A survey of anthropometry and physical accommodation in ergonomics curricula

Christopher J. Garneau, Matthew B. Parkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The size and shape of users are an important consideration for many products and environments. Designers and engineers in many disciplines must often accommodate these attributes to meet objectives such as fit and safety. When practitioners have academic training in addressing these issues, it is typically through courses in Human Factors/Ergonomics (HF/E). This paper investigates education related to physical accommodation and offers suggestions for improvement. A survey was conducted wherein 21 instructors at 18 universities in the United States provided syllabi for 29 courses, which were analysed to determine topics related to anthropometry and resources used for the courses. The results show that within the US, anthropometry is covered in the majority of courses discussing physical ergonomics, but important related concepts were often omitted (e.g. digital human modelling, multivariate accommodation and variability across global populations). Curricula could be improved by incorporating more accurate anthropometry, multivariate problems and interactive online tools. Practitioner Summary: This paper describes a study investigating collegiate ergonomics courses within the US in the area of physical accommodation. Course schedules and texts were studied for their treatment of several topics related to accommodating the spatial requirements (anthropometry) of users. Recommendations are made for improving course curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalErgonomics
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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