Inclusive Mobility Research Lab

Ergonomics research in human movement, mobility, and inclusive design

Course Overview: Population aging, obesity and disability prevalence has increased the profile of inclusive design as an approach to accommodating the broad spectrum of human physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities. This course is a graduate-level study of contemporary ergonomics research methods for examining human performance variability associated with aging, disability and health-related factors and its relevance to inclusive systems design. Select case studies in ergonomics and inclusive design research derived from healthcare, transportation and occupational settings are covered.

The course covers topics in human performance variability associated with aging and functional impairments in:

  • physical (anthropometry, biomechanics, movement and mobility)
  • perceptual (vision, hearing), and
  • cognitive (information processing, decision-making) abilities,
with relevant case examples and research articles to demonstrate the relevance and practice of inclusive design.

Course Outcomes: By the end of the course, students should have an appreciation for human variability in relation to engineering design, and be able to identify and prevent against barriers that may be designed into products and environments when usability is not considered.

Course Readings: The course is based on select journal articles and book chapters on ergonomics and human factors engineering coupled with guest lectures and assignments in quantitative data analysis. Assignments and examinations will emphasize integration of key concepts, and application to conceptualize and/or evaluate design solutions to benefit diverse groups of users and support human variability and performance.

Pre-requisites: Students are expected to have a basic understanding of ergonomics and statistical data analysis. Previous enrollments have included graduate students from Industrial and Operations Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Biomechanical Engineering departments.

Email the Instructor, Dr. Clive D'Souza (crdsouza@umich.edu) for more information about the course.

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This is an undergraduate-level introductory course in Ergonomics and offers a broad understanding of the physical and cognitive (mental) abilities and limitations of humans in relation to engineering, design and human-systems integration.

While IOE 333 is a required course for all IOE undergraduates (along with the accompanying IOE 334: Ergonomics Lab), it is also a popular elective among Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering undegraduate students.

Course Goals:

  • Demonstrate the relevance and importance of human factors and ergonomics in our society and in industry.
  • Increase your interest and awareness of human factors and ergonomic issues in everyday things and actions and in physical and mental work.
  • Illustrate how to recognize and identify human factors and ergonomics problems.
  • Provide you with the basic concepts, tools and methods to solve human factors and ergonomics problems.

Course Outcomes:

  • Identify ergonomic problems.
  • Use ergonomic tables in ergonomic problem solving.
  • Use basic biomechanical formulas to analyze ergonomic problems.
  • Use basic cognitive ergonomics concepts and formulas in solving ergonomic problems.
  • Use basic physiological concepts to analyze ergonomic problems.
  • Use basic check lists and descriptor lists as survey techniques.
  • Use anthropometric data in design.
  • Prepare ergonomics analysis reports.