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The University of Southampton
Human Factors Research Unit (HFRU)

6-Axis Motion Simulator

The 6-Axis Motion Simulator is able to provide motion in all three translation axes (fore-and-aft, lateral, and vertical) and all three rotational axes (roll, pitch, and yaw). The moving platform is approximately 3 meter by 2 meter and can support payloads up to 1000 kg. It is able to accurately reproduce motions in 6-axis with very low levels of background vibration, waveform distortion, and cross-axis motion.

The simulator has a maximum translational displacement of 1000 mm in the vertical direction and 500 mm in the horizontal directions. The maximum angle of rotation is about 20 degrees in roll and pitch and about 10 degrees in yaw. The simulator can supply translational and rotational accelerations up to 10 ms-2 and 5 rads-2, respectively. The frequency range of motion is 0 to 50 Hz.

The unique simulator design and motion performance capability allows faithful reproduction of vehicle motion environments. The simulator is used for research on the relative importance of motion, noise, seating, and the thermal environment in vehicles and interactions between these factors. Using the simulator the effects of vibration on motion perception, seating dynamics, and postural stability are investigated for seated, standing and walking subjects.

The 6-axis motion simulator is used in the following applications:


Experimental studies to investigate the effects of sinusoidal, random, and multi-axis vibration and shock on the comfort of seated and standing people.

Simulation of environments:

The vibration and sound recorded in road, off-road, rail, marine and aerospace environments can be simulated to investigate aspects related to comfort, performance, or health. The thermal conditions (temperature and humidity) and the décor, controls and displays in transport environments can also be simulated.


Absolute thresholds and difference thresholds for the perception of whole-body vibration.

Postural stability:

Effects of oscillatory motions on the postural stability of standing and walking persons.

Biodynamic studies:

For each of the six-axes of vibration, the transmission vibration to the body and the mechanical impedance of seated, standing, and recumbent persons. Effects of posture, seating conditions, and other sources of variability on the transmissibility and impedance of the human body. The collection of data needed to develop biodynamic models.

Seat testing:

Measuring the transmission of vibration through seats with human subjects or with anthropodynamic dummies. The simulator is capable of all standardised vibration tests for vehicle seats, including suspension seats. The measurement of seat dynamic responses required for seat modelling.


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