to study the placement of foot and hand brakes, seat belts, and glove boxes with force and displacement measures. The resulting kinematics and kinetics is applicable in minimizing the risk of pain and injury resulting from in-vehicle design.

Sophisticated models for biomechanics and animation applications are available for the whole body and the hand. Visual3D software is used to analyze and share data with collaborators for various testing scenarios.  Visual3D data (collected from human subjects) can be used in human validation studies and to enhance simulation capabilities.


Salam Rahmatalla

UI engineering faculty members license inventions

Thursday, April 6, 2023
Salam Rahmatalla is one of two University of Iowa College of Engineering faculty members whose inventions have recently been licensed for commercial use.
Ambulance Rahmatalla

UI professor’s new book examines impact of whole-body vibration during emergency transport

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Salam Rahmatalla, director of the 3D Bio-Motion Research Lab at the University of Iowa Technology Institute, has authored a new book to help medical transport professionals – and vehicle and equipment designers – understand the effects of vibration on immobilized patients during emergency transport.
Mi2 Helicopter Tom Schnell

How researchers connected helicopter vibrations to stroke therapy

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Connecting vibrations from a helicopter to treating stroke victims may not seem like an obvious line of inquiry, but it turned out to be a promising one at the University of Iowa.