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

Keyword: “design”

Navigating the barriers to interdisciplinary design education: lessons learned from the NSF design workshop series

Evidence suggests that transformational innovation occurs at the intersection of multiple disciplines rather than isolated within them. Design—being both pervasive and inherently interdisciplinary—has the power to transcend many disciplines and help break down the departmental “silos” that hinder such collaborative efforts. Many universities are now struggling to embrace the curricular innovations that are necessary to […]

Identifying glenoid geometries through radial basis functions for implant design

Total Shoulder Arthroplasty is performed on patients to restore range of motion of the shoulder and decrease pain caused by osteoarthritis at the glenohumeral joint. The glenohumeral joint is a slightly unstable ball and socket joint, where muscles hold the humerus in contact with the glenoid, located on the scapula. Improper sizing or alignment of […]

Two Lessons from a Short-Duration Design-Build-Test Activity

The Iron Lion Design Challenge is a design-build-test event held annually at the Penn State University Park campus. In addition to providing hands-on experiences for students, it is an opportunity for faculty to pilot new strategies for teaching design practice to students. Over the last six years two important lessons have emerged: 1) prototyping very […]

Establishing an Immersive Cross-Cultural Experiential Learning and Design Collaboration for Engineering Student and Faculty

Engineering graduates must not only develop technical skills for success within their career but they must also develop global competence to interact effectively in today’s increasingly interconnected world. Beginning in 2008, a group of universities from different parts of the world partnered together with a goal of better preparing global engineering graduates. This resulted in […]

The Need for and Lessons from a Web-Based Tool for Design for Human Variability

Design for Human Variability (DfHV) is a DfX activity that supports the design of artifacts, tasks, and environments that are robust to the variabilty in their users. This requires an understanding of the body size and shape of the target user population. Unfortunately, data and training to properly support these activities are not adequate. A […]

Considering human variability when implementing product platforms

Design for Human Variability (DfHV) is the practice of designing artifacts, tasks, and environments that are robust to the variability in their users. Designs often incorporate adjustability and/or offer several sizes to account for the different requirements of the target user population. There are several situations where DfHV can provide platforming opportunities that might otherwise […]

Limiting disproportionate disaccommodation in design for human variability

In the design of artefacts, tasks and environments for human use, the body dimensions of the target population are a critical element in spatial optimisation of the design. This study examines how the choices designers make affect the ability of different user groups to safely and effectively interact with a designed artefact. Due to the […]

A comparison of design for human variability strategies in seating requirements of anthropometrically diverse populations

When considering the needs of global populations, variations in overall body size and shape create an interesting situation for designers: should products designed for global markets achieve accommodation through a single variant, or should multiple variants—each targeted at a different market—be considered? The present work demonstrates the range of variability that can be exhibited by […]

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

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. […]

Application of the generational variety index: a retrospective study of iPhone evolution

The generational variety index (GVI) helps identify the components of product variants that are most likely to require redesign in the future. These components can then be embedded with the flexibility required for them to be easily modifiable; the remaining components can be designed into a platform. This paper describes the application of the GVI […]

Techniques, tools, and representations for solving design problems considering anthropometry

The quality of available education, solution techniques, and tools for designers considering user body size in the development of products and environments varies widely. The objective of this work is to investigate the current state of affairs in these areas, propose new or improved methods and tools where appropriate, and evaluate these tools. The multivariate […]

The role of anthropometry in designing for sustainability

An understanding of human factors and ergonomics facilitates the design of artifacts, tasks, and environments that fulfill their users’ physical and cognitive requirements. Research in these fields furthers the goal of efficiently accommodating the desired percentage of user populations through enhanced awareness and modeling of human variability. Design for sustainability (DfS) allows for these concepts […]

Strategic product design for multiple global markets

Designing products for multiple global user populations has been the focus of numerous studies. Based on an understanding of the current state of knowledge, this paper outlines three broad top-down design strategies to satisfy varying user, business, and regulatory requirements across target markets, and to do so in a resource-efficient manner. The first strategy results […]

Anthropometry-based sustainable design for multiple global populations

This dissertation research had the broad objective of enabling more widespread application of the principles of anthropometry- (i.e., body dimension-) based design. The more specific goals were: a) to allow for the use of easily- and widely- available body dimensional information in the form of descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, and/or by-percentile values of anthropometry), […]

A real options-based approach to designing for changing user populations of long-lifetime products

In addition to robustness-related considerations, designers of long-lifetime products (e.g., freight trucks and commercial air- craft) must also account for possible secular and demographic trends and their impacts on the ranges of anthropometry, capability, and preference of user populations. However, the uncertainty associated with forecasts of these trends complicates the decision-making process of the designer. […]

Probability of user fit for spatially optimized products

This study offers a new method for understanding the likelihood of acceptable fit for users of adjustable products and environments and is a useful tool for aiding the designer in making decisions about problems involving human variability. Accommodation, which describes the ability of a user to interact with a device or environment in a preferred […]

Considering secular and demographic trends in designing for present and future populations

In products designed for human variability, the anthropometry (body measurements) of the target user population constitutes a primary source of variability that must be considered in the optimization of the spatial dimensions of the product. Accommodation, which describes the ability of a user to interact with a device or environment in their preferred manner, is […]

Creating virtual user populations by analysis of anthropometric data

Anthropometric measures that accurately represent the target user population are essential to effective designing for human variability, yet the available anthropometric data are drawn from populations that are substantially dissimilar from the target populations for most products and environments. Many designs for civilians are assessed using military anthropometric data, for example, because the only available […]

Using designing for human variability to optimize aircraft seat layout

Integrating the seemingly divergent objectives of aircraft seat configuration is a difficult task. Aircraft manufacturers look to design seats to maximize customer satisfaction and in-flight safety, but these objectives can conflict with the profit motive of airline companies. In order to boost revenue by increasing the number of passengers per aircraft, airline companies may increase […]

Disproportionate disaccommodation of subpopulations based on anthropometry

When designing a product to interact with the human body, designers consider the sizes and shapes of people. A population’s variability in body size and shape can be accounted for in many ways, such as offering products in multiple sizes or including adjustability in products. Typically, it is not feasible to design a product to […]

Utilizing traditional packing methodologies to examine human variability design problems

People interact with many different spaces on a daily basis: subway cars, offices, restaurants, and classrooms are examples of just some of these. However, these spaces and products that are meant to make lives more comfortable and efficient often do just the opposite. This thesis utilizes packing problems more common to operational research and industrial […]

Predicting 5th and 95th percentile anthropometric segment lengths from population stature

Designing for human variability frequently necessitates an estimation of the spatial requirements of the intended user population. These measures are often obtained from “proportionality constants” which predict the lengths of relevant anthropometry using stature. This approach is attractive because it is readily adapted to new populations–only knowledge of a single input, stature, is necessary to […]

Extrapolation of anthopometric measures to new populations

This paper advances a method of extrapolating, to target populations, inter-relationships in the anthropometry of an existing population database. Previous methods, including those that are based on using proportionality constants and those that involve developing regression relations, make use of stature as the primary predictor. This new approach distinguishes itself by accounting for the variability, […]

Optimal product sizing through digital human models

Designing for human variability (DfHV) requires efficient allocation of sizing and adjustability. This can preserve product performance while reducing some measures of cost. For example, specifying only as much adjustability as necessary for a desired level of accommodation leads to devices which are better suited to their users and more cost efficient. Similarly, when multiple […]

Considering installer and occupant variability in FMVSS202a compliance

The new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard governing head restraints (FMVSS 202a) is designed to protect vehicle occupants in rear-impact crashes. Static compliance requires meeting guidelines on, among other things, a measure called “backset”–the distance from the back of a manikin headform (SAE J826 + HRMD) and the restraint. The final rule was released in […]

Optimizing truck cab layout for driver accommodation

One important source of variability in the performance and success of products designed for use by people is the people themselves. In many cases, the acceptability of the design is affected more by the variability in the human users than by the variability attributable to the hardware from which the product is constructed. Designing for […]

Center of pressure excursion capability in performance of seated lateral-reaching tasks

Seated center of pressure excursion capability can be used for patient evaluation in a clinical setting and in universal design. A quantification of excursion capability across age and anthropometry has not been previously reported, although some research suggests that the ischial tuberosities are the support structure limiting the excursion. Methods. Thirty-eight neurologically healthy adults ranging […]

Considering driver balance capability in truck shifter design

A person’s ability to perform a task is often limited by their ability to maintain balance. This is particularly true in lateral work performed in seated environments. For a truck driver operating the shift lever of a manual transmission, excessive shift forces can necessitate pulling on the steering wheel with the other hand to maintain […]

Robust truck cabin layout optimization using advanced driver variance models

One important source of variance in the performance and success of products designed for use by people is the people themselves. In many cases, the acceptability of the design is affected more by the variance in the human users than by the variance attributable to the hardware from which the product is constructed. Consequently, optimization […]

Improving an ergonomics testing procedure via approximation-based adaptive experimental design

Adaptive design refers to experimental design where the next sample point is determined by information from previous experiments. This article presents a constrained optimization algorithm known as superEGO (a variant of the EGO algorithm of Schonlau, Welch, and Jones) that can create adaptive designs using kriging approximations. Our primary goal is to illustrate that superEGO […]

Design optimization of a fully-compliant bistable micro-mechanism

Bistable behavior is desirable for a variety of applications because power is applied only during switching, and the mechanism state remains the same regardless of any power interruptions. The low variability in the stable positions also makes accurate open-loop control of many systems possible, and the precise switching characteristics make them valuable in sensing arrays. […]

Multicriteria optimization in product platform design

A product platform is a set of common components, modules or parts from which a stream of derivative products can be created. Product platform design requires selection of the shared parts and assessment of the potential sacrifices in individual product performance that result from parts sharing. A multicriteria optimization problem can be formulated to study […]

A method for the rapid prototyping of custom contoured cushions

Decubitous ulcers (“pressure sores”) are a significant concern for people using wheelchairs. In fact, results published by the University of Kansas indicate that over half of those using wheelchairs will develop a pressure sore at some point. This susceptibility is due to the conditions under which these ulcers develop: shear stress and pressure work together […]

Design of compliant force and displacement amplification micromechanisms

In many MEMS applications, it is desirable to amplify the force or displacement of an actuator or transducer. Devices that amplify force or mechanical advantage typically achieve this at the expense of displacement or geometric advantage. Likewise, devices that amplify geometric advantage do so at the expense of mechanical advantage. This paper proposes a device […]

Optimization-based design of a fully-compliant bistable micromechanism

Micro-bistable mechanisms are used in microswitches and microvalves to reduce power consumption as power is applied only to switch states. Many of the bistable mechanism designs that have been presented incorporate rigid-body joints. These joints introduce unwanted friction and poor repeatability into the mechanism motion. A fully-compliant mechanism avoids these problems. Optimization techniques were used […]

A parametric approach to the optimization-based design of compliant mechanisms

Several optimization-based strategies have been proposed for compliant mechanism design that do not rely on the experience or intuition of the designer. This paper demonstrates an optimization-based method wherein compliant mechanisms are modeled parametrically within an optimization and a finite element analysis package. Topological optimization is performed to minimize an objective function representing the fitness […]