DEA 3510 HOMEWORK 3

APPLYING ERGONOMIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Ergonomics has greatly contributed to improving the design of modern products. In this homework you can exercise a combination of the principle of ergonomic design which you have learned and your creative talent! You must choose one of the following products, and then write a statement of the ergonomic design requirements for that product, along with your attempt at a design/redesign of this, which you then justify in terms of the ergonomic requirements which the design satisfies.

Option 1. Mobile office - Modern office furniture (desks, chairs, etc.) and the design of computers has been greatly influenced by ergonomic requirements. However, the nature of work is changing, and it has been said that the office of the year 2020 will have four wheels not four walls! If you choose this homework option you must imagine that you are the human factors consultant who has been hired by a client company to develop human factor recommendations and a conceptual design for the mobile office of the future.

To accomplish your task you will need to do several things. First, you will need to define what types of tasks will be done in this office and how they will be done, e.g., will voice input replace keyboard input and if so when, and what might the consequences be? From your task analysis you will need to decide what technology will be used and how this will be located in the workspace envelope? You might decide to take the present day automobile interior as the prototype interior for your office of the future but, if you don't want to, you need not rely on simply locating existing technology within this. Or you might envisage a different technology system altogether.

Your end product should be a paper which describes what work will be done in the office of the future, how this will be done, what types of displays, controls, and workspace layout might be best and why? You should include sketches of your ideas, and plan drawings or other graphics as you see fit, e.g. diagrams of console layouts.

Option 2. Child's wheelchair - To date, the design of wheelchairs has not been greatly influenced by ergonomic considerations. However, as differently-abled children increasingly become integrated into normal educational settings there is a pressing need to design a children's wheelchair which better satisfies childhood requirements. If you choose this homework option you must imagine that you are the human factors consultant who has been hired by a client company to develop human factor recommendations and a conceptual design for a new kind of children's wheelchair.

To accomplish your task you will need to do several things. First, you will need to define what types of activities might a child engage in while in this wheelchair, how will the wheelchair be transported from place to place by others, e.g., will it fit a normal family car, how might a wheelchair be propelled, and how might the design be changed to be more appealing to a child? From your analysis you will need to decide what technology will be used and what the dimensions of the wheelchair might be, as well as generate new ideas on appearance.

Your end product should be a paper which describes what activities can be done in the wheelchair, how this will be propelled, what the wheelchair will look like, how it will be controlled, and how the design of this might be made appealing to children. You should include sketches of your ideas, and plan drawings or other graphics as you see fit.


Option 3. Field microscope - To date, the design of microscopes has not been greatly influenced by ergonomic considerations, other than designing for binocular as well as monocular viewing. Nowadays, microscopes are used in many settings, e.g. schools, colleges, laboratories, industries, but there is still a need for a simple design for a low cost field microscope for normal educational outings and other field activities, e.g., field geology. If you choose this homework option you must imagine that you are the human factors consultant who has been hired by a client company to develop human factor recommendations and a conceptual design for a new kind of low cost field microscope.

To accomplish your task you will need to do several things. First, you will need to define what types of activities are done with a microscope, how can this be transported from place to place, e.g., will it fit into a normal size pocket or does it require a case, and how might the design be changed to be support the activities which you have listed? From your analysis you will need to decide what technology will be used and what the dimensions of the microscope might be, as well as generate new ideas on appearance.

Your end product should be a paper which describes what activities can be done with a microscope, how this can be used, what the microscope might look like, and how the design of this might be made appealing? You should include sketches of your ideas, and plan drawings or other graphics as you see fit.

Option 4. Hand tool/hand held product - The design of hand tools is starting to be influenced by ergonomic considerations. Nowadays, hand tools such as hammers, knives, screwdrivers, power drills, pizza cutter, pliers, soldering iron, scissors and pens, along with hand held products such as a TV remote control have all benefited from ergonomic design input. If you choose this homework option you must imagine that you are the human factors consultant who has been hired by a client company to develop human factor recommendations and a conceptual design or redesign for a hand tool or hand-held product.

To accomplish your task you will need to do several things. First, you will need to choose a hand tool or hand held product that you think can benefit from ergonomic redesign. Second, you must define what types of activities are done with this product, how this should be held, how this should be used and how your ergonomic redesign better supports the activities which you have listed in your analysis? From your analysis you will need to decide what new technology might be used and what the dimensions of the product might be, as well as generate new ideas on its appearance.

Your end product should be a paper which describes what activities can be done with the hand tool or hand held product that you have chosen, how this can better be used with your re-design, what the redesigned or new design product might look like. You should include sketches of your ideas, and plan drawings or other graphics as you see fit.

Option 5. Your choice - You can choose any product or system that you think can benefit from ergonomic design improvements. You should present a functional ergonomic analysis of the product you choose, pointing out the design deficiencies. You should use ergonomic design data from the text and your notes to support your recommended design changes. You should include sketches and/or drawings of your ideas. As with the other 4 options, you must support your design suggestions based on sound ergonomic principles, anthropometric data, and any relevant research studies.


This is your opportunity to undertake some creative human factors design and there are no right or wrong answers, but whatever you include must be supported by a sound human factors rationale. You should refer to principles presented in class, in the readings, or in any other relevant material you have used. You will be given extra credit if you found original journal articles and you cite these and present them in a reference list.

Your consultant's report should be typewritten and should not exceed 8 pages of text. Drawings and other supporting materials can be appended to your report.

This homework is due in class on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. This homework counts for 20% of your course grade.