Anthropometrics and Ergonomics by Monica

24 09 2008

I found Jerry’s lecture on Anthropometrics and Ergonomics interesting. I found it interesting how the measurements from the human body are used in the design process of new products. It makes since that the people the product is intended for acts at a template.

The measurements are taken from a sample population and the typical measurements include height, weight, distance between the eyes and circumference around the waist, sensory abilities may also be taken into account such as sight and hearing as well as abilities such as lifting strength, jump reach and grip strength. The result from all of these measurements the average man. Products are then made based on these measurements and mass produced for the masses. This is where i start to have a problem with  this design process,  how many people can say that they are the average size, weight etc for example you often hear about people having to buy two seats on an airplane because they are heavier than the average man and do not fit into the average size chair, i can only imagine how uncomfortable this would be for a long journey, another example of ill fitting design is in the average kitchen table, there are many people taller than the average man and have to suffer daily with having to squash there limbs under a table clearly not made for a person of their size. 

So what is the solution to this problem, it is not easy to make customized products that can be mass produced or is it?  It is possible to mass produce clothing for people of all different shapes and sizes so maybe the answer is not only using the average measurements of people but to create a range of different sizes that will suit a wider range of people. For example instead of having single sized seats on an airplane have seats that are  also suited to heavier and taller people and in the case of furniture  make a variety of sized tables and chairs that suit the smaller, taller and middle sized people. By applying these changes to all products it will make life easier for a number of people.

I got a good bit of information from this site www.bsu.edu/web/jcflowers/rlo/anthropometrics.htm it was really helpful because it gave good definitions and explanations.

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