Easily Adoptable Ergonomic Assessment by Designer at Early Concept Design Phase

By Newman M. L. Lau and Ben Wong.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In a survey presented by Broberg (1997), over 90% of designers and engineers recognised that they needed to consider ergonomics earlier in the development processes. Human-centred design including usability and ergonomics assessments is necessary. Direct involvement of users in testing is becoming of great importance. Existing computer-aided design (CAD) systems and digital human modelling (DHM) software appear to be the simulation tools that provide the necessary conditions for ergonomics analysis, together with associated graphics, that allow product and process designers to better understand the potential problems when operating or servicing a proposed design. One major limitation is that designers need to spend a great deal of time building and rendering the digital space with enough detail, describing the task inputs, and specifying both the physically constrained and unconstrained conditions necessary to perform the simulation and analysis. Unfortunately, designers usually have little time and technical training in ergonomics in order to accomplish this objective. Moreover, posture and motion of people are not well modelled and predicted in existing DHMs using IK and other related robotics methods, especially in validating complex dynamic task simulations. In this paper, we present a process that can be adopted by designers to have preliminary ergonomic assessment on their concept design at the early development phase. The aim is to allow designers to easily adopt the process with minimal intensive technical training. It can also reduce the number of iterations on process development between designer and engineer that usually takes months, and reduce the need to build expensive physical mock-ups or prototypes in order to allow evaluation and assessment.

Keywords: Design Process, Ergonomic Assessment, Postural Analysis, Upper Limb Disorder, Motion Capture

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.070MB).

Newman M. L. Lau

Lecturer, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Newman specializes in capturing and synthesizing human character motion for games and animation. He is the technical supervisor, leading the motion research team and oversees and the Motion Analysis 12-camera optical motion capture studio. His research and development areas of interests include optical motion capture technology, character animation, movement analysis, feature extraction methods, motion sequence synthesis, crowd simulation, combat choreography, training model, and 3D game design and development. His works include a 3D educational computer game for the Government using Lithtech engine, crowd scene simulation, kungfu choreography and synthesis research projects funded by university and government, and various consultancies and motion capture projects on music video, TV commercials, games and animation for the industry.

Ben Wong

Research Assistant, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


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