Human Variation, Ergonomic Design + Technology Equity

Human Variation, Ergonomic Design + Technology Equity

Tuesday, November 20, 3 p.m.

Human Evolution and Social Change
Wrigley Hall 481
Campus: Tempe           
Cost: Free

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes present Dr. Claire Gordon, senior research scientist (biological anthropology), U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
Occupational health, safety and performance depend on clothing, equipment and workstations that fit people’s bodies well. And though we rarely think about it unless something doesn’t fit us, all the technological systems in our lives are designed using assumptions about user characteristics such as body size and shape -- including the furniture and appliances in our homes, the cars we drive, the tools we use and the sports and recreational equipment we enjoy in our leisure time.
This talk presents several case studies that illustrate how anthropology can uniquely contribute to applied problems in ergonomic design, technology equity and policy development. Along the way, we’ll also consider the impact that doing research primarily for application to human occupational safety and health has on measurement systems, research designs, statistical analyses and inference.
We’ll review a classic multivariate design problem -- seated workstations -- and see how anthropometric data are applied to the development of national standards for computer workstations that minimize musculoskeletal disorders. We’ll extend that statistical methodology to quantify anthropometric limitations of existing technology that adversely influence occupational opportunities for minority groups. Next we’ll look at how quantitative studies of sexual dimorphism and minority group anthropometric variation can influence traditional concepts of sizing and design in occupational protective clothing and equipment. Finally, we’ll look at the obesity epidemic and how quantitative studies of anthropometric change have and will influence design requirements, health policy and research.
Gordon serves as senior research scientist (biological anthropology) at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, & Engineering Center. She is responsible for basic and applied research dealing with the accommodation of human physical variation in the design, development and fielding of military systems. She provides scientific input/advice to senior managers, represents Natick in scientific forums and mentors Natick scientists and engineers.  Gordon also chairs the Natick Scientific Review Committee for Human Research Protocols and National/International Standardization Committees in Anthropometry & Biomechanics. Additionally, she serves as subject matter expert to Department of Army, Department of Defense, other Government agencies, academic and industrial organizations performing work relevant to Department of Army objectives.

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