The research objective of this Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) project is to quantify and predict the spatial requirements of humans of different populations and to understand how such requirements impact decision making for design engineering purposes. Current tools for the design of artifacts, tasks, and environments are hindered by the availability of detailed data on the body dimensions (anthropometry) for most user populations. To address this, research activities will be conducted in three primary areas: 1) estimating body size and shape for target user populations; 2) identifying relevant tasks, postures, and measures; and 3) creating a robust, scalable, and accurate human figure model that can embody the results, which will then be used for artifact design. The work will address the specific challenges posed by the secular trends observed in the U.S. population: the increased prevalence of obesity, the aging population, and changing demographics.
If successful, the results of this effort will provide, for the first time, freely available detailed estimates of the body size and shape of the U.S. civilian population and select global populations. These digital human models (and instructions on their use) will be made available online in an open-source format allowing their use in most commercial CAD packages. In addition to benefiting ergonomists and designers in a wide range of industries, over 1 million university students per year will have exposure to the work through the industry partner's existing university program (those using different CAD systems will have access through the open-source models). This will improve design education and facilitate accurate configuration of manufacturing facilities and product design - improving safety, performance, and customer satisfaction.