We conduct research in the application of rigorous design methodologies to the design of artifacts and environments for people.


A z-score-based method to synthesize anthropometric datasets for global user populations

Nadadur, G. and Parkinson, M.B., 2013. Proceedings ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences . (BibTeX Citation)

Keywords: , , ,


Globalized marketplaces are necessitating the consideration of the needs of users from a variety of national and international regions. Relevant body dimensions are known to play a key role in influencing users’ physical interactions with products. The main challenge in designing these products is the unavailability of comprehensive anthropometric databases for detailed analyses and decision-making. This paper presents a new method to this end. Z-scores are computed for each body measure of every individual in a reference population; this can be any population for which a comprehensive database is available. Next, descriptive statistical information (e.g., means, standard deviations, by-percentile values) from numerous studies and surveys are used to estimate distributions of the required body dimensions. Finally, the z-score values from the reference population are utilized to sample from the aforementioned distributions in order to synthesize the requisite virtual target population of users. The z-score method is demonstrated in the context of two existing populations: U.S. military in the late 1980s (ANSUR) and Japanese youth from the early 1990s. Despite certain stated limitations, which are topics of future work in this line of research, the method is shown to be accurate, easy-to-apply, and robust in terms of underlying assumptions.