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The Motion Platform

The Motion Platform is a bespoke tool designed and built by Arup that allows clients and colleagues to experience whole-body vibration derived from measurements or simulations of vibrations in buildings, transport and any other environments that shake.

Human response to vibration plays a significant role in design for many disciplines including structures, bridges, mechanical systems and communication infrastructure. Vibration is a phenomenon that is much easier to understand and relate to when you experience it directly, rather than through design criteria and data.

The Motion Platform allows clients to experience anticipated vibration levels at the design stage – helping them make better informed decisions about previously abstract parameters.

The device uses electro-mechanical actuators to vibrate a platform on which the participant sits, stands or even lies.  It is a calibrated vertical shake table with an operating range of zero to 100 Hz and a peak-peak displacement of 38 mm.

The development of the Motion Platform has:

  • provided a unique tool that allows clients to directly experience the vibrational consequences of design decisions
  • radically improved our ability to communicate complex structural ideas to clients
  • created a popular facility that enables clients and designers to consider and assess vibration in a more meaningful, intuitive way.

By standing, sitting, or lying on the Motion Platform, clients can experience calibrated whole-body vibration. This has diverse applications ranging from assessing the response of building occupants to particular structural designs through to investigating the sensitivity of equipment to vibration.

The Motion Platform allows designers and clients to make more informed decisions about acceptable vibration instead of relying on empirical guidance. Having established acceptable vibration levels (amplitude, frequency, continuity, intermittency), they can also experience the relative performance of different structural and architectural options.



The Motion Platform represents a step-change in our ability to communicate design ideas. It enables motion and vibration to be demonstrable through experience rather than abstract concepts. Arup is the first consultancy to have these capabilities in-house.

The Motion Platform adds a new sensory stimulation to the interactive design environment we are exploring in the Arup Experience Lab, in addition to audio, visual and virtual reality displays. The Motion Platform is a tangible demonstration of how creative use of technology can broaden and strengthen design communication.