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Ergonomic Design Project Examples

Ergonomics Project

Objective:  In this project students will choose an item to redesign to be ergonomic.  You will need to make a prototype (a preliminary model of something from which other forms are developed or copied) of the item to demonstrate to the class.  

Introduction:

Ergonomics is the science of designing custom work environments to increase productivity and decrease injury. Most commonly ergonomics has been applied to the office setting where an individual is working on a computer for prolonged periods of time. Items such as adjustable chairs, wrist supports, and pivoting screens were designed to fit the users body type. For this project you will design an ergonomic tool that caters to the user while maintaining its utility.  While it does not have to an object related to healthcare, it needs to be relevant to your everyday life. 

Research Questions:

Why does the object need to be improved?

Does your ergonomic tool increase efficiency?

Does your ergonomic tool decrease the risk of injury?

Has the ergonomic tool maintained its original function?

What were the main factors to consider when designing your ergonomic tool?

  1. Brainstorm: Think of tools you use on a regular basis and how they can be improved to aid the user. 
  2. Choose a tool to ergonomically design. When designing, consider the following questions:               What is the tool?

      What is its function?

      What makes it a candidate for ergonomic design?

      Is it lacking any features that would aid the user? 

      What do we physically do when using this item?

      What body parts are involved?

      Can the item produce less strain on the user?

      Can the item be more efficient?

      Does the item still retain its functionality?

Example: 

A School Desk - This functions as a writing surface for multiple students. Most desks are one height so students of different heights cannot comfortably work. Shorter students will have to sit on their knees to raise them up while taller students will have to hunch over. Desks that are adjustable are usually adjusted once and remain at that height since adjusting the height takes quite a bit of effort. Usually the legs can be adjusted individually.

We use this item with our arms and hands to write and perform tasks on the desk surface. Desks can be designed to adjust more easily, within seconds so that when students enter the class they can rapidly adjust the height of the desk to suit their height. The desk surface can be angled. This will put less strain on the individual since it is custom fit to their height, arm positioning, and comfort. By designing the desk to be more rapidly adjusted and easier will increase efficiency by decreasing the time it takes to adjust traditional desks or the time spent adjust the way the student sits to accommodate the desk's height. The desk will still maintain its function of a writing/work surface. 

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