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


  • 2013
    • 04/2013: AnthroTools 1.1 is now available

      This latest update includes interface and performance enhancements. AnthroTools is a mobile web app that contains a suite of tools for Design for Human Variability, including a multivariate accommodation calculator, proportionality calculator, and NHANES database explorer. It will run on desktop browsers (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari) or on a web browser in iOS or Android.

  • 2011
    • 10/2011: Open Design Lab podcasts are now available on iTunes

      In addition to mirroring audio-only versions of our YouTube videos, we plan to feature shorter commentaries on our research with a more frequent update schedule. Tune in to hear Open Lab authors give insight and background for their papers, learn about new topics in the field, and hear about our research in a less technical […]

    • 10/2011: "Who Owns Design" lecture series continues with Carnegie Mellon professor

      Jonathan Cagan, George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Engineering Professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, will speak at 12 p.m. October 5 at Penn State’s Stuckeman Family Building. His visit marks the second talk in the Penn State Department of Architecture “Who Owns Design?” Lecture Series.

    • 08/2011: Author's Insights: Preference is now available on YouTube

      This video was produced as part of a new series called “Author’s Insights” that will feature authors of Open Lab publications discussing their work. The videos will feature brief summaries and additional insights for the publications. In this video, Chris talks about his 2007 DETC and 2009 JMD papers, “Including preference in anthropometry-driven models for […]

    • 02/2011: Episode 1: "Experiments" is now available on YouTube

      Episode 1: “Experiments” is now available on YouTube as part of a new video series on the fundamentals of designing for human variability. In addition to this series, the new Open Design Lab YouTube channel will feature Open Lab authors presenting select publications from our archives. Check back often for updates! View the video here: […]

  • 2010
    • 09/2010: Designing for Human Variability is offered again for the Fall 2010 semester

      Students learn the principles of how to incorporate an understanding of variability in human size, capability, and preference into the design of products and environments. It is a unique opportunity to explore material from engineering, statistics, biomechanics, disability and aging research, and business in the context of design problems. View the course description here.

    • 06/2010: Iron Lion Design Challenge III

      The Iron Lion Design Challenge III took place in June 2010. This year, students from 4 universities collaborated on 5 design projects in the weeklong event. Projects included a ridable hovercraft, self-propelled walker, and a next-generation audio experience.

  • 2009
    • 09/2009: SMART Scholarship

      Chris Garneau, an OPEN Design Lab member, was awarded a SMART Scholarship for his Ph.D. research and will be working with the Army Research Lab as part of the scholarship. Learn more about the SMART program here.

    • 05/2009: Iron Lion Design Challenge II

      The Iron Lion Design Challenge II took place in May. In the second year of the Challenge, it grew to 13 students and many faculty and industry collaborators, who collaborated on a variety of design projects, including a universally-designed portable appliance and an improved gripper, among others.

    • 03/2009: myAnthro – Basic is available in the Apple iTunes App Store

      myAnthro is an iPhone app created by Dr. Parkinson for easily determining body dimensions derived from proportionality constants, a design tool employed in the Open Design Lab.

    • 01/2009: NSF Career Award

      Prof. Matt Parkinson received the National Science Foundation’s award for early career development. His proposal, Foundations for Designing for Human Variability, will be funded from 2009-2014. This work will enable the improved design of products, tasks, and environments, making them more accessible, accommodating, and effective for populations that are increasingly diverse.

  • 2008
    • 06/2008: Invited Presentation

      Prof. Parkinson gave an invited presentation, “Improving seat design through virtual assessments,” at the Innovations in Automotive Seating Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

    • 06/2008: Iron Lion Design Challenge I

      The Iron Lion Design Challenge, a multidisciplinary design competition related to adaptive medical devices, took place on the University Park campus June 23-June 30, 2008.

  • 2007
    • 09/2007: Research on Allocation of Adjustability

      Research on Allocation of Adjustability will be funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This is an important aspect of Designing for Human Variability. Prof. Parkinson is the principal investigator on the proposal.

    • 08/2007: Designing for Human Variability will be offered again in Fall 2007

      Designing for Human Variability will be offered again in Fall 2007. This graduate-level course will be cross-listed in Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering. Read more about this course here.

    • 05/2007: John P. Karidis Department Head's Award

      Chris Garneau, a member of the Open Design Lab, received the John P. Karidis Department Head’s Award for Research Achievement in Mechanical Engineering (at PSU). The award recognized the research he conducted with Prof. Parkinson while completing his honors thesis, A Comparison of Methodologies for Designing for Human Variability.

  • 2006
  • 2005
    • 06/2005: SAE's Arch T. Colwell Merit Award

      Assessing the validity of kinematically generated reach envelopes for simulations of vehicle operators was presented SAE’s Arch T. Colwell Merit Award for best paper of the year.