Ergonomics as an important part of product design

Mária Šimková, Jana Požgayová

SUMMARY

Ergonomics is an interdisciplinary system-oriented scientific discipline which comprehensively deals with the interaction of human, products and the environment. Its goal is to optimize psychophysical load and to ensure the development of human personality. Compliance with the ergonomic principles is an inseparable part of the design process. The common goal of ergonomics and product design is the humanization of products and their adjustment to the physiological and psychological capabilities of humans in order to gain the highest affectivity in the product use and the lowest health risks and negative impacts on human health by using a product.

At the Department of Design, Faculty of Architecture (Slovak University of Technology) there were elaborated two dissertation theses, which in this context focused on creating a laboratory of ergonomics at the university.  Laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research experiments and measurement may be performed. The laboratory of ergonomics enables scientific and research activities in controlled conditions. The research shows that in this time scale it is impossible to create a universal laboratory of ergonomics because every segment requires an extensive autonomous research and it is necessary to deal with each of them specifically.  This is the reason why we decided to solve the issue partially and we focused on two fields which demonstrate the interconnection between ergonomics and design.

The first field of dissertation research is focused on design of a simulation suit as a tool which enables empathizing with a physically disabled person and through personal experience contributes to better understanding of the issue. The second field of dissertation research is focused on redesigning an existing, unsuitable product. It is a health aid for handicapped users. The currently used and accessible product creates a health risk. A long-term and daily use of such products may dramatically influence health of the user. Therefore, the product will be created in a simulated laboratory of ergonomics – it means that the design process will be primarily influenced by the strict ergonomic criteria and subsequently with other factors.

Keywords: design, laboratory, ergonomics, simulation, industrial design, simulation suit