X4 Use of detailed data to aid in designing

Posted: October 10, 2010 in Extension (KS4/5)

For ED320 it was absolutely vital that I obtained and used all the data available to me to assess sizing the space saving unit and ensuring it was stable, durable and functional.  I endeavored to in depth research on ergonomics and anthropometrics by obtaining as many books as I could on human sizing, designing for humans, and designing for humans in the office.  It was by looking across all the data that I was able to compare averages, view sizes that were considered universally sound and obtain recommended sizings from everything from knee clearance to the correct height of the backrest to support the lower back so as not to cause discomfort.  With estimations on what you think are  the correct sizings it can lead to all manner of problems when you think that something like the leg itself is split into around 5 sections that need monitoring in order to produce a height that is not going to cause discomfort.  Measurements need to be accurately cumulated for things like foot space, calf height, knee clearance, back of the thigh length and hip width as these are all factors that trans-duce to forming a comfortable seating position.  It underlines the importance of not only gathering the data but using the findings to come up with solutions that will be beneficial for anybody wishing to use your item.  At the start of the year we were warned against making chairs and in all honesty had I not accumulated the data prior to manufacturing the unit then it could have been a bit of a car crash.  I had an idea of what I thought would be appropriate measurements, so much so that in my initial designs I actually detailed the measurements in annotation.  However it was not until I did the in-depth research that  I realised how wide of the mark these guestimations were.  Add to that a desk also included within the design and you realise the lengths of accuracy you need to go to as to not producing a product that can actually lead to causing pain in the future by not correctly supporting the back or leading to users arching their spine to lean over and actually be able to practically use the product.  Designing for humans is certainly not an easy area to judge because as a species we are growing in height average all the time so I feel that it is important that the data used is not only detailed but also up to date.


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