Designing for Human Variability: Allocation of Adjustability

Project: Research project

Project Details


Designing for Human Variability: Allocation of Adjustability

PI: Matthew Parkinson

The research objective of this award is the development of methodologies for modeling the variability affecting the interaction of users with products, tasks, and environments. Types of variability under consideration will include spatial body dimensions (anthropometry), capability, and preference. Rather than focusing on requirements predicted by anthropometry, models will specifically incorporate, through a stochastic component, all of the outcome variance measured in interaction trials. The structure of the models will enable integration with rigorous design tools such as optimization and robust design. These will be used in the context of continuous and discrete adjustability (sizing), adaptive designs, and product platforms.

If successful, the results of this research will assist designers in better predicting the degree to which products, tasks, and environments will accommodate a specified population of users. This, coupled with the ability to systematically evaluate candidate designs, will improve decision-making capabilities with respect to the allocation of adjustability. Additionally, it provides the mechanism for initial work in the consideration of human variability at a systems level. Trade-off studies, such as cost with accommodation or safety will be particularly beneficial. Improved consideration of these factors will result in improved accessibility for broader populations, including the aging population, people with disabilities, and others that are often not accommodated.

Effective start/end date8/1/077/31/10


  • National Science Foundation: $305,343.00


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