Ergonomics and Design- Steph

22 09 2008

Following Jerry’s lecture yesterday on Anthropometrics and Ergonomics, I realized that the human body is apparently a major topic in design. It seems to be the starting point in all of our different classes right now. Obviously buildings must be designed with humans in mind but I never realized before that we needed to know so much about their size in order to design them.  I figured that at one point in time it was studied rather thoroughly in order to come up with the standard dimensions, but supposed that it wasn’t as important anymore.Not only does Anthropometrics deal with the size and proportions of the human body, but it also deals with our parameters such as reach and visual range capabilities. This varies by gender and race. Anthropometrics are used in many different fields. In the 20th century, anthropometrics were used extensively in portraying inferiorities between races.   Hitler also used anthropometric approaches during the Holocaust to distinguish the differences between his “dominant race” and everyone else.




I also found it very interesting when Jerry mentioned military machines while talking about Ergonomics. I knew that humans have grown substantially over the years but was unaware that we had grown so much in the past century.  Since WWI, the average height of North American Military personnel has grown over 2 inches. This is a very substantial height difference when it comes to building combat machines. This point was also very interesting to me as my grandfather was in the Air force and was training to be a fighter pilot during WWII.  I have always thought that my grandfather was very tall and found it very strange that they rarely took above or below average men because they might not fit into the aircrafts.  This is still the case. Although the aircrafts and other military machines have changed in order to house the now taller men and women, they are still built to accommodate only the average person.  Is it even possible to design them for everyone? This is the problem with most things in our world. They are designed for the average.

– Steph M.







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