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Abstract: In product design fields where the demand for an efficient usability is critical to its final success, it is essential to integrate user requirements into the design process from the earliest design stages. Particularly in the medical context, it is essential to systematically control the design phases in order not to neglect the strict constraints related to engineering design quality, safety, and usability requirements for the end user. Hence, in this work, an integrated user-centered product design and process simulation method is proposed. This method is aimed at enriching the state of the art in integrated product design and process simulation in the early design stages, as well as providing a novel design example of a device thought for medical contexts. The case study consists in the design of an intercom, aimed at improving patient-doctor communication in the case of bedridden patients on with helmet for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy during COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Patients undergoing helmet-assisted ventilation are often immersed in a highly noisy environment, unable to fully communicate their needs to the doctors. Intercom devices are addressed to the doctors for improving ease communication with the patient. The proposed user-centered design for manufacturing and assembly proved to be efficient in such a complex design context.
Keywords: Integrated product and process design method | Process simulation | User-centered design
Abstract: This paper proposes a systematic approach for involving the clinicians in the design of medical devices, here used for the development of a soft robotic glove for rehabilitation. The approach considers the integration of different methodologies that take into account the emotional information of the clinicians considered as end–users (i.e. Kano–Kansei) and a deep analysis of the needs of both the patients and the clinicians (i.e. house of quality). Based on this user–centered approach, the paper develops different rehabilitation concepts realized through the technique referred to as design of experiments. Finally the optimal one is chosen re–involving the clinicians and using the ANOVA analysis.
Keywords: Hand rehabilitation | Product development | Soft robotics | User-centred design
Abstract: eXtended Reality (XR) technology can enhance the visitors’ experience of museums. Due to the variety of XR technologies available that differ in performance, quality of the experience they provide, and cost, it is helpful to refer to the evaluation of the various technologies performed through user studies to select the most suitable ones. This paper presents a set of empirical studies on XR application for museums to select the appropriate technologies to meet visitors’ expectations and maximise the willingness of repeating and recommending the experience. They provide valuable insights for developing Virtual Museum applications increasing the level of presence and experience economy.
Keywords: Extended reality | Multisensory experience | Sense of smell | User experience | Virtual museum
Abstract: Collaborative robots (cobots) are designed to directly interact with human beings within a shared workspace. To minimize the risk of musculoskeletal disease for the workers, a physical ergonomic assessment of their interaction is needed. Virtual reality (VR) and motion capture (Mocap) systems can aid designers in building low-hazard collaborative environments. This work presents a framework based on VR and Mocap systems for the ergonomic evaluation of collaborative robotic workstations. Starting from the 3D models of the cobot and workstation components, a virtual environment is built in Unity and ROS is employed to manage the cobot behavior. The physical ergonomics is evaluated by means of RULA methodology, exploiting the body tracking capabilities of the device Kinect Azure, a low-cost markerless Mocap system. The framework has been tested by building a virtual environment for collaborative control of flanges with different diameters. The worker interacts with a six-axis Nyro One to move parts on the workstation. The ergonomic assessment is performed in real-time, and a report is generated for later uses and evaluations. The proposed framework fosters the design of collaborative robotics workstations based on an objective assessment of ergonomics. The results of this research work allow planning future development steps for the emulation of more complex workstations with cobots and the use of augmented reality to evaluate how to modify existing workstations to introduce a cobot.
Keywords: Collaborative robots | Ergonomics | Motion capture | Virtual reality
Abstract: For the sake of being competitive in an ever-changing market, industrial companies need a redefinition of traditional design and integration of parts, equipment, and services such a redefinition allows effectively addressing the interaction between machines and operators, particularly in the area of complex production lines. In this context, enhancing ergonomics is crucial to reduce fatigue and stress of workers and increase work-place efficiency and comfort. Moreover, identifying ergonomic flaws in three-dimensional human-machine design problems (e.g., body posture, reach, visibility) at an early stage of the engineering process allows to prevent these issues at a low cost. Virtual reality (VR) is emerging as a powerful tool to improve the ergonomic assessment in the design of complex production lines. However, VR is not yet a well-consolidated practice for industrial companies, and the state-of-the-art applications are limited to simplified, isolated, and customized experiments. This work proposes the use of a virtual golden zone (VGZ) as a standard and efficient VR method for the ergonomic analysis and optimization of operator activities in manual manufacturing stations. The resulting effectiveness and benefits are highlighted through the application of the approach to a real industrial case study. Finally, the outcomes of a usability questionnaire, compiled by the professionals involved in the VR reviews, are presented to evaluate the usability of the VGZ methodology in the design process of complex production lines.
Keywords: Complex production lines | Ergonomics | Human computer interaction | Virtual reality
Abstract: In the ever-changing scenario of technology evolution, designers need to develop new interactive systems that respond to users’ needs. Augmented Reality (AR) could be a tool and an opportunity for designers to create novel interactive systems. AR has proven to be effective in several domains, showing potential for widespread deployment even in everyday life tasks such as the use of household appliances. Thus, leveraging the Human-Centred Design (HCD) approach, we integrate AR into the design and development process of an interactive system for household appliances. Based on our survey results with 463 participants, one of the appliances that could benefit most from AR is the kitchen machine. Starting from a case study, we develop a demo to prove the feasibility of designing interactive systems with the integration of AR technologies, following the HCD approach.
Keywords: Augmented Reality | Human-Centred Design | Industrial Design | Interactive System | User Interface
Abstract: Confined spaces cause fatal and serious injuries that tragically recur with similar dynamics every year. A survey carried out on the Italian territory by the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work on the years from 2001 to 2019 shows that a total of 184 accidents occurred in confined spaces mostly because workers were poorly informed and trained, the risk assessment lacking, and that the provisions of the law were not respected. Often fatal events affect those involved in the primary incident and those who intervene in an attempt to assist. Consequently, it is necessary to apply a proper training process and extend it to all those involved in operations both inside and next to confined spaces. Traditionally, the training approach consists of classroom lectures and simulations in real environments. However, real simulation scenarios are costly and time-consuming as real scenarios training simulations require expensive purpose-built physical simulators. To overcome these limitations, we designed and implemented an Immersive Virtual Reality based platform to support and enforce the traditional confined space safety training approach. Finally, we defined an experimental validation procedure.
Keywords: Confined spaces | Immersive Virtual Reality | Safety training | Usability | Work safety
Abstract: Many workers and citizens have been forced to make a lifestyle change in the past two years due to the pandemic emergency. In order to keep a high level of personal health, the doctors suggest to do fitness exercises. Before the pandemic it was possible to do these exercises at the gym or during dedicated session in the office supervised by professional trainers. During the pandemic emergency the gyms were closed, the workers were forced to stay home and the people started to do gym exercises by themselves without the control of a professional figure. This situation could lead to several diseases associated to musculoskeletal disorders if the exercises are performed incorrectly. In this work, an approach based on the pose-estimator application OpenPose is developed. The reference exercise is an isometric squat performed by a professional trainer. During the exercise, thanks to a deep neural network, the pose-estimator gets a series of key-points and vectors which represent the user’s pose. A dataset of videos (for both the correct and incorrect postures) has been used to train several machine learning algorithms. The result is an automatic tool that recognizes incorrect poses during the exercise and helps the performer to correct it.
Keywords: Computer vision | Ergonomics | Machine learning | Physiotherapy | Posture assessment
Abstract: Design methods for sports engineering allow to improve the world around the athlete. In cycling, a sport device that can be useful to reduce and monitor the risk of injuries is a smart glove equipped with pressure sensors. The literature underlined how the current design methods lack the comprehensive consideration of sensors integration for force analysis at the handlebar. Furthermore, the majority of existing solutions is based on resistive pressure sensors. In this work, we present mainly two advancements with respect to the state-of-the-art: (1) user-centered design methodology for the glove development, which allows to take care about the main design parameters which involve the cyclist, namely her/his anthropometric characteristics and her/his sport gesture analysis (achieved by the pressure analysis on the handlebar) during classic grip position of cycling (i.e., top grip); (2) prototyping of custom-made capacitive pressure sensors instead of classic commercial resistive pressure sensors. The work involves the concept generation, the selection of the optimal concept through Kano and Quality of Function Development as well as the preliminary prototyping of one capacitive pressure sensor, realized using a fabrication process involving additive manufacturing techniques and silicon molding.
Keywords: capacitive sensors | human body scanning | injury risk | user-centered design
Abstract: In this paper, we present a biomechanical analysis of the upper body, which includes upper-limb, neck and trunk, during the execution of overhead industrial tasks. The analysis is based on multiple performance metrics obtained from a biomechanical analysis of the worker during the execution of a specific task, i.e. an overhead drilling task, performed at different working heights. The analysis enables a full description of human movement and internal load state during the execution of the task, thought the evaluation of joint angles, joint torques and muscle activations. A digital human model is used to simulate and replicate the worker’s task in a virtual environment. The experiments were conduced in laboratory setting, where four subjects, with different anthropometric characteristics, have performed 48 drilling tasks in two different working heights defined as low configuration and middle configuration. The results of analysis have impact on providing the best configuration of the worker within the industrial workplace and/or providing guidelines for developing assistance devices which can reduce the physical overloading acting on the worker’s body.
Keywords: Biomechanics | Digital human models | Electromyography | Ergonomics | Industry | Overhead tasks
Abstract: In the context of Industry 4.0, Operator 4.0 paradigm represents a key factor when dealing with the integration of new digital technologies into smart factories that are suited for workers with different skills, capabilities, and preferences. In this regard, to encourage the introduction of these new digital solutions and achieve high user acceptance, it is fundamental to consider human factors and put the worker at the center of the development process through the adoption of structured design strategies such as user-centered design (UCD) approaches. In this perspective, the paper proposes a novel Augmented Reality (AR) tool for supporting operators at the workplace, in real-time, while performing inspection activities on built products. The proposed tool has been developed according to a user-centered design approach by involving end-users in the various design and testing stages. Preliminary tests have been conducted with representative users on a real case study to assess the usability of the proposed solution. The outcomes are very encouraging and lead us towards further investigations for effective and valid implementation of this AR tool in an industrial scenario.
Keywords: Industrial augmented reality | Industry 4.0 | Operator 4.0 | Usability | User-centered design
Abstract: The paper introduces guidelines to support designers to generate ideas for the development of surprising products. The guidelines are structured coherently with the concept of sensory incongruity and the Function-Behaviour-Structure framework to create a mismatch between previously conceived expectations and product features. The usability of the interactive presentation is checked with an experiment that involved more than 30 subjects with a background in product design (mechanical engineers and industrial designers), which demonstrated to be capable of generating ideas using the same.
Keywords: expectations | idea generation | product design | surprise | user-centred design
Abstract: Although Virtual Reality Social Skills Training has proven its effectiveness in treating psychiatric disorders, this VR application field is still under-researched for two main reasons. The first one is the unavailability of low-cost VR technologies with sufficient computational capacity needed to render realistic Virtual Environments. The second one consists of the need for specialized VR application developers, usually far from the mental health research field. The recent diffusion of low-cost stereoscopic viewers and the introduction of easy and fast VR content authoring systems, such as Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR), allow overcoming these limitations. CVR makes it possible to capture real scenes through 360 cameras, augment them with additional virtual objects, and finally immerse the user in these synthetic but highly immersive environments. We present the design and the features of the Entellect360 prototype -an innovative tool supporting the rehabilitation process of subjects affected by schizophrenia. It exploits CVR technology to create Virtual Environments aimed at the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients. The Entellect360 features allow for rehabilitation sessions and patient-performance data-collection even under conditions of social distancing. We also explain the experimental protocol and the validation procedure the prototype will undergo to assess its effectiveness.
Keywords: 360-degree virtual reality | Cognitive rehabilitation | Human-computer interaction | Mental health | Social skills training
Abstract: In the last years, interactive exhibitions based on digital technologies have become widely common, thanks to their flexibility and effectiveness in engaging visitors and creating memorable experiences. One of the topics in which digital technologies can be particularly effective is the communication of abstract concepts that are difficult for the human mind to imagine. An emblematic example is the astronomy discipline, which requires us to imagine and understand phenomena far away from our everyday life. In this paper, the authors present a research project, MARSS, in which digital technologies are used effectively to enhance the Users’ Experience of the Museo Astronomico di Brera located in Milan. Specifically, the MARSS project aims at designing and developing a new digital journey inside the museum to allow different categories of visitors to enjoy the exhibition in an engaging and interactive way. The paper presents the design and development phases of the experience and its evaluation with users. The results of the evaluation indicate that the digital interactive experience is appreciated by users and is successful in translating the content of high scientific value into more engaging and easily understandable elements.
Keywords: augmented reality | cultural heritage | extended reality | interactive exhibitions | science museums | user experience
Abstract: Augmented Reality seems a promising tool to provide engaging and effective educational experiences, thanks to its potentiality in stimulating intrinsic motivation, that could influence the learning process and the attitude of the users towards behaviours. This paper presents the Resized Plastic Augmented Reality learning experience, designed on the basis of Dunleavy's framework to provide a systemic overview of the microplastics issue to allow users to understand its mechanisms, educate them about their role in the system and help them to connect this information to their everyday actions.
Keywords: augmented reality (AR) | digital learning | sustainability | user experience
Abstract: This exploratory work aims to understand which elements of a building mostly attract visitors' attention. An experiment was conducted to allow participants to visit a prototype tiny house while wearing eye-tracking glasses. Identified gazed elements of the prototype were selected and the corresponding dwell times used as variables. The limited dwell times on structural elements show that they can be easily overshadowed by other features present in the building. This leads to a design problem when the novelty and the quality of a new product, markedly a building, reside in the materials used.
Keywords: architectural design | eye tracking | human-centred design | interaction design
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyze theory of inventive problem-solving (TRIZ) in terms of knowledge, skill, workload and affect to understand its effectiveness in enabling designers to achieve their optimized mental performance. Design/methodology/approach: TASKS framework, which aims to capture the causal relations among Task workload, affect, skills, knowledge and mental stress, is adopted as our methodology. The framework supports the analysis of how a methodology influence designer’s affect, skills, knowledge and workload. TRIZ-related publications are assessed using the TASKS framework to identify the barriers and enablers in TRIZ-supported design. Findings: TRIZ has limitations on its logic and tools. Nevertheless, it could create a beneficial impact on mental performance of designers. Originality/value: This paper provides a theory-driven TRIZ usability analysis based on the materials in the literature following the TASKS framework. The impact of TRIZ, as an enabler or a barrier, has been analyzed in accomplishing a design task.
Keywords: Mental effort | Mental stress | TASKS framework | TRIZ | Usability
Abstract: User Experience (UX) is a concept based on the human-product interaction. An increase of UX studies in the Human-Computer interaction (HCI) field was observed in the last decade. Empirical studies based their experimental activity on HCI products, which are characterized by two components: Software and intangible (digital interfaces and web apps) and Hardware and physical (devices). Trough an explorative study, the authors propose a research direction to compares UX studies targeting software and hardware components of HCI products. A preliminary sample of papers was considered. The authors collected contributions where UX in HCI design is investigated through case studies involving devices with software and hardware components. Objectives, methods, and tools of each case study were compared. It emerged that complex systems require both quantitative and qualitative analysis approaches, as the wide variety of tools for data acquisition and processing show. Since Hardware components are more closely related to products such as consumer goods and engineering products, it is possible that methods and tools used to study hardware components could also be applicable to other physical and tangible products, i.e., the main reference for product, engineering, and mechanical design.
Keywords: Hardware | HCI design | Intangible | Software | Tangible | User experience
Abstract: The COVID-19 virus proliferated from its first emergence to a global phenomenon becoming a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization on 11th March 2020. This sanitary emergency obliged people to suddenly face several changes in their way of life due to imposed countries’ lockdown and social distancing. One of these rapid changes involved schools and universities and, consequently, students and professors: with the sudden lockdown of universities and colleges worldwide, they had to turn the traditional “in presence” classes into online courses. A published survey among Italian academic staff and students allowed to identify and highlight the factors that affect ergonomics of workstation (learning and teaching workplace), postural and environmental comfort and teaching/learning effectiveness. This paper would like to give guidelines to set the right home environment and the timing of learning/teaching activities to improve global comfort, both for students and teachers, and improve learning effectiveness. Thirty-Five Master Degree students were involved in the experiment during the second-semester lessons (during Italian lockdown) and were asked to fill questionnaires and check their learning outcomes by answering multiple-choice tests. Data were statistically processed, and results were used to create guidelines to set the learning home-environment at best, where and when possible.
Keywords: Comfort | eLearning effectiveness | Workplace design method
Abstract: The European Commission defined the new concept of Industry 5.0 meaning a more human-centric, resilient, and sustainable approach for the design of industrial systems and operations. A deep understanding of the work environment and organization is important to start analysing the working conditions and the resulting User eXperience (UX) of the operators. Also, the knowledge about users’ needs and ergonomics is fundamental to optimize the workers’ wellbeing, working conditions, and industrial results. In this context, the paper presents a strategy to effectively assess the UX of workers to promote human-centric vision of manufacturing sites, enhancing the overall sustainability of the modern factories. A set of non-invasive wearable devices is used to monitor human activities and collect physiological parameters, as well as questionnaires to gather subjective self-assessment. This set-up was applied to virtual reality (VR) simulation, replicating heavy duty work sequence tasks that took place in an oil and gas pipes manufacturing site. This approach allowed the identification of possible stressful conditions for the operator, from physical and mental perspectives, which may compromise the performance. This research was funded by the European Community's HORIZON 2020 programme under grant agreement No. 958303 (PENELOPE).
Keywords: Cognitive ergonomics | Human-centred design | Industry 5.0 | User experience | Virtual reality
Abstract: In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, human has still a central role. Manufacturing industries have to deal with human sustainability in order to guarantee workers’ health and well-being. Several studies have proved the importance of ergonomics in workplace design and the benefits related to the adoption of the human-centered approach. The enabling technologies of Industry 4.0 are changing the role of the operator and can support him from a physical and cognitive point of view. On the other hand, companies are increasingly implementing lean philosophies, such as World Class Manufacturing, to maintain their competitiveness by reducing wastes and costs. However, the need arises for a comprehensive methodology to support the design of manufacturing equipment considering human factors by integrating Industry 4.0 technologies and World Class Manufacturing elements. It aims at improving both ergonomic and efficiency aspects of the workstation. The proposed methodology allows identifying and in-depth analyzing the problem, thus finding and implementing a solution that complies with all the requirements and constraints defined. Each step of the methodology can be strengthened by Industry 4.0 technologies. The methodology has been experimented in a real case study with a global company of agriculture and industrial vehicles, leading to the design and implementation of a new equipment. Relevant benefits in terms of ergonomics, efficiency, and process standardization have been achieved.
Keywords: Equipment design | Ergonomics | Human-centered manufacturing | Industry 4.0 | Workplace organization pillar | World class manufacturing
Abstract: Disability conditions characterized by hand dysfunction are particularly relevant for the use of touchscreen technology. This work investigates the effects of hand impairment produced by systemic sclerosis (SSc) on touchscreen interaction. It aims to fulfil a dual objective: to provide guidelines to design inclusive interfaces and interaction modalities for SSc patients and to design a hand physio-rehabilitation based on a touchscreen application. Eighty patients participated in the observational study and, accordingly, eighty subjects without impairments were recruited as a control cohort. A specific touchscreen application has been designed and developed including three gestures: tap, drag and drop, and pinch-to-zoom. The work allowed identifying the interface features that significantly influence the performance and, consequently, the design rules for the physio-rehabilitation application.
Keywords: Hand impairment | Human-computer interaction | Inclusive design | Interface design | Systemic sclerosis | User-centred design
Abstract: Industry 4.0 is characterized by great potential for innovation impacting the operator's role, increasingly engaged in smart activities of a decision-making nature. In such a working scenario, operators' working conditions can be effectively improved by applying a user-centered collaborative design approach. To this end, we developed a Virtual Reality-based multiplayer tool exploiting low-cost body tracking technology to evaluate ergonomic postural risk. The tool allows evaluating both in real-time and off-line the ergonomic postural risk according to the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment metrics. By applying this approach, a twofold advantage can be achieved. On the one hand, ergonomic experts can have an immersive three-dimensional visualization of postures even in off-line observations. On the other hand, it is possible to evaluate the ergonomics of workstations in the design phase by having the operator work on virtual mock-ups of workstations, thus allowing a sustainable approach to user-centered collaborative design.
Keywords: Collaborative design | Ergonomics | Kinect V2 | RULA | User-centered | Virtual Reality
Abstract: In the industry 4.0 era, pursuing social sustainability also means implementing a synergic collaboration between workers and robots. Indeed, robot behavior does not affect only worker safety, but it also influences his health and comfort. In this context, an important topic to be enhanced is the operator's physical monitoring aimed at reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Some research studies deal with the improvement of the worker's posture during human-robot collaboration; however, non-intrusive methods applicable in real industrial scenarios are lacking. To this ending, this paper proposes a system to avoid uncomfortable and unsafe postures based on workers' anthropometric characteristics, posture monitoring by inertial and visual systems, task requirements, and a real-time risk assessment by standard methodology. The system allows the optimization of the robot behavior in order to improve worker's well-being. Finally, the virtual simulation of a real case study is presented.
Keywords: human factors | human-robot collaboration | industry 4.0 | physical ergonomics
Abstract: The work environment influences workers’ well-being and contributes to the growth of personal experiences. In fact, working in an unhealthy workplace can cause stress, frustration, and anxiety. Therefore, companies have to deal with the workers’ well-being in the work environment, making the management of human factors a crucial aspect. In this context, the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies can support workplace monitoring and improvement. Some researchers propose structured methods that consider several ergonomic domains together; however, it is necessary to create platforms that support data collection, elaboration, and correlation in an integrated way. Accordingly, this paper presents a tool that supports the monitoring of operators’ activities, the data analysis, and the implementation of corrective actions to make the workplace socially sustainable. Preliminary tests were conducted to assess the functionality of the tool architecture and two use cases are presented. They focus on posture analysis and stress detection by inertial sensors and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, respectively.
Keywords: Human factors | Human-centered manufacturing | Industry 4.0 | Stress detection | Unsupervised learning | Worker well-being
Abstract: The fourth industrial revolution is evolving the machines as well as the abilities of people working in the factories. Human roles and tasks are changing, moving from highly physical tasks to decision-making and high-precision activities, asking for different competencies and creating new types of interactions with machines. This paper reviews the design and engineering methods for the inclusion of human factors in modern companies. Human factor integration (HFI) can play a key role in the design of factories with a great impact on social aspects and global process sustainability. The paper proposes a systematic view of the main tools to design human-centered industrial processes, with a specific focus on manufacturing, and discusses trends to achieve and effective HFI.
Keywords: Engineering methods | Ergonomics | Human factors | Human-centered design
Abstract: Designing highly usable and ergonomic dashboards is fundamental to support users in managing and properly setting complex vehicles, like trains, airplanes, trucks and tractors. Contrarily, control dashboards are usually intrusive, full of controls and not really intuitive or usable. This paper focuses on the design of ergonomic and usable dashboard for specific classes of vehicles, like tractors and trucks. Indeed, trucks and tractors are both vehicles and operating machines, and their control is particularly complex. Indeed, the driver contemporary drives and checks if the machine is working properly. The paper proposes an innovative methodology to design highly usable and compact dashboards inspired by human-centered design and ergonomics principles. The study started by shifting the attention from the machine performance, that is the conventional engineering approach, to the human-system interaction quality, according to a new, transdisciplinary approach. The methodology proposes to combine virtual simulations with human performance analysis to support the design at different stages, from concept generation to detailed design, until testing with users. The methodology uses virtual environments to create digital twins of both driver and controls, making users interact with virtual items and predict the type and nature of interaction. Within virtual scenarios, different configurations of dashboard controls can be easily compared and tested, checking the frequency of use of each control and measuring the achieved human performance related to postural comfort and mental workload. The study adopted the proposed methodology to two industrial use cases focusing on the design of ergonomic dashboards: the former is referred to tractor dashboard and armrest, the latter refers to truck dashboard and seat. Both cases demonstrated that the new methodology allowed improved comfort, higher usability, higher visibility and accessibility, better performance and reduced time for machine control. The study demonstrates how a multidisciplinary user information integration can drive design optimization.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human factors | Human-centered design | Usability | Virtual simulation
Abstract: Successful interaction with complex processes, like those in the modern factory, is based on the system’s ability to satisfy the user needs during human tasks, mainly related to performances, physical comfort, usability, accessibility, visibility, and mental workload. However, the ‘real’ user perception is hidden and usually difficult to detect. User eXperience (UX) is a useful concept related to subjective perceptions and responses that result from the interaction with a product, system or process, including users’ emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use. The paper proposes the creation of a User eXperience Index (UXI) to assess the quality of human-system interaction during job tasks and, consequently, evaluate both process and workstation. The proposed approach has been applied to improve the design of assembly human tasks, using a virtual simulated case study focusing on tractor assembly. Tests with users, with different levels of expertise, allowed us to validate the proposed approach and to optimize the assembly task sequence. Results showed how the proposed UXI can validly objectify the workers’ experience and can be validly used to improve the design of human tasks.
Keywords: ergonomics | human factors engineering | human monitoring | Human-centered design | transdisciplinary engineering | user experience | virtual assembly
Abstract: Low-back exoskeletons are a wide-spreading technology tackling low-back pain, the leading work-related musculoskeletal disorder in many work sectors. Currently, spring-based (i.e., passive) exoskeletons are the mostly adopted in the industry, being cheaper and generally less complex and more intuitive to use. We introduce a system of interconnected wireless sensing units to provide online ergonomics feedback to the wearer. We integrate the system into our passive low-back exoskeleton and evaluate its usability with healthy volunteers and potential end users. In this way, we provide the exoskeleton with a tool aimed both at monitoring the interaction of the system with the user, providing them with an ergonomics feedback during task execution. The sensor system can also be integrated with a custom-developed Unity3D application which can be used to interface with Augmented- or Virtual-Reality applications with higher potential for improved user feedback, ergonomics training, and offline ergonomics evaluation of the workplace. We believe that providing ergonomics feedback to exoskeleton users in the industrial sector could help further reduce the drastic impact of low-back pain and prevent its onset.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Exoskeleton | Industrial sector | Low-back pain | Usability | User feedback
Abstract: Municipal waste management, especially in developed countries, has a significant impact on the environment and humans that need to be quantified and mitigated. This study aims to investigate and compare the environmental impact and occupational risks of the following three municipal waste collection methods in Italy: street bins, door-to-door collection, and a smart bins system. Six waste categories (paper, plastics, glass, metal, organic materials, and residual waste) are analysed. Environmental performances are calculated by the life cycle assessment (LCA) and material and flow analysis (MFA) methodologies. The ergonomic analysis is based on direct observation of municipal waste collectors and the application of standard assessment methods as RULA, NIOSH, and Snook Ciriello. Results: show that the smart bins collection method is environmentally more effective in all the impact categories considered, thanks to the better quality of collected waste. The residual waste flow directed to landfills has a lower value in the case of smart bins (36.63%) in comparison with door-to-door (52.90%) and street bins (89.56%). The use of smart bins allows higher environmental benefits, passing for the Climate Change impact category from −2.80E+01 kg of CO2eq. of the door-to-door system and −2.74E+01 kg of CO2eq. of street bins to −7.13E+01 kg of CO2eq. of smart bins. Regarding the transport phase, the smart bins system determines a reduction of the impact of about 60% if compared with the door-to-door system for all the impact categories considered. On the other hand, acceptable occupational risks result in street and smart waste collection methods, while poor ergonomics conditions are observed during the door-to-door collection. Containers lifting and emptying are the most critical tasks.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Life cycle assessment | Occupational risks | Sustainability | Waste collection
Abstract: Industry nowadays must deal with the so called “fourth industrial revolution”, i.e. Industry 4.0. This revolution is based on the introduction of new paradigms in the manufacturing industry such as flexibility, efficiency, safety, digitization, big data analysis and interconnection. However, human factors’ integration is usually not considered, although included as one of the paradigms. Some of these human factors’ most overlooked aspects are the customization of the worker’s user experience and on-board safety. Moreover, the issue of integrating state of the art technologies on legacy machines is also of utmost importance, as it can make a considerable difference on the economic and environmental aspects of their management, by extending the machine’s life cycle. In response to this issue, the Retrofitting paradigm, the addition of new technologies to legacy machines, has been considered. In this paper we propose a novel modular system architecture for secure authentication and worker’s log-in/log-out traceability based on face recognition and on state-of-the-art Deep Learning and Computer Vision techniques, as Convolutional Neural Networks. Starting from the proposed architecture, we developed and tested a device designed to retrofit legacy machines with such capabilities, keeping particular attention to the interface usability in the design phase, little considered in retrofitting applications along with other Human Factors, despite being one of the pillars of Industry 4.0. This research work’s results showed a dramatic improvement regarding machines on-board access safety.
Keywords: Face recognition | Industrial Internet of Things | Industry 4.0 | Safety | Smart retrofitting | Usability
Abstract: The potential of collaborative robotics often does not materialize in an efficient design of the human-robot collaboration. Technology-oriented approaches are no longer enough in the Industry 4.0 era. This work proposes a set of methods to support manufacturing engineers in the human-oriented design process of integrated production systems to obtain satisfactory performance in the mass customization paradigm, without impacting the safety and health of workers. It founds the design criteria definition on five main pillars (safety, ergonomics, effectiveness, flexibility, and costs), favors the consideration of different design alternatives, and leads their selection. The dynamic impact of the design choices on the various elements of the system prevails over the static design constraints. The method has been experimented in collaboration with the major kitchen manufacturer in Italy, which introduced a collaborative robotics cell in the drawers’ assembly line. It resulted in a more balanced production line (10% more), a verified risk minimization (RULA score reduced from 5 to 3 and OCRA score from 13.30 to 5.70), and a greater allocation of operators to high added value activities.
Keywords: collaborative robots | ergonomics | human-centered manufacturing | Human-robot collaboration | manufacturing systems design
Abstract: The key concept of collaborative robotics is represented by the presence of a strict interaction between a human user and the robotic system. As such, the study of the interaction is of paramount importance for a successful implementation of the system. In this article, we propose a novel approach to address the problem of designing a collaborative robotic system for industrial applications, focusing on the characteristics of the interaction. In particular, we will propose a set of methodologies focused on interaction design, inspired by those used for the design of user interfaces. These methodologies will allow the design of collaborative robotic systems following a user-centered approach, thus putting emphasis not only on safety and adaptability of the robotic systems (which have been widely addressed in the literature), but also on the interaction experience. While the proposed methodology was developed considering general collaborative robotics applications, two real industrial case studies were considered, to instantiate the considered framework and showcase its applicability to the real-world domain. Note to Practitioners-This article aims at bridging the gap between interaction design and collaborative robotics. In particular, the proposed methodology will represent a toolset for robotic experts (researchers and system integrators), for understanding the user experience and designing the robotic system ensuring an effective interaction. In fact, while robotics experts are typically well aware of issues and methodologies related to technological and application aspects, they often tend to ignore the principles of interaction. Such principles are commonly adopted in the design of computer-based human-machine interfaces or web applications, but, to the best of the authors' knowledge, have never been applied to the design of collaborative robotic systems for industrial applications. Hence, this article will serve as a fundamental step to bring interaction design principles into the robot integration domain.
Keywords: Collaborative robotics | interaction design | user interface human factors | user-centered design
Keywords: affective computing | deep learning | gaze detection | remote usability testing | usability | usability assessment
Abstract: Understanding user experience (UX) is essential to design engaging and attractive products, so nowadays has emerged an increasingly interest in user-centred design approach; in this perspective, digital technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) could help designers and engineers to create a digital prototype through which the user feedback can be considered during the product design stage. This research aims at creating an interactive Digital Twin (DT) using MR to enable a tractor driving simulation and involve real users to carry out an early UX evaluation, with the scope to validate the design of the control dashboard through a transdisciplinary approach. MR combines virtual simulation with real physical hardware devices which the user can interact with and have control through both visual and tactile feedback. The result is a MR simulator that combines virtual contents and physical controls, capable of reproducing a plowing activity close to reality. The principles of UX design was applied to this research for a continuous and dynamic UX evaluation during the project development.
Keywords: Digital Engineering | Digital Twin | Human-centered Design | Mixed Reality | User experience design
Abstract: Human factors integration is definitely a transdisciplinary and urgent matter in modern factories. Despite the great surge in factory automation in recent years, human-machine interaction is still a crucial aspect and companies need to take care of the workers' wellbeing and performance to enhance the overall system quality and productivity. Nevertheless, ergonomics is poorly considered during the design of complex industrial systems, such as automatic machinery, especially for the lack of practical methodologies and guidelines to promote human factors from the early stages of design or redesign. To overcome this issue, this work proposes a transdisciplinary approach to redesign automatic machinery in compliance with factory ergonomics, using a combination of digital technologies (e.g., digital human simulation, human physiological data monitoring). The paper defines a structure method and related tools to apply a human-centric approach to industrial cases and their validation of a real case, concerning the redesign of a packaging automatic machine. Results show how the proposed approach is useful to detect possible ergonomic issues at the shop floor, identifying in advance risky situations for the operators during operating or maintenance tasks, and leading to an optimized machine able to enhance the workers' wellbeing and factory productivity at the same time.
Keywords: digital human simulation | ergonomics | human factors integration | human monitoring | human-centered design
Abstract: Operator 4.0 has to deal with a vast amount of product variants and production data especially within the mass customization paradigm, high mental demanding tasks, and smart production systems. Technologies capable of supporting his training and his work become fundamental, such as the extended reality (XR). Its increasing use in industrial applications, however, opens up new challenges related to interface and interaction design, which can determine the success of both the use and development experience. The lack of guidelines for designing interfaces for mixed reality (MR) applications is what this paper aims to address. Design requirements for MR interfaces are presented and applied in the context of operator training in wire harness activities. Different interaction modes and user interfaces have been developed to evaluate the most suitable and user-friendly one for the operator. A pilot test was conducted to assess the applications' usability and potentialities with satisfactory results.
Keywords: Augmented Reality | Human-Computer Interaction | Industry 4.0 | Mixed Reality | Operator training | User Interface | Wire harness
Abstract: The fourth industrial revolution emphasizes the need for an approach centered on human factors as a cornerstone of the production cycle. The link between ergonomics and enabling technologies of industry 4.0 becomes increasingly stronger, incorporating both the cultural and the technical aspects. The design of the workplace must pursue its adaptability to the various elements of the work system to guarantee the psychophysical well-being of man, safety, and performance. This paper proposes a model to optimize the operator's posture naturally and dynamically. The model considers the characteristics of the operator, the product, and the task and by applying the ergonomic principles and the technological constraints it determines the optimal position of the product. It aims to minimize both the ergonomic risk and the distance with the postural attitude of the operator. The case study demonstrates the implementation of the model in a smart machine and the benefits that can be obtained in terms of the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.
Keywords: adaptive manufacturing systems | ergonomics | human factors | human-centered manufacturing | musculoskeletal disorders | workplace design
Abstract: This research activity aims to develop new cycling gloves. A first step was focused on the definition of the functional requirements through user centred design methods. Since vibrations coming to the hand-arm system of a cyclist have a considerable effect a second step was concentrated on the analysis of hand-arm vibrations in road cycling. The paper shows results of laboratory tests executed for three different hand sizes, three different frequency ranges, with two different type of gloves and without gloves. Load conditions used for the test were determined with a former field test. Results obtained were analysed using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), that showed no significant effect of existing gloves in reducing vibration transmissibility. This led to the need of new kind of cycling gloves that could reduce those vibrations and increase the cyclist’s comfort.
Keywords: Bioengineering | Cycling gloves | Design of experiments | Road cycling | Sport equipment | User centred design | Vibration transmission
Abstract: The use of fast and accurate scanning systems for human worker digitization might pave the way towards the development of multiple best practices to be implemented in industry, for enhancing safety and wellness of workers. In this work, an advanced measurement system for human body 3D reconstruction is used for extracting anthropometric characteristics of a worker, which are then used for estimation of joint torques in a simulated lifting task.
Keywords: 3D body measurements | 3D body scanner | Digital human modeling | Industrial ergonomics
Abstract: This work is part of the project called “Gölem project”, started in 2017, about special devices developed to enable the so-called Accessible Tourism. This project aims to design and develop a trekking wheelchair for people with impaired mobility. After an initial phase of design and prototyping, the testing phase has now begun. The objective is to validate several aspects of the design, concerning basic kinematics and dynamics, passenger comfort and physical effort of the carriers. This paper describes the development of qualitative tests for drivability and balance validation of this first prototype. At this stage, a list of features to be investigated was made, suitable trekking paths were chosen, and qualitative experimental field tests were performed. Then, the design of the prototype was modified according to these first experimental results, to improve the wheelchair characteristics. The prototype is now undergoing the modification phase, then further testing will be performed with the use of specific instrumental devices to evaluate the wheelchair itself and to perform the kinematic, dynamical, and comfort characterization.
Keywords: Accessible tourism | Assistive technologies | Design methods | Disabled people | Experimental testing | Hiking wheelchair | Trekking wheelchair | User-centered design
Abstract: This study investigates the use of augmented reality technology (AR) in the field of maritime navigation and how researchers and designers have addressed AR data visualisation. The paper presents a systematic review analysing the publication type, the AR device, which information elements are visualised and how, the validation method and technological readiness. Eleven AR maritime solutions identified from scientific papers are studied and discussed in relation to previous navigation tools. It is found that primitive information such as course, compass degrees, boat speed and geographic coordinates continue to be fundamental information to be represented even with AR maritime solutions.
Keywords: augmented reality | data visualisation | human-computer interaction | maritime
Abstract: Today’s sailing visualization instruments struggle to cope with the increasing number of onboard sensors, automation, artificial intelligence, and the high dy-namism of the crew. Current solutions scatter multiple displays all over the boat, both inside and outside, potentially reducing usability and increasing costs. This work presents a systematic review of augmented reality (AR) as an integral solution for sailing data visualization, which revealed four scientific papers and eight commercial products. We analyzed the publication type, the AR hardware, what and how information is presented using AR, the validation method (if present), and the technological readiness. We defined the technical requirements needed for the AR device for sailing and distinguished a first generation of commercial solutions based on head-up displays from a second one based on proper augmentation with stereo head-mounted displays. The displayed information elements are limited in number and are commonly 2-D graphics (e.g., text and symbols) with a screen-relative frame of reference (as opposed to body-or world-relative). The most visu-alized elements are heading (10) followed by wind direction (8), boat speed (7) compass (7), and wind speed (7). We also found that most of the solutions lack critical evaluation. We conclude that AR has the potential to integrate sailing data from different systems and to improve accessibility, situation awareness, and safety for a large group of users. However, the main limitations are the lack of AR head-mounted displays suitable or adaptable for sailing conditions, an extensive exploration of 3-D interface elements, and an adequate number of usability studies in the scientific literature.
Keywords: Augmented reality | Data visualization | Human-computer interaction | Nautical instruments | Sailing
Abstract: SPES (Selective Production of Exotic Species) is a large facility, currently under advanced construction at the INFN-LNL (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro) for the production of Radioactive Ion Beams (RIBs). Coordinated efforts are being dedicated to the development and upgrading of both the accelerator complex and the up-to-date experimental set-ups. This paper describes a work of upgrading as far as the inspection and maintenance of the system is concerned, and it deals with human-centered design methods to reduce the time spent in the radioactive environment of the facility during ordinary maintenance operations and to simplify them, also considering stress conditions of the operator and the mandatory wearable radiation protection devices (such as tracksuit, gloves, oxygen tank mask) which make simple operations difficult.
Keywords: Design methods | Ergonomics | Functional design | Human-centered design | Proof of concept
Abstract: The term User Experience (UX) was introduced to define the dynamics of the human-product interaction, and it was thought that design would have been a main recipient of UX research. However, it can be claimed that the outcomes of UX studies were not seamlessly transferred into design research and practice. Among the possible reasons, this paper addresses the fragmentary knowledge ascribable to the field of UX. The authors reviewed the literature analyzing the conceptual contributions that interpret UX, proposing definitions and/or a theoretical framework. This allowed the authors to provide an overview of recurring elements of UX, highlighting their relationships and affecting factors. This research aims to clarify the overall understanding of UX, along with its key components (the user, interaction, the system, and context) and dimensions (ergonomic, affective, and the cognitive experiences). The authors built a semantic construction inspired by the structure of a grammatical sentence to highlight the relationship between those components. Therefore, UX is defined by a subject/user who performs an action-interaction towards an object-system. A complement-context better defines the condition(s) where the action-interaction takes place. This work is expected to lay the foundations for the understanding of approaches and methods employed in UX studies, especially in design.
Keywords: Semantic framework | User experience | UX | UX definitions | UX dimensions | UX fundamental elements | UX influence factors | UX studies
Abstract: The concept of User Experience (UX) dates back to the 1990s, but a shared definition of UX is not available. As design integrates UX, different interpretations thereof can complicate the possibility to build upon previous literature and develop the field autonomously. Indeed, by analysing the literature, UX emerges as a cauldron of related and closely linked concepts. However, it is possible to find recurring attributes that emerge from those definitions, which are ascribable to two foci: the fundamental elements of the interaction (user, system, context) and typologies of experience (ergonomic, cognitive, and emotional). Those are used to build a framework. We have preliminarily investigated how UX is dealt with in design by mapping a sample of UX-related experimental articles published in design journals. We classified UX case studies based on the framework to individuate the UXs that emerge most frequently and the most studied ones in the design field. The two-focus framework allows the mapping of experiments involving UX in design, without highlighting specific favorable combinations. However, comprehensive studies dealing with all elements and UX typologies have not been found.
Keywords: Emotional design | Experience design | Framework | User centred design | User experience
Abstract: Underwater cultural heritage sites represent an attractive and exciting experience for diving tourists, even if often it is complicated for them to understand the significance and value of the remains that are usually strongly damaged and covered by the marine organisms. Thanks to the recent advancements in technologies that overcome these problems, augmented reality is nowadays possible even in such harsh conditions, opening new possibilities for enhancing the diver's experience. However, no user study has formally evaluated the usefulness and usability of augmented reality in open sea underwater environments. This paper presents two novel solutions for underwater augmented reality: a compact marker-based system for small areas, and a complex acoustic system for large areas. Both of them were deployed at an underwater cultural heritage site and evaluated by ten divers in experiments analyzing their perception and remembrance, interests, and user experience. For comparison, the same study was also performed with non-divers assessing the marker-based system on land. Results show that both systems allow divers to encounter new and exciting moments and provide valuable insights for underwater augmented reality applications.
Keywords: Augmented reality | cultural heritage | sensor fusion | underwater | user experience | user testing
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The sanitary emergency due to COVID-19 virus obliged people to face up several changes in their everyday life becauseWorld Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and countries' Health Systems imposed lockdown of activities and social distancing to flatten the infection curve. One of these rapid changes involved students and professors that had to turn the traditional 'in presence' classes into online courses facing several problems for educational delivery. OBJECTIVES: This work aimed to investigate the factors that affected both teaching/learning effectiveness and general human comfort and wellbeing after the sudden transition from classrooms to eLearning platforms due to COVID-19 in Italy. METHODS: A workshop, involving students and experts of Human Factors and Ergonomics, has been performed to identify aspects/factors that could influence online learning. Then, from workshop output and literature studies, a survey composed of two questionnaires (one for students and one for teachers) has been developed and spread out among Italian universities students and professors. RESULTS: 700 people answered the questionnaires. Data have been analysed and discussed to define the most important changes due to the new eLearning approach. Absence of interactions with colleagues and the necessity to use several devices were some of the aspects coming out from questionnaires. CONCLUSIONS: The study shows an overview of factors influencing both teaching/learning effectiveness and general human comfort and wellbeing. Results could be considered as a basis for future investigation and optimization about the dependencies and correlations among identified factors and the characteristics of the products/interaction/environment during eLearning courses.
Keywords: comfort | COVID-19 | discomfort | human centred design | university lectures
Abstract: BACKGROUND: According to ergonomic researches regarding a good sitting posture, it is essential to ensure a natural back-curve in order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders. A brief observation among the Scientific Technology Library inside the University of Salerno showed that students used to complain about neck and lumbar pain, especially after a study day. OBJECTIVE: On the light of this background, a sitting posture comfort analysis had been performed on chairs inside the library to check the critical factors that influence the postural comfort and, consequently, the learning. METHODS: A prolonged sitting posture, that is common during the daily study activity, had been simulated with fifteen volunteer students performing 1-hour tests (divided into four 15-minutes tasks). Subjective perceptions had been gathered through questionnaires rating on a 5-point Comfort scale, both the expected comfort at the beginning of the experiment and the Localized Postural Comfort at the end of each task have been investigated. Then, postural angles had been gathered through photographic acquisition and Kinovea®. CaMAN software had been used to calculate the objective (dis)comfort indexes. Finally, subjective and objective data had been statistically processed and compared. RESULTS: Lumbar area scored the lowest perceived comfort while the perceived comfort was independent of participants and tasks, but dependent on time. CONCLUSIONS: After this comfort-driven analysis, critical factors of the chair-design were checked, and a proposal for a future re-design was hypothesized.
Keywords: Comfort | library | office seat | postural comfort-driven redesign | students
Abstract: The human‐centered design (HCD) approach places humans at the center of design in order to improve both products and processes, and to give users an effective, efficient and satisfy-ing interactive experience. In industrial design and engineering, HCD is very useful in helping to achieve the novel Industry 5.0 concept, based on improving workers’ wellbeing by providing prosperity beyond jobs and growth, while respecting the production limits of the planet as recently promoted by the European Commission. In this context, the paper proposes an ergonomic assessment method based on the analysis of the workers’ workload to support the design of industrial products and processes. This allows the simultaneous analysis of the physical and cognitive workload of operators while performing their tasks during their shift. The method uses a minimum set of non‐invasive wearable devices to monitor human activity and physiological parameters, in addition to questionnaires for subjective self‐assessment. The method has been preliminarily tested on a real industrial case in order to demonstrate how it can help companies to support the design of optimized products and processes promoting the workers’ wellbeing.
Keywords: Design for ergonomics | Human factors | Human‐centered design | Product design | Workload assessment
Abstract: Simulation in healthcare is rapidly replacing more traditional educational methods, becoming a fundamental step in the medical training path. Medical simulations have a remarkable impact not only on learners' competencies and skills but also on their attitudes, behaviors, and emotions such as anxiety, stress, mental effort, and frustration. All these aspects are transferred to the real practice and reflected on patients' safety and outcomes. The design of medical simulations passes through a careful analysis of learning objectives, technology to be used, instructor's and learners' roles, performance assessment, and so on. However, an overall methodology for the simulation assessment and consequent optimization is still lacking. The present work proposes a transdisciplinary framework for the analysis of simulation effectiveness in terms of learners' performance, ergonomics conditions, and emotional states. It involves collaboration among different professional figures such as engineers, clinicians, specialized trainers, and human factors specialists. The aim is to define specific guidelines for the simulation optimization, to obtain enhanced learners' performance, improved ergonomics, and consequently positively affect the patient treatment, leading to cost savings for the healthcare system. The proposed framework has been tested on a low-fidelity simulation for the training of rachicentesis and has allowed the definition of general rules for its enhancement.
Keywords: Design optimization | Human Factors | Simulation-based training | Transdisciplinary design | User experience
Abstract: Even in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, companies should necessarily deal with human sustainability, with the aim of improving workers’ health and safety and enhancing their skills. Several studies have faced this issue by proposing approaches or framework to boost the consideration of human factors in the workstation design and support ergonomic evaluations. However, the need arises for a methodology that collects and systematizes existing methods and tools in order to create workplaces that fit to human needs. For this aim, this paper proposes a structured methodology that supports the design and engineering of manufacturing equipment in order to improve workstations in terms of ergonomics and efficiency. It allows identifying a problem, solving it and carrying out a complete and objective evaluation from different perspectives. The methodology has been experimented in a real case study in collaboration with a global manufacturer of agriculture and industrial vehicles. Significant benefits in terms of productivity, process standardization and human factors have been achieved.
Keywords: Equipment design | Ergonomics | Human-centered manufacturing | Workplace organization pillar | World class manufacturing
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Human-centred design asks for wellbeing and comfort of the customer/worker when interacting with a product. Having a good perception-model and an objective method to evaluate the experienced (dis)comfort by the product user is needed for performing a preventive comfort evaluation as early as possible in the product development plan. The mattress of a bed is a typical product whose relevance in everyday life of people is under-evaluated. Fortunately, this behaviour is quickly changing, and the customer wants to understand the product he/she buys and asks for more comfortable and for scientifically assessed products. No guidelines for designing a personalized mattress are available in the literature. OBJECTIVES: This study deals with the experience of designing an innovative product whose product-development-plan is focused on the customer perceived comfort: a personalized mattress. The research question is: which method can be used to innovate or create a comfort-driven human-centred product? METHODS: Virtual prototyping was used to develop a correlated numerical model of the mattress. A comfort model for preventively assessing the perceived comfort was proposed and experimentally tested. Mattress testing sessions with subjects were organized, and collected data were compared with already tested mattresses. Brainstorming and multi-expert methods were used to propose, realize, and test an archetype of a new mattress for final comfort assessment. RESULTS: A new reconfigurable mattress was developed, resulting in two patents. The mattress design shows that personalized products can be tuned according to the anthropometric data of the customer in order to improve the comfort experience during sleep. CONCLUSIONS: A 'comfort-driven design guideline' was proposed; this method has been based on the use of virtual prototyping, virtual optimization and physical prototyping and testing. It allowed to improve an existing product in a better way and to bring innovation in it.
Keywords: Comfort | design | innovation | mattress | personalized product
Abstract: This paper presents a novel Augmented Reality (AR) interface for Head Mounted Display HMD, specifically for sailing navigation. Compared to literature and the commercial solutions available, the novelty is to use boat-referenced 3D graphics. It allows representing wind direction and intensity, heading with monochrome green elements. Furthermore, we carried out a user validation study. We implemented a virtual simulator including a sailboat, the marine environment (i.e., sea, sky, marine traffic, and sounds), and the presented interface as AR overlay. We evaluated the effectiveness of the wind representation of the AR interface through an online questionnaire based on a video simulation and asking the user to imagine it as the result of an AR visualization. We defined one test scenario with wind variations and a distracting element (i.e., a crossing vessel). 75 sailors (59% experts, with more than 50 sailing days per year) participated in the questionnaire, and most of them (63%) considered the video effective at simulating the AR interface. In addition, 75% are ready to wear an AR device during sailing. Also, the usability (SUS questionnaire) and the user experience (UEQ) results provided positive results.
Keywords: Augmented reality | Human-computer interaction | Nautical | Sailing | user test
Abstract: PERSEL (PERsonality SELector) is a personality-based selection tool to maximize UX redesign effectiveness by highlighting the best users to involve time by time in the activities due to the target the UX redesign of products aims at. To date, PERSEL knowledge base was populated using a top-down approach; the literature allowed highlighting relationships between personality traits and UX characteristics. Here, the bottom-up approach aims at generating fresh pieces of information to integrate PERSEL knowledge base by looking at experiences in the field. A questionnaire-based survey allows collecting data about the personality of the participants, together with their inclinations towards UX. The statistical analysis of the collected data highlights further relationships among personality traits, UX characteristics and using metrics like novelty, variety and usefulness of the users’ possible suggestions.
Keywords: PERSEL | Personality | Product redesign | User eXperience
Abstract: This article reports the results of a research aimed to evaluate the ability of a haptic interface to improve the user experience (UX) with virtual museum systems. In particular, two user studies have been carried out to (1) compare the experience aroused during the manipulation of a 3D printed replica of an artifact with a pen-like stylus with that aroused during the interaction (visual and tactile) with a 3D rendering application using a haptic interface and PC monitor, and (2) compare the users' perceived usability and UX among a traditional mouse-based desktop interface, haptic interface, and haptic gamified interface based on the SUS scale and the AttrakDiff2 questionnaire. A total of 65 people were involved. The considered haptic application is based on the haptic device Omega 6 produced by Force Dimension, and it is a permanent attraction of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale delle Marche. Results suggest that the proposed haptic interface is suitable for people who commonly use mouse-based computer interaction, but without previous experience with haptic systems, and provide some insights useful to better understand the role of haptic feedback and gamification in enhancing UX with virtual museums, and to guide the development of other similar applications in the future.
Keywords: haptic interface | user experience | Virtual museum | virtual reality
Abstract: The human-robot synergy is a key pillar of the smart factory of the future, aiming at high performance in a risk-free environment. Analyzing the main research themes in this field, a need for design criteria balancing emerges. Safety, ergonomics, productivity, and flexibility are the main requirements to be properly considered and combined. The paper proposes a method to fulfill this goal when designing the collaboration between humans and robots. It also exploits emerging technologies for real-time mapping of the workspace and operations management able to facilitate and simulate this interaction. Opportunities and benefits are presented through a real case study.
Keywords: Collaborative robots | Ergonomics | Human-robot collaboration | Industry 4.0 | Workstation design
Abstract: This paper analyses the design and measurement issues that deal with the development of uterine balloon tamponade devices to treat post-partum haemorrhage to be used in low-resource settings. This emergency situation requires low-cost, reliable, and easy-to-use solutions to stop the bleeding quickly. The analysis highlights that, although solutions are already available, still, there are issues concerning the quantification of blood lost volume, the measure of the pressure applied by the tamponade system to the uterine walls, and the lack of a user-centred design approach focused on the woman.
Keywords: Maternal mortality | Post-partum haemorrhage | User-centred design
Abstract: There is a looming shortage of well-trained professionals in the wood construction workforce. To challenge this shortage, we developed a simulated learning environment that leverages a novel Virtual Reality (VR) system to train novice workers in wooden wall construction. A comprehensive task analysis was first used to best identify training requirements. Then, a virtual building site was modeled and a 3D video tutorial was implemented using a VR Head-Mounted Display (HMD). To evaluate the effectiveness of this tool, participants who learned via the VR training tool were compared with participants who instead only had simple 2-D instructional video training. VR training resulted in better retention, task performance, learning speed, and engagement than the video training counterpart, maintaining system usability. This demonstrates that VR is a viable training tool for the construction sector and can produce benefits beyond those of traditional video training.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction | Virtual reality | Virtual training | Workforce development
Abstract: Remaining seated for extended periods increases the risk health issues and discomfort perception. Consequently, the seat-pan design is crucial and could be mainly influenced by two factors: pressure distribution and seat contour. For seat pan discomfort, the lower average pressure is accompanied by less discomfort. Moreover, a seat contour with a large contact area is correlated with more comfort. Thus, a shaped cushion had been accurately designed (Virtual Prototype) and realized (Physical Prototype) aiming to translate the pressure distribution due to interaction between seat and buttock in a geometric shape, suitable for the international population (including P5 females and P95 males). With this shape, the pressure should be more uniform and lower, the contact area at interface bigger, and the perceived comfort higher. Both Virtual and Physical Prototype design had been described in this paper through a repeatable and straightforward approach. Also, experiments had been performed to validate the hypothesis through a comparison with a standard flat cushion. Results showed the goal of the design had been reached: the shaped cushion scored less pressure distribution and higher contact area than the flat cushion.
Keywords: Design methodology | Product modelling / models | Prototype manufacturing method | Surface modelling | User centred design
Abstract: A proper seat is crucial not only for preventing health issues but also for the (dis)comfort perception. In the design of a seat, the seat pan’s geometric shape, either in or under the cushion, plays a vital role as it constrains the deformation of the foam it supports. The contact area and pressure distributions between the foam and the human body, closely associated with (dis)comfort, are influenced by those constrained deformations. In this paper, using a comparative study, the aim is to determine if opportunely shaped seat pans are better than a standard flat pan regarding postural comfort and pressure distribution. Two cushions with the same type of foam but two different seat pans were used in the comparison. The first seat pan is the standard one used in current aircraft seats and the second is a shaped seat pan, which was designed following the mean buttock-thigh shape of an international population (including P5 females and P95 males). Twenty-two international participants (11 males and 11 females, with BMI between 16 and 30) took part in the blind experiment. Results indicated that the cushion with shaped seat pan performed better as it led to less postural comfort, a larger contact area and more uniform pressure distribution. Also, 64% of participants favored the cushion with the shaped seat pan as they felt it was more comfortable and suitable for the buttock shape.
Keywords: Comfort | Human-center-design | Pressure map | Seat-pan
Abstract: Various aspects related to comfort are described in this special issue. Some papers are focused on the environment, like smell, temperature, light, acoustics, space and some on an artefact touching the human, like the floor angle, the seat, a bed and light. However, in this special issue also topics like modelling and behavior get more attention.
Keywords: comfort | ICC2019 | main findings | model | Review
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Selecting the most suitable questionnaire(s) in comfort research for product design is always a challenge, even for experienced researchers. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to create a list of Preferred Comfort Questionnaires (PCQ) for product design to help researchers in the selection of questionnaires for comfort research. METHODS: Fifteen questionnaires that are often used in comfort research for product design were selected as candidate questionnaires. During the Second International Comfort Congress (ICC 2019), 55 researchers and practitioners working in the field of comfort joined together in a workshop to rate these questionnaires individually as well as rank them in groups based on their experience. The criteria of rating and ranking included easiness to answer, easiness for data interpretation, time needed to complete, the need for prior training, as well as mapping the applicable design phases and field of application. RESULTS: The elicited responses related to each questionnaire were analyzed. For comfort research in five proposed application fields and four design phases, the preferred questionnaires were highlighted and categorized into four categories: preferred questionnaire, suitable for less prior training, suitable for fast completion and generally applicable, which led to a list of PCQ for product design. CONCLUSION: We expect that the PCQ list can be used as a useful instrument to help researchers in selecting questionnaires for comfort research in product design.
Keywords: Comfort | discomfort | product design | questionnaire | research
Abstract: The fourth industrial revolution is promoting the Operator 4.0 paradigm, originating from a renovated attention towards human factors, growingly involved in the design of modern, human-centered processes. New technologies, such as augmented reality or collaborative robotics are thus increasingly studied and progressively applied to solve the modern operators’ needs. Human-centered design approaches can help to identify user’s needs and functional requirements, solving usability issues, or reducing cognitive or physical stress. The paper reviews the recent literature on augmented reality-supported collaborative robotics from a human-centered perspective. To this end, the study analyzed 21 papers selected after a quality assessment procedure and remarks the poor adoption of user-centered approaches and methodologies to drive the development of human-centered augmented reality applications to promote an efficient collaboration between humans and robots. To remedy this deficiency, the paper ultimately proposes a structured framework driven by User eXperience approaches to design augmented reality interfaces by encompassing previous research works. Future developments are discussed, stimulating fruitful reflections and a decisive standardization process.
Keywords: Augmented reality | Human factors | Human-centered design | Human–robot collaboration | Human–robot interaction | User eXperience
Abstract: Nowadays companies have to face a competitive market that requires small volumes with a high level of customisations. In this context, assembly quality and timeliness is crucial. To guarantee flexibility and personalization, manual operations still have a crucial role for a lot of manufacturing sectors, so that workers' conditions and ergonomics are important factors to achieve a better product quality and overall cost reduction. Ergonomics evaluation in manufacturing is a challenging and expensive activity that requires a transdisciplinary approach, to merge technical and social sciences to finally have a consolidated and reliable evaluation. This paper compared two digital human simulations tools offered by Siemens Tecnomatix: Jack and Process Simulate. They were applied on the same industrial case study, concerning the hood assembly of an agricultural machine, comparing results on ergonomics reports and usage time. Results confirmed the advantage of adopting a digital approach to predict the human effort and ergonomic risk related to a series of tasks. At the same time, they showed the major strengths and weaknesses of the two analysed tools and defined how they can be successfully adopted by companies. The paper finally provided guidelines to drive companies in choosing the best tool according to their needs.
Keywords: Digital human simulations | Digital manufacturing | Ergonomics | Human-centered design | Transdisciplinary engineering
Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) offers a promising set of technologies to digitally simulate industrial processes and interaction between humans and machines. However, the use of immersive VR simulations is still limited in industry due to the uncertainty of benefits in respect with traditional digital tools, and the lack of structured methodologies to effectively implement immersive virtual simulations in practice. This paper deals with the application of VR to create virtual manufacturing simulations with the aim to design assembly lines in compliance with factory ergonomics. It proposes a methodology to allow the virtualization and simulation of assembly tasks using a combination of VR tools by replicating, or rather anticipating, what would happen at the shop floor. The adopted tools are Unity 3D for virtual environment generation, HTC VIVE to immerse the user in the virtual factory layout, Xsens as tracking system, and Leap Motion for gesture recognition. The paper also compares the new VR-based procedure with a more traditional desktop-based digital simulation on industrial cases. Results show that the new methodology is more precise to detect the operator’s comfort angles and more powerful to predict process criticalities and optimize factory layout design. At the same time, it is less sensitive to errors during ergonomic assessment related to the expert’s subjectivity during the analysis.
Keywords: Human-centered design | Industrial ergonomics | Virtual manufacturing | Virtual reality
Abstract: In recent years Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) has become a strategic research field, considering the emergent need for common collaborative execution of manufacturing tasks, shared between humans and robots within the modern factories. However, the majority of the research focuses on the technological aspects and enabling technologies, mainly directing to the robotic side, and usually neglecting the human factors. This work deals with including the needs of the humans interacting with robots in the design in human-robot interaction (HRI). In particular, the paper proposes a user experience (UX)-oriented structured method to investigate the human-robot dialogue to map the interaction with robots during the execution of shared tasks, and to finally elicit the requirements for the design of valuable HRI. The research adopted the proposed method to an industrial case focused on assembly operations supported by collaborative robots and AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles). A multidisciplinary team was created to map the HRI for the specific case with the final aim to define the requirements for the design of the system interfaces. The novelty of the proposed approach is the inclusion of typically interaction design tools focusing in the analysis of the UX into the design of the system components, without merely focusing on the technological issues. Experimental results highlighted the validity of the proposed method to identify the interaction needs and to drive the interface design.
Keywords: Human Factors | Human-Robot Collaboration | Human-Robot Interaction | Industrial Ergonomics | User eXperience
Abstract: Today, virtual reality and augmented reality can allow people to interact with products and places in a very realistic way. In this direction, the use of immersive virtual tours (VTs) can improve the users' experience, their perceptions, attitudes and even intended behaviours as potential or actual consumers. The paper focuses on a traditional Italian cheese product and defines a transdisciplinary, multimodal approach where VT helps the remote customer experience based on a VT application to virtually visit a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dairy, using cutting-edge virtual reality set-up. The paper describes how to create a virtual tour of industrial plants by mapping the main actions, from the storytelling definition, to the plant digitization, until the creation of the virtual, immersive and multimodal application using Unity3D. The VT combines visual experience with gesture recognition and audio stimulation, adding also olfactory cues, in order to create an interactive and realistic experience.
Keywords: Customer Experience | Multimodal approach | User-centered design | Virtual Reality | Virtual Tours
Abstract: The growing diffusion of fashion e-commerce websites shows the appreciation by users, highlighting the importance of offering this service also to users with different disabilities. To this end, e-commerce should be not only accessible - implementing all the technical requirements for accessibility - but also usable, paying attention to the offered user experience. This study aims to investigate the current e-commerce usability considering visually impaired users’ navigation experience and understand which aspects define a good usability level for this target. An expert analysis of a set of fashion e-commerce websites and user testing were conducted, considering five different market segment categories. The analysis highlighted a gap in the consideration of visually impaired users’ navigation needs and style, as for instance non-uniformity of layout and page structure. All the findings have been structured in usability guidelines to favor the e-commerce usability improvement, with the goal of offering visually impaired users a better shopping experience.
Keywords: Branding | Disability and DUXU | Diversity in UX design | E-commerce usability | Usability guidelines | User experience | Visually impaired users
Abstract: The success of a human-machine interface (HMI) heavily depends on its usability. An highly usable interface allows the user to more easily achieve his/her goals and in general have a better User eXperience (UX). In work environments, a structured and ready-to-use usability testing protocol can encourage companies to carry out this type of study and focus on UX from the early design phases. Even though numerous methods to test usability exist, industrial companies still have great difficulties to apply them and choose the best ones for the specific purposes. They should be guided into the analysis by a universal step-by-step approach, which helps also not experienced designers selecting the most reliable and useful methods among the available ones. In this direction, the paper proposes a structured protocol to focus on UX and guide companies in testing setup, execution and debriefing in an easy and quick way. Checklists are defined to help during user testing and assure its success. As a consequence, end users can be easily involved to give an added value in design problems identification. The novelty of this paper is the definition of a ready-to-use study protocol that can also be used by non-usability experts, in order to make them familiar with UX analysis and extend this practice also in industrial HMI design. As validation, the proposed protocol was applied to the design of interfaces for agricultural tractors during two different stages of the HMI redesign process.
Keywords: Eye-tracking in user experience research | HMI | Universal design | Usability | User experience | User testing
Abstract: Excessive values of force on L5/S1 joint can cause work-related musculoskeletal disorders, such as low back pain. Currently, the reference solution for estimating such variables is the combination of optoelectronic system and force platform, used for calculating the bottom up inverse dynamics in laboratory settings. Here we propose and validate a novel, completely wearable solution, composed by twelve inertial measurement units and pressure insole sensors. We validate the wearable solution with respect to the output of the reference solution, with data collected simultaneously on a subject performing lifting and releasing tasks with two different loads. The results are encouraging towards the use of the wearable methodology, considering the great impact of such a solution in a real manufacturing scenario.
Keywords: biomechanical loads | ergonomics | motion analysis | occupational disease | wearable system
Abstract: This chapter presents an overview of the virtual humans/digital human models (DHMs) that can be considered along the design and manufacturing processes. It first introduces a brief historical description, as well as the main problems to be faced and the potential of such models. Then, the chapter presents a taxonomy that subdivides DHMs into five main categories, highlighting the different levels of human model details and their applications. The integration of DHMs with virtual/augmented reality technology and motion capture systems is also considered respectively to improve the level of interaction and realism within the virtual environment and to drive the virtual human and facilitate the evaluation of comfort and prediction of injuries that could rise when executing a task. The chapter also describes applicative examples of each type of DHM for both design and manufacturing.
Keywords: Augmented reality technology | Digital human models | Manufacturing processes | Motion capture systems | System design | Virtual human models | Virtual reality technology
Abstract: Within the era of smart factories, concerning the ergonomics related to production processes, the Digital Twin (DT) is the key to set up novel models for monitoring the performance of manual work activities, which are able to provide results in near real time and to support the decision-making process for improving the working conditions. This paper aims to propose a methodological framework that, by implementing a human DT, and supports the monitoring and the decision making regarding the ergonomics performances of manual production lines. A case study, carried out in a laboratory, is presented for demonstrating the applicability and the effectiveness of the proposed framework. The results show how it is possible to identify the operational issues of a manual workstation and how it is possible to propose and test improving solutions.
Keywords: Digital Twin | Ergonomics | Manufacturing | Production process
Abstract: Human-centered design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs mainly related to performances, interaction, usability, accessibility, and visibility issues. However, the quality of the interaction process is hidden and usually difficult to detect. The paper proposes a multi-disciplinary assessment tool for the evaluation of the human-machine interaction, based on the collection of physiological data and anthropometrical performance data. Such a method can be used both within on-field tests and virtual simulations, supporting the spread of digital approaches in industry. The methodology allows objectifying how users interact with machine or interface items, thanks to the collection of the users’ performance during task execution, the digitalization of collected data, and the evaluation of users’ physical and mental workload. Such a system has been applied to an industrial case study focusing on agricultural machinery driving and control to support the system re-design in terms of interface features, commands’ location and grouping, and positioning of additional devices.
Keywords: Digital factory | Ergonomics | Human factors | Human-centered design | Human-machine interaction
Abstract: The use of modeling and ergonomic analysis software is a widespread practice in the industrial sector to effectively improve the operator’s well-being and operating comfort within the workplace. In this context, the paper proposes a Mixed Reality system for the ergonomic assessment of industrial workstations. Specifically, the proposed system integrates motion capture tools, a head-mounted display device, and ergonomic analysis software to simulate and analyse the operations to be carried out within a virtual workplace where some physical components, with which the operator interact, are prototyped through 3D printing technology in order to make the simulation as realistic as possible. The proposed Mixed Reality system in fact increases the realism of the simulation and improves the effectiveness of the ergonomics analysis thanks to the haptic feedback that the user perceives when manipulating the physical objects.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Industry 4.0 | Mixed Reality | Rapid prototyping
Abstract: In the context of Industry 4.0, Augmented Reality occupies an important role thanks to its unique capability to enhance the perception of the real world with virtual information. Taking advantage of this capability, the paper presents a handheld mobile Augmented Reality tool that supports manufacturing and production workers and engineers to easily check on-site the ongoing operations carried out in the manufacturing environment for the tubing and piping assembly. The tool runs on a modern tablet and performs an augmented reality visualization of the 3D models, as defined in the project plan, on the corresponding physical objects. In this manner the user can easily check the presence of assembly errors or detect design discrepancies. The level of acceptance of the proposed handheld mobile Augmented Reality tool has been assessed by means of a preliminary test carried out with representative users on a real case study. Results from the experiment are presented and discussed in the paper.
Keywords: Google ARCore | Industrial augmented reality | Industry 4.0 | Mobile augmented reality | Usability
Abstract: The article stems from the main informative gaps of Design for Sustainable Behaviour and discusses the paramount role of a data-driven approach to inform design. The article stresses how quantitative data can address global sustainability, determine behaviours to modify, measure the impact of new learned sustainable behaviours as well as support the definition of behaviour change strategies, widening the spatial and temporal scales to communities and longitudinal studies and reducing unpredictable biases coming from tacit knowledge externalization and interpretation.
Keywords: data mining | human behaviour | sustainable design | user-centred design
Abstract: Technical documentation is evolving from static contents presented on paper or via digital publishing to real-time on-demand contents displayed via virtual and augmented reality (AR) devices. However, how best to provide personalized and context-relevant presentation of technical information is still an open field of research. In particular, the systems described in the literature can manage a limited number of modalities to convey technical information, and do not consider the 'people' factor. Then, in this work, we present a Context-Aware Technical Information Management (CATIM) system, that dynamically manages (1) what information as well as (2) how information is presented in an augmented reality interface. The system was successfully implemented, and we made a first evaluation in the real industrial scenario of the maintenance of a hydraulic valve. We also measured the time performance of the system, and results revealed that CATIM performs fast enough to support interactive AR.
Keywords: Augmented reality | Context-aware | Human-centered design | Human-computer interaction | Industrial | Information manager | Maintenance | Technical documentation
Abstract: The enabling technologies of the Industry 4.0 program can support the smart factory of the future to face the challenges related to their sustainable growth. In particular, given the progressive ageing of the population, it is mandatory to develop systems able to preserve operators' wellbeing and to prevent the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. By exploiting a recently introduced low-cost sensor we developed and validated a reliable prototype for automatic assessment of ergonomic postural risk in the factory shopfloor. Encouraged by the results of the validation process, we enhanced the prototype functionalities. The tool will serve both as a monitoring system for the evaluation of postural risk and a training system for increasing operators' awareness. In this paper, we describe the design of the prototype and the enhanced functionalities of the final version, - the ErgoSentinel.
Keywords: Ergonomics | I4.0 | Kinect® V2 | Postural risk assessment | RULA | Sustainable work
Abstract: The purpose of this work is to help the little patients of the Paediatric Onco-Haematology Department of the “Monica and Luca Folonari” bone-marrow Transplant Centre to tackle their anxiety and worries when subjected to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) clinical examinations, in order to reduce the period of time between the arrival of a patient in the Diagnostics Department and the actual exam execution. To do so, following the principles of the Medical Play Therapy, a user-centred role play called JUNIOR-MRI has been developed. The game is addressed at children between the ages of 5 and 10 and consists of a scaled model of a real MRI machine, with a gurney, a patient doll and a control station. A tablet application has also been developed to simulate the procedure of the clinic exam, reproduce the real sounds of a MRI through a loudspeaker placed on the scale MRI and show some fake images of the investigation carried out on the doll. The child plays the role of the doctor, getting acquainted with the exam procedure and instrumentation and learning not to fear the clinic exam. The experimental phase of the game has begun, and the JUNIOR-MRI is now used in the Pediatric Diagnostics Department of the Spedali Civili di Brescia, following an ad-hoc clinic protocol.
Keywords: Design methods | Medical Play Therapy | Role play | User-centred design
Abstract: Museums have been subjected to important changes in the approach they use to involve visitors. Among the other trends, storytelling and interactive exhibitions are two of the most used approaches used to make exhibitions more interesting for users. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality methods can be effectively used in the context of a museum exhibition to support both storytelling and interaction. The primary objective of the use of these technologies is to make the visit of museums much more engaging, and suitable for different types of visitors. Among the several museums that are moving in this direction, there is the Museo Astronomico di Brera. The museum mainly consists of a corridor, hosting instruments used by astronomers, and the Cupola Schiaparelli, which is an observatory dome. The aim of the research presented in this paper is to develop an interactive Virtual Reality application to be used for improving the users’ experience of visits to the Museo Astronomico di Brera. Specifically, the paper presents a VR application to virtually visit the Dome. Preliminary tests have been carried out for evaluating the users' sense of presence in the VR environment. An analysis of the collected data is presented in the paper.
Keywords: Augmented Reality | Museum exhibitions | User Experience | Virtual Reality
Abstract: Cultural and educational institutions have been subjected to important changes in the approach they use to involve the public in the last years. For example, museums are more and more playing a pedagogical role, referring not only to exhibitions of pieces of art, but also to exhibitions concerning current topics in cultural and social affairs. Storytelling and interaction are two of the most popular methods used to make exhibitions more interesting for the visitors, and many works have demonstrated that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies can be effectively used to support these approaches in the context of museum exhibitions. This paper presents a research work aimed to design and develop an interactive multisensory AR application (based on sight, hearing, and olfaction senses), which can be used for improving the users' engagement in exhibitions and generate awareness about the dramatic outcomes of pollution on the environment. Specifically, the paper describes a case study of multisensory Augmented Reality interactive experiences concerning the negative effects of human activities on natural environments.
Keywords: Augmented Reality | Multisensory Perception | User Experience
Abstract: Kandinsky-Experience Book is a multisensory Augmented Reality experience that involves sight, hearing and smell senses and aims at improving the users’ engagement in the Kandinsky’s artworks. Specifically, the aim of the application is to augment the experience of the user creating a journey throughout Kandinsky's work by using an AR application for smartphones integrated with audio and olfactory stimuli, in order to allow him/her to be more immersed in the piece of art. The research project has been inspired by the synesthetic approach of the abstract painter to the theory and the perception of art in his books. Starting from the artist’s considerations about the relationship between different sensorial stimuli in works of art, we decided to amplify some of his theories suggesting a connection between the main pictorial elements and some corresponding olfactory stimuli, grounding our hypotheses on the content of papers concerning the crossmodal synesthetic correspondences between olfactory stimuli and other sensorial modalities. Thanks to the simultaneous presentation of the specifically developed AR contents and the olfactory stimuli, the users’ feelings and emotions during the experience are amplified as a result of the sensory integration. Moreover, by using AR technology and olfactory devices to stimulate visual and olfactory perceptual channels we aimed at increasing the generation of longer-lasting memories in the users' mind.
Keywords: Augmented Reality | Cultural Heritage | Multisensory Perception | User Experience
Abstract: In order to increase safety in the road and improve the user experience in the vehicle, the user studies have been conducted by researchers and practitioners in the automobile industry over the decades. Also, over time, the technology and design inside the car have changed and are leading to a faster, safer, and more comfortable user experience in driving, thanks to the results gained from the user studies. On the other side, the boosting automated driving technology gives new challenges to user studies in the validation of new technologies from the user’s perspective, improving the acceptance, employing the right usage, and so on. Laboratory driving simulation becomes one of the main methods for user studies because of its safety, ease of control, and precision in the scene restoration. In this paper, a typical fixed-base driving simulator will be introduced with a user interaction model in order to help the researchers to define the user study scope in each vehicle automation level and even predict the potential user study issues in the future autonomous vehicle technology and scenario. The strategy in the current study is to treat the different levels of automation in vehicles differently. Three case studies are provided accordingly from the low-automated to semi-autonomous driving and eventually fully autonomous driving. Each one addresses some of the critical points that should be paid attention to, in the user studies of the corresponding automation level, applying the previous model. In the low automation condition, the case study showed the effectiveness of the proposed method in the verification of olfactory modality interaction in the driver’s attention maintenance. The case study in the semi-automation condition demonstrated the capacity of the current method of capturing the user’s behavior changes in the take-over task, which is the most critical scenario in conditional autonomous driving. And the last case study showed the possibility to conduct comfort-related user studies in the full automation condition using the method, by monitoring the cognitive workload of users under different autonomous driving styles.
Keywords: Driving simulation | Driving simulator | User behavior studies | User experience | User studies
Abstract: The paper offers insights into people's exploration of creative products shown on a computer screen within the overall task of capturing artifacts' original features and functions. In particular, the study presented here analyzes the effects of different forms of representations, i.e., static pictures and videos. While the relevance of changing stimuli's forms of representation is acknowledged in both engineering design and human-computer interaction, scarce attention has been paid to this issue hitherto when creative products are in play. Six creative products have been presented to twenty-eight subjects through either pictures or videos in an Eye-Tracking-supported experiment. The results show that major attention is paid by people to original product features and functional elements when products are displayed by means of videos. This aspect is of paramount importance, as original shapes, parts, or characteristics of creative products might be inconsistent with people's habits and cast doubts about their rationale and utility. In this sense, videos seemingly emphasize said original elements and likely lead to their explanation/resolution. Overall, the outcomes of the study strengthen the need to match appropriate forms of representation with different design stages in light of the needs for designs' evaluation and testing user experience.
Keywords: Areas of interest | Creative products | Eye-Tracking | Human-computer interaction | Images | User experience | Videos
Abstract: In recent years, comfort seat design has received widespread attention from researchers. One of the factors that could contribute to comfort is the thermal influence due to the interaction between the human and the seating surface, for which literature is limited. In this paper, a laboratory experimental setup was used to detect and analyse the temperature changes at interface between seated subjects and a sensorized automotive seat. Acquired temperatures were processed in order to identify a mathematical model for describing the temperature changes at the interface. The main target of the study was the identification of the most sensitive areas of the human body to temperature variation while seated and its effect on local and overall perceived thermal comfort. Statistical analysis showed that the effects of temperature were most perceived in the “Upper Body” (UB) and less in the “Lower Body” (LB). The shoulders, the sides of the back, the back and the buttocks were most sensitive to temperature changes at the interface. Differences have been highlighted also between male and female subjects. Relevance to industry: The identification of the most sensitive areas of the human body to temperature variation, while seated, and the identification of the logarithmic model for describing the temperature changes should allow seat designers to define targets and strategies in developing cooling and heating systems for car seats, taking into account, in a preventive evaluation, the most probable perceived thermal comfort.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Seat design | Temperature | Thermal comfort | Thermal sensitivity
Abstract: Ergonomic design principles can be applied to improve human interaction. In sport activities, ergonomic planning can be a key-point of development both for sportsman behaviour and for sport facilities/devices’ design, in order to reduce injuries and muscular-skeletal disease. In some sport activities, wears and shirts plays a role not only as “dress” for sport but also as “containers” for some sports’ devices like instruments, chronometers, bottle-holder and so on. In this study, we have focused our attention on long-running people (half-marathon/marathon) that usually use the running T-shirt also as a bottle holder. In this paper, a new prototype of running T-shirt has been realized and compared with the standard one. A comparative ergonomic and comfort assessment has been done. Interaction between human and T-shirt/bottle has been modelled in DELMIA® DHM environment. The video analysis and the acquisition of human joint’s angles were processed using the KINOVEA® software. The data were evaluated using the CA_Man® software. Results are related to the subjective ratings expressed by the subject s that filled a questionnaire.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Digital human modelling | Ergonomics
Abstract: The transition toward smaller lot sizes in production requires the design of highly flexible processes where person and automation systems work together in a synergistic, safe and efficient manner. The new role of the operator requires researchers to study methods and tools able to evaluate the workers performance in order to maximize the comfort and quality of work. The virtual prototyping and simulation systems become fundamental to be able to design adequate production solutions, but before the tools it is necessary to study methods able to represent and consider the characteristics of the operators in the Industry 4.0-oriented factory environment appropriately. In this context, this paper proposes a method to assess the well-being of operators from different perspectives and, consequently, design operator-centered workstations. The first objective is preparatory in order to be able to fine-tune the second one, in a continuous improvement perspective. The approach has been successfully tested in collaboration with a food company.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human-Centered Manufacturing | Operator 4.0
Abstract: This paper presents IART, a novel inertial wearable system for automatic detection of infringements and analysis of sports performance in race walking. IART algorithms are developed from raw inertial measurements collected by a single sensor located at the bottom of the vertebral column (L5–S1). Two novel parameters are developed to estimate infringements: loss of ground contact time and loss of ground contact step classification; three classic parameters are indeed used to estimate performance: step length ratio, step cadence, and smoothness. From these parameters, five biomechanical indices customized for elite athletes are derived. The experimental protocol consists of four repetitions of a straight path of 300 m on a long-paved road, performed by nine elite athletes. Over a total of 1620 steps (54 sequences of 30 steps each), the average accuracy of correct detection of loss of ground contact events is equal to 99%, whereas the correct classification of the infringement is equal to 87% for each step sequence, with a 92% of acceptable classifications. A great emphasis is dedicated on the user-centered development of IART: an intuitive radar chart representation is indeed developed to provide practical usability and interpretation of IART indices from the athletes, coaches, and referees perspectives. The results of IART, in terms of accuracy of its indices and usability from end-users, are encouraging for its usage as tool to support athletes and coaches in training and referees in real competitions.
Keywords: Biomechanics | Inertial sensor | Judgment | Race walking | Step classification | Training improvement | User-centered design
Abstract: XR is an acronym used to refer to the spectrum of hardware, software applications, and techniques used for virtual reality or immersive environments, augmented or mixed reality and other related technologies. The special thematic session on ‘XR Accessibility’ explores current research and development as well as presenting diverse approaches to meeting real user needs in immersive environments. The contributed research papers range from using spatial sound for object location and interaction for blind users, to alternative symbolic representation of information, Augmented Reality (AR) used in rehabilitation for stroke patients and vocational skills training for students with intellectual disabilities. The session also explores what we can learn from previous research into immersive environments – looks at opportunities for future research and collectively explores how we can together iterate accessibility standards.
Keywords: Accessibility | Augmented Reality | Immersive web | Inclusive design | Rehabilitation | Serious games | Usability | Virtual reality
Abstract: Some literature has already demonstrated the widespread influence of human personality on product design. Nevertheless, most of the existing user experience (UX) design methods and tools do not fully exploit knowledge about user personality in selecting the best participants to maximize the effectiveness of the design efforts. This research tries to fill the gap by introducing PERSEL, the ready-to-use PERsonality-based SELector. PERSEL is a Microsoft Excel workbook, free to download, which allows expression of the objectives (needs) and assessment of the user personality; in turn, PERSEL suggests the best users to be involved in UX redesign activities and in what way, in order to get solutions answering to the needs in the best possible way. A comparison of the solutions generated by the first adoption of PERSEL in the field with those coming from the involvement of users selected without obeying any specific criterion, begins validating the research results, mainly in terms of PERSEL functioning and effectiveness.
Keywords: Human personality in product design | Mental models | User experience | User testing | UX redesign processes
Abstract: In the orthodontic field, UX concerns can take an important role in boosting innovation from the designers, engineers, dentists, dental technicians and patients’ points of view. In the last months, these concerns spread over the development of functional orthodontic appliances for the correction of skeletal class II malocclusions. This paper focuses on two phases: the data collection before starting the development and the evaluation of the design results. The UX concerns developed through the involvement of the Quality Function Deployment and the irMMs-based UX evaluation method 2.0, including the meQUE questionnaire 2.0. This paper describes the UX role, the related activities and the impact of its involvement in the design process.
Keywords: Functional orthodontic appliances | irMMs-based UX evaluation method 2.0 | meCUE questionnaire | Quality function deployment | User experience
Abstract: Nowadays, smartphones and laptops equipped with cameras have become an integral part of our daily lives. The pervasive use of cameras enables the collection of an enormous amount of data, which can be easily extracted through video images processing. This opens up the possibility of using technologies that until now had been restricted to laboratories, such as eye-tracking and emotion analysis systems, to analyze users' behavior in the wild, during the interaction with websites. In this context, this paper introduces a toolkit that takes advantage of deep learning algorithms to monitor user's behavior and emotions, through the acquisition of facial expression and eye gaze from the video captured by the webcam of the device used to navigate the web, in compliance with the EU General data protection regulation (GDPR). Collected data are potentially useful to support user experience assessment of web-based applications in the wild and to improve the effectiveness of e-commerce recommendation systems.
Keywords: Affective Computing | Convolutional Neural Networks | Deep Learning | Gaze detection | User Experience
Abstract: One of the most actual and consistent drivers for the industry is sustainability, which includes three main pillars: environment, economics, and society. While numerous methods for environmental and economic sustainability assessment have been proposed, social sustainability assessment is still lacking in structured methods and tools, although human has always played a key role. Moreover, technological development is pushing the industrial world toward a new paradigm, the “Industry 4.0,” which embeds topics such as data digitalization, cyber-physical systems, and machine learning. It entails significant changes in human resources management, without reducing their importance. Humans were part of the manufacturing system from the first industrial revolution, and no automation or digitalization can be possible without humans. The industry can no longer underestimate the reasonable application of human factors and ergonomics principles to the workplace. For this purpose, the paper provides a novel transdisciplinary engineering method to measure and promote social sustainability on production sites. It exploits Internet of Things technology to support the (re)design of manufacturing processes and plants toward human-centered connected factories. To improve the workers' well-being has positive effects on their health, satisfaction, and performance. The method has been implemented in a real industrial case study within the footwear industry. The sole finishing process has been analyzed from different perspectives to solve ergonomics-related problems and implement effective improvement strategies.
Keywords: Human factors | Human-centered connected factories | Industry 4.0 | Manufacturing ergonomics | Social sustainability
Abstract: Industrial process digitalisation is pervading numerous areas of production system, including sustainability. The study presents a method to affirm how the social sustainability of a company also passes through the protection of the welfare of the worker and describes a case study focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The method considers different aspects including the characteristics of the worker/s, the working context, and the content of the work activity. According to the objectives of social sustainability in the factory environment multifactorial variables related to the workers wellbeing have been defined. IoT system and ad-hoc questionnaires can be used to collect such variables. Following the proposed method, the results of the case study offer many in-depth insights, from the objective analysis of personal characteristics to the organisation of work, and from the application of international standards to the evaluation of psychological parameters.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human factors | Human-centred manufacturing | Industry 4.0 | Internet of things | IoT | Social sustainability | User-centred workplace | Worker wellbeing
Abstract: Especially in the footwear sector, the transition from the mass production to the mass customization increasingly requires Industry 4.0 solutions that do not reduce the human contribution to production processes but facilitate and value it to increase the job satisfaction. In this context, this paper proposes a method to (re)design the workplace according to a multiperspective ergonomic assessment. It efficaciously combines the analysis of physiological and environmental parameters by Internet-of-Things, the ergonomics risks identification by experts and the subjective evaluation of workers well-being. The method has been experimented in an Italian factory that produces customized shoes for the luxury market.
Keywords: Artisanal production | Ergonomics | Human-centered manufacturing | Workplace
Abstract: In current industrial systems, automation is a very important aspect for assessing manufacturing production performance related to working times, accuracy of operations and quality. In particular, the introduction of a robotic system in the working area should guarantee some improvements, such as risks reduction for human operators, better quality results and a speed increase for production processes. In this context, human action remains still necessary to carry out part of the subtasks, as in the case of composites assembly processes. This study aims at presenting a case study regarding the reorganization of the working activity carried out in workstation in which a composite fuselage panel is assembled in order to demonstrate, by means of simulation tool, that some of the advantages previously listed can be achieved also in aerospace industry. In particular, an entire working process for composite fuselage panel assembling will be simulated and analyzed in order to demonstrate and verify the applicability and effectiveness of human-robot interaction (HRI), focusing on working times and ergonomics and respecting the constraints imposed by standards ISO 10218 and ISO TS 15066. Results show the effectiveness of HRI both in terms of assembly performance, by reducing working times and ergonomics-for which the simulation provides a very low risk index.
Keywords: Aerospace production | Ergonomics | Human-robot interaction | Simulation
Abstract: In the era of Industry 4.0, automation plays a key role in improving manufacturing production processes in terms of working times, accuracy of operations, products’ quality, and so on. With focus on the working tasks on composite components, drilling and riveting operations require particular attention due to the possibility of damage to the final product, especially when they are executed manually. To reduce these kinds of risks, the introduction of a robot in the working area could represent an improvement to speed up the processes and to ensure a better quality result. It is worth noting that human intervention remains necessary for carrying out a part of the sub-tasks, especially in the case of composite assembly procedures. This paper aims at presenting a case study about the drilling and riveting operations on a composite aircraft fuselage whose working cell is characterized by the coexistence of a human and a robot. Moreover, the implementation of a numerical simulation allows validating the working cycle and the adopted solutions in terms of ergonomic performance.
Keywords: aircraft fuselage assembly | composite manufacturing | ergonomics | human–robot interaction | simulation
Abstract: An effective sensor system for monitoring the pressure distribution on a car seat would enable researches on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and comfort of occupants. However, the irregularities of the seat shape or those of the occupant clothes challenge the robustness of such a sensor system. Moreover, the position identification of bodies of different percentiles by few pressure sensors is difficult. So, a higher resolution pressure pad has been developed. The number of sensors is significantly increased by means of a matrix scan strategy. Tests on the pressure pad with different occupants proves its robustness in scanning the contact area.
Keywords: Advanced Driver Assistance Systems | Car seat | Comfort | Driver monitoring | Pressure | Sensor matrix
Abstract: This work proposes an innovative method for evaluating usersâ™ engagement, combining the User Engagement Scale (UES) questionnaire and a facial expression recognition (FER) system, active research topics of increasing interest in the humanâ"computer interaction domain (HCI). The subject of the study is a 3D simulator that reproduces a virtual FabLab in which users can approach and learn 3D modeling software and 3D printing. During the interaction with the virtual environment, a structured-light camera acquires the face of the participant in real-time, to catch its spontaneous reactions and compare them with the answers to the UES closed-ended questions. FER methods allow overcoming some intrinsic limits in the adoption of questioning methods, such as the non-sincerity of the interviewees and the lack of correspondence with facial expressions and body language. A convolutional neural network (CNN) has been trained on the Bosphorus database (DB) to perform expression recognition and the classification of the video frames in three classes of engagement (deactivation, average activation, and activation) according to the model of emotion developed by Russell. The results show that the two methodologies can be integrated to evaluate user engagement, to combine weighted answers and spontaneous reactions and to increase knowledge for the design of the new product or service.
Keywords: 3D simulator | CNN | Deep learning | Facial expression recognition | Human-computer interaction | User engagement scale | User-centered design
Abstract: This paper gives an overview of the relevance of the comfort concept, its definitions, boundary conditions, and stakeholders. Current comfort theories are presented and reflected on, both in their applicability and testing methodology. Questionnaires commonly used to study comfort and discomfort are also reviewed. An example of a comfort lab is introduced in its functionality and tools, which can be useful as a benchmark for others studying comfort.
Keywords: Comfort | Comfort modelling | Discomfort | Product design
Abstract: Designing highly usable and ergonomic control dashboards is fundamental to support the user in managing and properly setting complex machines, like trains, airplanes, trucks and tractors. Contrarily, control dashboards are usually big, intrusive, full of controls and not really usable for different users. This paper focuses on the re-design of an ergonomic and compact dashboard for tractor control, proposing an innovative methodology in line with human-centered design and ergonomics principles. The study started by shifting the focus from how a machine works to how a task has to be performed and how the user interacts with the machine. It uses virtual simulations and human performance analysis tools to support the concept generation and the detailed design, and to test the new idea with users in the virtual lab. Indeed, within the virtual environment, different configurations of controls can be tested, checking which controls are mostly used and measuring human performance indexes (i.e., postural comfort and mental workload) for each configuration. Virtual mannequins can be used to as "digital twins"to interact with virtual items and to calculate robust comfort indicators during task execution. The study adopted the proposed methodology to an industrial use case to develop a usable and compact armrest for a new tractor platform. The new armrest is smaller than the previous one (-30% in dimensions), more usable (keeping on board only frequent controls, better positioned), and more comfortable (it satisfies 95% of the population size). This new approach could be used also for the design of new products.
Keywords: Human Factors | Human-centered design | Usability | Virtual simulation
Abstract: Successful interaction with complex systems is based on the system ability to satisfy the user needs during interaction tasks, mainly related to performances, physical comfort, usability, accessibility, visibility, and mental workload. However, the "real"user experience (UX) is hidden and usually difficult to detect. The paper proposes a Transdisciplinary Assessment Matrix (TAS) based on collection of physiological, postural and visibility data during interaction analysis, and calculation of a consolidated User eXperience Index (UXI). Physiological data are based on heart rate parameters and eye pupil dilation parameters; postural data consists of analysis of main anthropometrical parameters; and interaction data from the system CAN-bus. Such a method can be adopted to assess interaction on field, during real task execution, or within simulated environments. It has been applied to a simulated case study focusing on agricultural machinery control systems, involving users with a different level of expertise. Results showed that TAS is able to validly objectify UX and can be used for industrial cases.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human Factors | Human-centered design | User eXperience (UX) | Workload
Abstract: Transdisciplinarity is characterising numerous research areas, in which natural sciences are integrated with technical and social sciences, requiring mixed methodologies for achieving full sustainability. However, there is a lack of engineering methods and design tools able to effectively integrate the analysis of human performance and social impacts with technical issues during product and process design. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used to create interactive digital mock-ups where human-system interaction during manufacturing operations can be simulated to support product and process design. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up to support human-centred product and process design, where systems and humans interacting with them are monitored and digitalised to easily evaluate the human-machine interaction, with the scope to have feedback for design optimisation. Such an approach is defined as trans disciplinary since it merges technical design issues and human perspectives to design products on the basis of effective human performance, with the goal to early detect design criticalities and improve the overall system design. Industrial use cases have been developed to demonstrate the validity of the proposed approach to support human-centred design of a tractor. Results have demonstrated potential improvements, in terms of time saving for design review and workers’ training, reduction of physical prototypes for design validation, reduction of late design and engineering changes, reduction of ergonomic issues, and global positive impact on time-to-market.
Keywords: human factors | human-centered design | transdisciplinary engineering | Virtual manufacturing | virtual reality (VR)
Abstract: In the context of smart factories, where intelligent machines share data and support enhanced functionalities at a factory level, workers are still seen as spectators rather than active players (Hermann, Pentek, & Otto, 2017). Instead, Industry 4.0 represents a great opportunity for workers to become part of the intelligent system; on one hand, operators can generate data to program machines and optimize the process flows, on the other hand they can receive useful information to support their work and cooperate with smart systems (Romero et al., 2016). Diversely from machines, humans are naturally smart, flexible and intelligent, so putting the operators in the digital loop can bring more powerful and efficient factories. The paper aims at defining a theoretical human-centered framework for Operator 4.0, and testing its feasibility and impact on companies, thanks to the integration of human factors in 4.0 computerized industrial contexts. The proposed framework is based on data collection about the workers’ performance, actions and reactions, with the final objective to improve the overall factory performance and organization. Data are used to assess the workers’ ergonomics performance and perceived comfort and to build a proper knowledge about the human asset of the factory, to be integrated with the knowledge derived from machine data collection. The framework is cased on the adoption of an Operator 4.0 monitoring system, which consists of an eye tracking and a wearable biosensor, combined to a proper protocol analysis to interpret data and create a solid knowledge. Virtual prototypes are used to make the workers interact with the digital factory to conveniently simulate the human–machine interaction (HMI) in order to avoid bottlenecks at the shop floor, to optimize the workflows, and to improve the workstations’ design and layout. The study represents a step toward the design of human-centred industrial systems, including human factors in the digital twin. The research approach has been successfully tested on an industrial case study, developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial, for the re-design of assembly workstations.
Keywords: Digitization | Human factors | Industry 4.0 | Mixed reality | Operator 4.0
Abstract: Driving safety is recognized as critical for young people by institutions, insurances and research. The ability to manage such a complex activity as driving is still developing through adolescence and in early adulthood. The present research investigates the human factors in the driver-car interaction. The experimental method assesses the visual-motor coordination capabilities of future drivers, also in relation to their life styles. The results show that a frequent but good quality physical activity improves visual-motor coordination.
Keywords: Broc String | Distance Rock test | Human factors | Motor Efficiency Test | Peripheral Wall Chart | Visual-Motor coordination
Abstract: Products aimed at individuals with disabiliy could not match user requirements under conditions imposed by the user. Also, frequent modifications and adaptation are required to increase the match between user requirements and prototypes. The importance to test different solutions and gain a knowledge base is an important aspect as the time in trials and experimentation is still a limit of personalized devices. An experimentation is conducted to test a solution of hardware interface for an Augmentative and Alternative Communication System which implements visual feedbacks and visual tutorial in training phase. In this study, visual feedbacks demonstrate an improvement of performances due to three main effects: reducing training time through an interactive tutorial, improving automatic behaviour and limiting cognitive load. The prototypes are realized using open-source electronic boards and Additive Manufacturing to realize the housing. A usability test is performed to calculate metrics and benchmark solutions with and without visual aids. Measures of Lostness and Keystroke Level Model estimates the effectiveness of software interface and interaction of users with hardware and software interfaces.Also, this study can lead to the definition of an adaptive switch that modify its status in order to eliminate redundant operations and ineffective actions.Visual feedback has proven some advantages in training user and Additive Manufacturing enabled the study and lead the way for devices that are adaptive on software interface and control and personalized in the hardware interface.
Keywords: augmentative and alternative communication | biomedical devices | usability
Abstract: The complexity of the interaction between user and computer can limit usability in products. When products are aimed at individuals with disability, the complexity increases the cognitive load and can reduce performances. The identification of interaction models and usability issues plays a role in product development as it enables designers to reduce this complexity. Methodology to identify lacking areas in products are required and permits to correct issues leading to an improvement of performances. A custom Augmentative and Alternative Communication system was developed for a student of the University of Naples Federico II. The user has complex communication needs and motor impairments and requires a personalized device to communicate. To promote an efficient interaction, hardware and software interfaces were personalized. Several studies were conducted: a usability evaluation, determination of the learning rate and Hardware/Software layout optimization were used to reduce the cognitive demands required by the system in its functioning. In this paper the HW layout optimization is investigated and strategies to reduce the cognitive load modifying order and position of the sensors of the input peripherals are provided.
Keywords: Augmentative and Alternative Communication | Human-Computer Interaction | Usability Testing
Abstract: In a complex case of speech disorder, the communication is entrusted to systems equipped with a speech synthesizer. When the user has a motor disability, in addition, hardware and software interfaces are personalized to make technology more accessible. Interaction design methods can be applied to develop improved assistive systems and, particularly, for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Interaction design methods and usability evaluation could have a positive impact in reducing product barriers and improving performances as the effort state associated to its use can be reduced. Minimizing cognitive and physical efforts through the development of new solutions and interface optimization can be challenging. A usability test and an interface optimization of a personalized AAC system developed for a student of the University of Naples Federico II with complex communication needs due to a traumatic injury and motor impairment are discussed to fix usability issues, highlight critical areas and design new prototypes.
Keywords: Augmentative and alternative communication | Biomedical devices | Disability | Interaction design | Learnability | Usability
Abstract: The musculoskeletal disorders represent one of the most common problems in industrial environment; they impact the health of workers and employees. In this work we present a preliminary study towards the use of biomechanical models for improving classic methods for ergonomic assessment in industry. To this end, we use OpenSim, a software for biomechanical simulation and analysis. With OpenSim, we reconstruct the human motion corresponding to the execution of industrial tasks, performed in laboratory settings. In particular, we compute the evolution over time of the joint angles that, according to a classic observation method for ergonomic assessment, are needed to evaluate the risks associated to the musculoskeletal disorders for the upper limb.
Keywords: biomechanics | digital human model | ergonomics | industry
Abstract: In this work we present a study for the experimental reconstruction of the human shoulder torque in the sagittal plane, since this is usually overloaded in industrial overhead tasks. To this end, we measure the three-dimensional motion of the human upper limb while performing selected movements using an optical motion capture system. Then, using a skeleton model implemented in one of the most common software for industrial ergonomic assessment, we reconstruct the shoulder angle and torque in the sagittal plane. A possible exploitation of this reconstruction strategy is presented for active compensation of this torque. The implementation of this simple strategy in a custom developed assistive device could augment human workers in performing repetitive jobs.
Keywords: biomechanics | digital human models | human motion analysis | industrial assistive devices
Abstract: This work focuses on an innovative training methodology based on the use of Virtual ergonomics and “serious games” in the field of occupational safety. Virtual Ergonomics was chosen as an effective and convincing tool for disseminating the culture of safety among the workers, while a “serious game” was developed to train operators on specific safety procedures and to verify their skills. The results of the experimentation in a real industrial case study showed that, compared to the traditional training methodology, multimedia contents and quantitative ergonomic analyses improve the level of attention and the awareness of the operators about their safety. On the other hand, Serious games turned out as promising tools to train the workers about safe operating procedures that are difficult to implement in a real working environment.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Occupational safety | Serious game | Virtual humans | Virtual reality
Abstract: Although the so-called Industry 4.0 trend is promoting the increasing automation of processes in the factories of the future, manual activities still play an extremely important role within the factory and human factors greatly affect the process performance. However, the analysis of human-machine interaction and the prediction of human performance in industry are difficult but crucial to have an optimized design of workspaces and interfaces, reducing time and cost of implementation, and avoiding late design changes. This research adopts a multimodal human-centered approach for the analysis of human-machine interaction, and proposes a multimodal experimental set-up for the evaluation of the workers' experience to support the design of industrial workstations. The set-up combines virtual mockups, interaction with both physical and virtual objects, and monitoring sensors to track users and analyze their actions and reactions. It allows creating a multimodal environment able to deepen the interaction between humans and systems or interfaces, to support design activities. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that the analysis of the reactions of the users involved, allows to evaluate the quality of the interaction, identify the critical issues, define corrective actions, and propose guidelines for system design or redesign . The paper describes the application of the proposed set-up on two industrial case studies and reports the main results.
Keywords: Digital Manufacturing | Human Factors | Human-Centered Design | Industry 4.0 | Virtual Reality
Abstract: Due to the recent advances in technologies for gesture recognition, midair gestures can be considered the interface of the future in a large number of applications. However, designing effective interfaces with midair gestures is not an easy task because the design is application dependent and it must fulfill many requirements at the same time. Despite the availability of general guidelines in the literature, clear and well-established procedures for the optimal design of midair gesture-based interfaces are, to date, not available and remain an open issue. The main contribution of this paper is a user-centered modular framework, which integrates existing and novel methods. It supports the designer considering multiple aspects including ergonomics, memorability, and specific user requirements tailored to the application scenario. The framework involves three design steps and a final validation step, also supported by dedicated software. We tested with success the proposed framework in an industrial case study, where technicians must easily access technical information by browsing digital manuals during maintenance operations.
Keywords: Consumed endurance (CE) | ergonomics | gesture vocabulary | midair gesture interface | user-centered elicitation approach
Abstract: Smart environment is a key challenge for current ICT research: it is one of the solutions that can enhance people’s quality of life and enable users with impairment to live independently. Over the years, scientific research has proposed several solutions to help and improve the capabilities of its occupants, but they are often developed for a specific context (e.g. particular disease or impairment). These systems do not adapt to the real needs of users with different profiles, and neglect that the user’s requirements may evolve over time. This research work aims to develop a new adaptive smart system able to support users (with and without disabilities) in performing daily tasks by recognizing their preferences and actions and adapting the system feedback consequently. With the aim to develop an easy, efficient and usable adaptive smart system, the final users have been involved in the whole design and development process. The system was validated through a virtual reality system allowing the user interaction evaluation and helping the usability improvement.
Keywords: Adaptive and adaptable user interface | Bayesian network | ICT | Smart environment | User-centered design | Virtual reality system
Abstract: Littering is a highly diffused anti-environmental and anti-social behavior, especially among young people. Furthermore, cigarette butts are one of the most littered items and are responsible for both severe environmental damages and high clean up expenses. The aim of this project is to design an interactive ashtray for the campus environment to limit the cigarette butts littering behavior in an engaging and effective way. Qualitative and quantitative data are collected. Coded observations were implemented through the research process, including the 2 pre (without the prototype) and 2 pros (with the prototype) sessions. Also, user experience test and one to one interview were conducted for deepening the understanding of the littering phenomenon and the reasons behind in the behavior among young people. The prototype indeed reduced the number of cigarette butts littering among observed behaviors of 156 students, especially in male sample. Final results indicate the behavior change of disposers is moderated by other factors, as the environmental cleanliness. Future development is also discussed.
Keywords: Design for Behavior Change | Gamification | Multisensory product experience | Sustainability | User centred design
Abstract: The scarce availability of water in highly populated cities is about to become a social problem. While the water service companies work on improving the distribution network in order to reduce losses, it is evident that one of the main problems is due to an excess of use of this resource by users. This consumption is relatively controlled when excessive consumption is clearly associated, in the consumer mind, with high costs. However, when users are in public places they tend to consume water because of a loss of correlation with costs. In this paper, we describe the design of a device to be installed in public environments, which aims to reduce the consumption of water. The device measures in real time the flow of water and sends the user visual and sound information trying to create a link between consumption and costs. The device has been installed in a university campus bathroom and has been tested. Test results show a reduction in water consumption, especially in the interactive prototype approach compared to the conventional treatment. Further modifications for future development of the interactive device is also discussed.
Keywords: Design for sustainable behavior | Multisensory product experience | Sustainability | User centred design | Water conservation
Abstract: Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies are more and more getting attention from tourism researchers and professionals, because of their recognized potential to support marketing activities. The paper describes the development of a multisensory environment thought for a travel agency, which combines visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory stimuli. The idea is to develop an experience able to provide a virtual preview of the desired holiday destination, resulting in both an attractive experience for the customer and an effective way to increase sales. A case study about the multisensory experience of a walk on Italian Alps has been developed. The multisensory experience is based on a video streaming, recorded in the real environment, synchronously matched with a haptic interface. The haptic interface is made up of a pair of slippers provided with actuators, and also an actuator positioned on the customer trunk, used to reproduce the feeling of a snowball hit. Moreover, an olfactory display is also used to provide pine smell during the walk. During the experience, the user is sitting on a yoga ball, whose inclination allows him/her to start and stop the multisensory virtual experience.
Keywords: Multisensory simulation | User experience | Virtual prototyping | Virtual tourism
Abstract: Computer aided technologies (CAT) are becoming an indispensable instrument to design, improve and manufacture new products and services. Digital human modelling (DHM) systems allow to simulate the Human-artifact interface and to evaluate, in early step of design process, the ergonomic performances of new products or workplaces. In particular, for products that have to be used in a “constrained” workplace, different tasks and activities are associated with different postures. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of anthropometric characteristics and expectations on the postural comfort perception through the CAT/DHM systems, while using four office devices: desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet and smartphone. A statistical sample of healthy students was selected and their anthropometric characteristics were measured. The postures assumed by the participants were gathered in a not-invasive way by cameras. The angular detection was performed directly on snapshots by using Kinovea® software. Human joints’ an-gles were used for the virtual-postural analysis, through DELMIA® software. The evaluation of postural comfort was obtained in two ways: CaMAN® software developed by the researchers from the Department of Industrial Engineering in Salerno (Italy) was used to calculate the objective comfort indexes while an appropriate questionnaire, given to subjects during the devices usage, was used to evaluate the subjective com-fort indexes. The results of analyses show a difference between subjective and objective postural comfort indexes for all the devices: this difference has been associated to the expectations.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Computer aided technologies | Expectations | Not-invasive postural analysis | Office devices
Abstract: Currently, the word ‘comfort’ is often used in relation to the marketing of products such as chairs, cars interiors, clothing, hand tools and even airplane tickets. In this field of research, the aim of this study is to investigate the influence of spinal posture on postural (dis)comfort perception; the test case is the analysis of the interaction between humans and vending machines for purchasing food or beverages. A statistical sample of 20 healthy students (subjects) performed the required tests, with each participant asked to take a product from three different vending machines (snacks, drinks and coffee). The subjects' postures were acquired non-invasively using cameras; software and instruments for virtual prototyping were used for posture analysis and interaction modelling, both questionnaires (subjective) and comfort-analysis software (objective) were used to rate the perceived (dis)comfort. The results obtained from simulations and questionnaires were compared, and a method to weigh the effect of the perceived spinal discomfort on overall postural (dis)comfort was proposed. These results reveal a good correlation between subjective perception and objective evaluation obtained through simulations, confirming the validity of the proposed method.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Information fusion | Non-invasive postural analysis | Spine discomfort | Vending machines
Abstract: Everyday life is increasingly rich in man-machine interactions and new challenges in user interface design arise. In particular, it emerges the need of adaptable solutions that learn from the user's behavior to improve their experience. In this context, the paper aims to redesign an existing UI to make it an Adaptive System. The introduction of an adaptive module allows finding the optimal interface features combination based on the user profile and previously interactions. The experimentation results demonstrate the adaptability and versatility of the proposed application by evaluating the user satisfaction and the perceived adaptability with respect to the native application.
Keywords: adaptive interfaces | household appliances | usability | user-centered
Abstract: In manufacturing context, social dimension is often neglected. With Industry 4.0, companies focus more on technologies and data. However, human continues to play a key role in cyber-physical systems and company growth. This work proposes a method to help the company to evaluate workers’ experience and identify the optimal solution to improve workers’ well-being and company performance. It starts from personalized social analysis within a production plant to identify ergonomics problems and intelligently suggest effective corrective actions. The latter are selected achieving the best trade-off between social, economic and productive aspects. Three case studies are proposed to validate the method.
Keywords: Human factors | Industry 4.0 | Manufacturing systems | Social sustainability
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to research if a headrest benefits the comfort of the passenger and lowers muscle activity in the neck when sitting in a reclined (slouched)posture while watching in flight entertainment (IFE)in an aircraft business class seat. No significant differences in muscle activity in the musculus sternocleidomastoid and musculus trapezius pars descendant were found between the conditions with headrest and without headrest. A significant difference in expected comfort rating was found. Subjects indicated they expect to experience more comfort with a headrest when watching IFE for a duration of two movies during a long-haul flight. This study also found a significant difference in posture. In the condition without headrest the head was more upright compared to the condition with headrest. The lack of significant difference in muscle activity and the significant difference in posture may indicate that humans tend to look for a head position that is neutral, in the sense of minimal muscle effort. This study shows that the use of a headrest may benefit the comfort experience of the passenger during flight. However, further research is necessary on the design of the headrest and the long-term effects of head support on comfort, discomfort, muscle activity and fatigue for watching IFE in a slouched posture.
Keywords: Aircraft seat | Comfort | EMG | Headrest | Neck angle | Posture | TV
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Several comfort perception models have proposed an objective method to evaluate 'effects in the internal body' and 'perceived comfort'. Postural comfort is one aspect of comfort/discomfort perception, and this current work adds to existing knowledge toward a more objectified posture evaluation for comfort. OBJECTIVE: The authors have used the concept of Range of Rest Posture (RRP), as proposed by Apostolico et al. The study focused on the identification of RRP within the Comfort Range of Motion (CROM) for lower limbs. METHODS: The proposed method is based on extensive experimental work involving 114 healthy individuals (59 males and 55 females) ranging from 20 to 40 years old. The age range was narrowed to avoid an age-clustering of results due to inhomogeneity of the statistical sample. Data were processed using statistical methods for identifying the RRP in the experimental CROM. Several Maximum Level of Comfort (MLC) positions were found within the RRP. RESULTS: RRPs for lower limbs of men and women have been identified and can be used for virtual comfort assessment. CONCLUSIONS: This paper shows a method to evaluate in a more objective way the subjective postural comfort perception and results allow researchers to improve models for the virtual preventive comfort assessment.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | lower limbs joints | range of motion | rest posture
Abstract: The aim of this work is to define a new method that helps researchers to analyze perceptions of (dis)comfort in dynamic conditions. Recent studies pay considerable attention to body movements, mobility, and stability to measure comfort or discomfort when seated. Most of these discuss the relations between subjective comfort/discomfort and objective measurements (e.g. body pressure distribution, body movement and EMG) for short- and medium-term sitting. The present analysis took place in a classroom of the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Salerno. The participants included 25 students (12 females and 13 males), who were observed during classroom hours. The students were invited to sit at a combo-desk and were free to perform different combinations of movements while writing and listening. These activities required that they adapt their body movements, as the combo-desk was fixed to the floor. A pressure pad was used to detect pressure at interface and center of pressure's changes, allowing for the bodies' motion data to be recorded. The aim was to identify the correct threshold to be used for movement detection and to investigate correlations between the number of movements and the perceived (dis)comfort. The study also identifies those body parts that have the greatest effect on (dis)comfort perception.
Keywords: Body movements | Center of pressure | Classroom seat | Comfort | Discomfort | Pressure map | School furniture
Abstract: The designers of two-wheeled motorcycles, in the phase of setting up a new project, have the need to carry out ergonomic evaluations on both the pilot and the passenger, from which the optimal comfort and control conditions will arise during the future use of the vehicle. Commonly, the most used method is based on the previous experience of the manufacturer and on the comparison with the choices made by the competitors. This article describes a methodology developed in collaboration with the Italian motorcycle brand Aprilia, owned by Piaggio & C., a company world leader in the sector, designed for the setup phase of new vehicles. The method provides a flexible tool, starting from the Enduro segment and for the different users’ body size (expressed in percentiles). The analysis was done on five commercial Enduro motorcycles from different leading competitor manufacturers. The authors used a mixed method based on numerical and experimental data, detected on virtual models, and on report cards made by professional testers. The results have been showed and discussed.
Keywords: Anthropometric | CAE | Ergonomics | Human factors | Motorcycles
Abstract: In the speed-based competition, with the use of fast vehicles, a fundamental aspect is the safety and comfort of the drivers. In each speed-based competition, the drivers are subjected to vibrations and stresses whose evaluation is fundamental in order to quantify the discomfort of them. The comfort conditions are guaranteed by a deep study of the correct size of the internal spaces, the right posture of the drivers and the right choice of the position of the elements inside the vehicles (damping elements, position of the steering wheel, position of instruments, etc.). Another important aspect is the assessment of the escape spaces in case of accident. To reach these goals, the Governing Body act with the definition and the verification of technical rules. In this work the field of interest is powerboats sport. During the powerboat race, the reached speed and the z-acceleration of the boat lead to several stresses on drivers. Two different approaches have been investigated, a traditional 2D approach and an innovative 3D approach. Results have been discussed.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human factors | Safety design | Seat comfort
Abstract: In the recent past a growing attention to the passenger is emerging overall in the transport domain. Hence, maximising the quality of travelling from the human’s point of view is a new challenge especially in those fields, such as aeronautics, in which technical efficiency, capacity and sustainability have traditionally driven the design process of systems and subsystems. In this context it is crucial to implement an efficient human centred design process in order to foresee the capability of a specific cabin interiors design of meeting the user’s expectations, including the needs related to comfort and well being. By using virtual reality technologies as a vehicle/platform, it allows the users/passengers to experience the interior environment of the cabin long before the actual development and manufacturing of the full size demonstrator. Due to the complex nature of aerospace programmes, typically taking ‘many’ years to develop and productionise, technologies which help reduce programme risk and potential delays are hugely beneficial to all partners involved. In this paper we present the results of a virtual reality based evaluation campaign specifically conceived for the collection of potential users’ feedback in the design of innovative and breakthrough solutions for the business jet industry. The main issues have regarded the identification of the expectation for such an elitist population and the creation of a Virtual Environment to explore the entire cabin as a holistic approach and innovative passenger experience. The work has been performed in the framework the Horizon 2020 project CASTLE (Cabin Systems Design Toward Passenger Well-being).
Keywords: Aircraft design | Cabin interiors | Comfort | Human centred design | Virtual reality
Abstract: The paper proposes a design method for the configuration of customized workplaces supported by the use of VR tool. The method allows to consider end-users anthropological features and configuration aspects related to the workplace (e.g. equipment). The adoption of VR technology allows supporting the configuration process, engaging end-users in the final customization. A yachts’ ship bridge console is proposed as a case study and a VR-enhanced configuration tool has been developed for the equipment configuration. The adoption of this tool in this specific field shows different advantages such as efficiency in configuration and time saving for the development of workplaces design alternatives. Another benefit of this approach is the automatic generation of an associated BoM and its management through PLM tools.
Keywords: Anthropological aspects | Configuration | Design | Ergonomics | Ship bridge system | VR
Abstract: Current market requirements push designers towards the enhancement of their activities. One possibility for doing this consists in analyzing design activities from different points of view, aiming at identifying and implementing possible improvements. The literature already offers descriptive methods and tools to perform this analysis exhaustively and effectively; nevertheless, the increasing variety of starting points and goals as well as the exploitation of user-related concerns like emotions, meanings, etc., sometimes make these methods and tools barely suitable for this analysis. This research aims at developing the X for Design (XfD) framework to model design activities that deal with different starting points and goals as well as with user experience concerns, in order to enhance them by highlighting where to add something new and/or what to modify/delete of the existing. To achieve this, the analysis of existing design activities and design methods allows highlighting some requirements to overcome the weaknesses of the descriptive methods and tools currently available. Then, these requirements lead the development of the XfD framework, based on three well-known descriptive methods and tools. Subsequently, the adoption of the XfD to model and enhance the design activities of two real companies comes as first validation of the research results. This validation highlights both quantitative and qualitative improvements. The XfD could help researchers in deepening their knowledge about the role of emotions and human behaviors in design; at the same time, designers could adopt the framework to enhance their activities in order to match current market requirements at best.
Keywords: Design activities | Human behavior in design | Modeling methods and tools | User experience | X for design
Abstract: Recently, human-centered design has become one of the most promising approaches for improving the entire production process design. During the design phase, among the main important aspects to investigate, ergonomic performance of the workplace (WP) plays a key role. It is well known that design errors can lead to significant delays in the design and engineering of a production process, especially when it is related to a complex system such as the assembly line of an automotive industry. Prediction of the ergonomic performance, which is often coarsely considered during the design phase, can represent a fundamental step in preventing ergonomic issues since the early design phase of a production process, avoiding also negative consequences on line balancing. Based on a concurrent engineering (CE) approach, the aim of this paper is to present a framework that uses digital twins of stations in order to minimise the time necessary to develop and design a new assembly line. The application of this procedure will allow avoiding the possibility of realising a line that reveals ergonomic problems and correcting design errors during the design phase and not just during the production phase. In this way, it is possible to achieve great advantages in terms of cost avoidance for the correction of the design errors and in terms of time to market, which will be significantly reduced. A digital twin of a real station of a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) assembly line is presented to validate the numerical procedure and the design approach proposed in this paper. Finally, numerical results, regarding the evaluation of an ergonomic index, were compared with experimental ones achieved by analysing data collected during an experimental session.
Keywords: Digital twin | Ergonomics | Human-centered design | Managerial methodological framework | Simulation
Abstract: According to the international literature postures, exerted forces, manual handling and repetitive actions with upper limbs must be considered in order to estimate the workers’ exposure to biomechanical overload risk, but also a preventive ergonomic approach in the design phase is possible. Within the Industry 4.0, the digitalisation of manufacturing processes generate benefits in terms of production costs and time. Regarding the ergonomics, it is possible to set up a predictive model for the evaluation of biomechanical overload risk. This paper proposes an appraisal of a workplace design and ergonomics validation procedure based on simulation: data from assembly tasks simulation of Digital Human Models (DHM) can be used to assess the ergonomic indexes (OWAS, NIOSH, OCRA, EAWS, etc.). So, it is possible to preventively solve ergonomic risks during the design phase. A test case, regarding a real workplace of an assembly line of an important automotive Company, is also presented.
Keywords: human-centred design | industrial ergonomics | simulation | Workplace design
Abstract: Among the technologies included in Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, Digital Manufacturing (DM) represents a new approach to evaluate the performance of production processes in a virtual environment. DM can be seen as the industrial declination of Virtual Reality (VR) that, by using an integrated computer-based system, allows creating simulation, 3D visualization and provides different tools to define the product and the manufacturing process simultaneously. Virtualization and simulation of production processes generate benefits for companies in terms of time and costs, optimizing the assembly line and providing parameters for studying human-machine interaction. Regarding this last topic, the aim of this paper is to propose an innovative procedure to support the workplaces design, based on simulation techniques that allow setting a virtual scenario in which a Digital Human Model (DHM) is able to carry on assembly tasks. Data from simulations can be analyzed and used to assess ergonomic indexes in a preventive and proactive approach. As other automotive manufacturers, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) applies EAWS (European Assessment Work Sheet), a first level screening, to assess the ergonomic biomechanical overload of workplaces in the design phase, according to international standards (ISO 11226 and ISO 11228-1, -2, -3). The ergonomics risk assessment, since the design phase, allows identifying critical issues and to define and put in practice corrective actions in the earlier phase, being more successful and less expensive. In order to support the procedure proposed in this research, a case study is described, based on the EAWS index evaluation of a workstation in a FCA plant assembly shop. The simulation has been realized by using PLM software Tecnomatix Process Simulate by Siemens® and the EAWS analysis has been performed by using EAWSdigital by MTM®. The procedure can be considered innovative to support human-centered design of production process in developing new products.
Keywords: Digital human models | Digital manufacturing | EAWS | Simulation
Abstract: Car design must very care comfort and driving pleasure. Nonetheless, the design choices are tested with subjective evaluations. In the present research, an objective measurement equipment for driving comfort assessment is proposed. The muscles activity of the driver in different maneuvers is considered the gauge of her/his feeling with the car. The activity of trapezius muscles of both shoulders is monitored by electromyography (EMG), through electrodes applied to her/his skin. The driver posture is monitored with a robust device for head tracking, using two 9-axis orientation sensors, including gyroscope. Real driving experiments are performed both with a luxury SUV and a high-end car. As expected, the first resulted more comfortable. The proposed equipment proved to be effective in assessing the driving comfort for different seat designs and car layouts.
Keywords: Comfort | Driveability | Electromyography | Head tracking
Abstract: This study proposes a novel quality function deployment (QFD) design methodology based on customers' emotions conveyed by facial expressions. The current advances in pattern recognition related to face recognition techniques have fostered the cross-fertilization and pollination between this context and other fields, such as product design and human-computer interaction. In particular, the current technologies for monitoring human emotions have supported the birth of advanced emotional design techniques, whose main focus is to convey users' emotional feedback into the design of novel products. As quality functional deployment aims at transforming the voice of customers into engineering features of a product, it appears to be an appropriate and promising nest in which to embed users' emotional feedback with new emotional design methodologies, such as facial expression recognition. This way, the present methodology consists in interviewing the user and acquiring his/her face with a depth camera (allowing three-dimensional (3D) data), clustering the face information into different emotions with a support vector machine classificator, and assigning customers' needs weights relying on the detected facial expressions. The proposed method has been applied to a case study in the context of agriculture and validated by a consortium. The approach appears sound and capable of collecting the unconscious feedback of the interviewee.
Keywords: 3D facial expression recognition | Emotional design | Quality function deployment (QFD) | User-centred design
Abstract: An important area of risk management practice for manufacturing companies relates to the prevention of injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The greater benefits can be achieved where a preventive approach is used, based on ergonomic design of workplaces and attention to human requirements and limitations as well as human-machine interaction principles. The research aims at providing a pragmatic approach to support the application of ergonomic risk management in practice. It defines a multipath methodology to investigate human factors impacting on safety by considering the specific workspace, the adopted tools, the overall production environment and the workers’ activity. An industrial case study is described to illustrate the methodology and demonstrate the benefits for companies. Results suggest that the proposed multipath methodology allow to effectively assist analysts in the definition of crucial risk factors and selection of proper ergonomics assessment and measurement tools according to the specific context of application.
Keywords: Design methods | Digital manufacturing | Ergonomics | HCD | Human-centred design | Risk management
Abstract: The optimization of the aeronautical structures manufacturing is one of the most challenging tasks in development of a new aircraft. Nowadays, aeronautical industries are supporting researches deal with the development of new assembly approaches which aim at increasing efficiency and reducing cost of the processes. The work here presented focused on definition of a Jig-less assembly procedure of the 'Integrated Main Landing Gearbox' (ITEM B). The project aims to develop a new generation of Lower Center Fuselage with an innovative landing system integrated in the fuselage itself. The ambition of ITEMB is the creation of a single integrated structure in composite material of the gear bay that reduces assembly costs, optimizing and integrating the entire design, construction and maintenance of the aircraft. The approach here described is based on the integration of different engineering disciplines, as such as the tolerance statistical prediction, the ergonomics, digital human modeling, manufacturing and measurement technologies. In particular, through an appropriate ergonomic analysis, an innovative assembly process of the gear bay was developed and optimized in a virtual environment pointing out the advantages and disadvantages with respect to a traditional assembly cycle. The assembly process is based also on the implementation of the assembly tolerance prediction.
Keywords: CAD | Determinant Assembly | Ergonomics | Jig-less approach | Tolerance statistical prediction | Variational assemblies
Abstract: The percentage of passengers that prefer travelling in groups is increasing. In most vehicles, passengers sit side by side and need to turn their body to be engaged in the conversation with their fellow travellers. However, rotating the body could lead to discomfort which influences conversation quality. The aim of this research is to study the effect of seat configuration on the (dis)comfort experience, conversation quality and posture. Experiments in which participants were asked to talk to each other while sitting at the same distance (1 m) were conducted in four seating arrangements (with seat-belts on), where the angle between the forward directions of two seats were positioned at 0° (side by side), 22.5°, 90° and 120° (almost opposite each other), respectively. Optical tracking has been deployed and the collected data were processed with MatLab® to acquire postural angles over time. Questionnaires were also used to evaluate the perceived (dis)comfort and the quality of the conversation. Experiment results indicate that the 120° configuration scored the best in the overall comfort and the quality of conversation, but only slightly better than the 90° configuration. Practitioner summary: Seating side by side is not optimal to have a comfortable conversation with your seatmate. To improve comfort and quality of conversation in future vehicles, we tested four seating arrangements analysing the effect of seat layout on (dis)comfort experience. Statistical analysis of objective and subjective data shows the optimal configuration for a comfortable conversation. Abbreviation: LPD: localized postural discomfort; PDF: probability density function; OCRA: occupational repetitive action.
Keywords: Comfort | conversation quality | seat layout | seating arrangement | vehicle design
Abstract: This research aims to study the effect of seat and/or backrest rotation on comfort and quality of conversation. Different sitting arrangements were tested to study the effect of the seat layout on: 1) (dis)comfort experience; 2) conversation quality and 3) postures. Two seats were arranged in different angles (0° 45° 90° and 180°) at the same distance (1 m) and participants were asked to talk to each other. The participants’ postures were acquired by using cameras and markers on the participants’ body. Questionnaires were used to rate the perceived (dis)comfort and quality of conversation. Results show that 90° configuration scored the best both in overall comfort and quality of conversation; while the 0° configuration scored the lowest in both ratings. A strong correlation was established between high comfort and good quality of conversation.
Keywords: Comfort | Communication | Quality of conversation | Sitting arrangement
Abstract: Manufacturing ergonomics refers to the application of ergonomic principles and human factors analysis to the design of manufacturing tasks with the final aim to optimize the workers’ wellbeing and guarantee the expected process performance. Traditional design approaches are based on the observation of individual workers performing their jobs, the detection of unnatural postures (e.g., bending, twisting, overextending, rotating), and the definition of late corrective actions according to ergonomic guidelines. Recently, computer-integrated simulations based on virtual prototypes and digital human models (DHMs) can be used to assess manufacturing ergonomics on virtual manikins operating in digital workplaces. Such simulations allow validating different design alternatives and optimizing the workstation design before the creation, and pave the way to a new approach to manufacturing system design. The present paper aims at comparing different computer-integrated set-ups to support the design of human-centred manufacturing workstations. It defines a protocol analysis to support workstation design by analysing both physical and cognitive aspects, and applies the protocol within different digital set-ups. In particular, the study investigates a 2D desktop set-up using standardized DHMs and a 3D immersive mixed reality set-up based on motion capture of real workers’ acting into a mixed environment, comparing them with the traditional approach. An industrial case study focusing on design optimization of a manufacturing workstation in the energy industry is used to test the effectiveness of the two digital set-ups for the definition of re-design actions.
Keywords: Digital human models | Human factors | Human-centred design | Manufacturing ergonomics | Mixed reality
Abstract: Today manufacturing enterprises aim not only to deliver high-value, cost-effectively products in a sustainable way, but also to consider the quality of the working environments. The analysis of human factors, which strongly affect time and quality of manufacturing processes, are crucial for satisfying people involved in the manufacturing process and making them safe, preventing diseases, errors and excessive workload. The paper presents a structured procedure to automatically extract data from virtual analysis made by digital manufacturing tools and measure a set of indicators to validly assess manufacturing ergonomics. The research considers the state of the art in manufacturing ergonomics and defines a set of indicators suitable for manufacturing manual operations, focusing on assembly tasks. Furthermore, it defines a methodology to automatically extract data valorising the selected indicators and an application, based on Visual Basic, to generate the specific task list and related assessment. The result is a rapid and objective assessment, independent from the experience of the user, which can be executed during process design. The procedure has been applied to an industrial case study, where the manual assembly of cabin supports on the tractor chassis has been analysed in order to correct the most uncomfortable steps and obtain a more ergonomic process. A decrease of the EAWS score, calculated with the proposed method, allowed to validate the proposed solution, suggesting a redesign of the assembly cycle to improve the working conditions. Such a procedure anticipates the analysis of the workers' wellbeing during the design stage to support the definition of human-centric manufacturing processes, simplifying and accelerating the assessment activities.
Keywords: Digital Manufacturing | Human Factors | Human-Centered Design (HCD) | Manufacturing Ergonomics | Virtual Engineering
Abstract: Human-centred design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs mainly related to performances, interaction, comfort, usability, accessibility, and visibility issues. However, the “real” user experience (UX) is hidden and usually difficult to detect. The paper proposes a multimodal system based on the collection of physiological and anthropometrical performance data on field and within a mixed prototyping set-up. The mixed environment makes users interact with virtual and digital items and users’ performance to be capture and digitalized, simulating human-machine interaction, while physiological and anthropometrical data collection allows to objectify the users’ physical and mental workload during task execution. Such a system has been applied to an industrial case study focusing on agricultural machinery driving and control to support the definition of a new cabin and its control board, in terms of seat features, commands’ positioning and grouping, and positioning of additional devices.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human-centred design | Human-machine interaction | Mixed prototyping | User experience
Abstract: Driving is a high-demanding task, related to human capacity, required performance and events occurring in the external environment. Mental workload depends on numerous factors: task difficulty, task complexity, level of traffic, additional activities required by the driving action or imposed by the driver, the contextual conditions, as well as the individual response to stress. The study of driver's workload is crucial in guiding future car design, in order to improve the user experience, comfort as well as driving performance and safety. Indeed, if task demands are too high in relation to the user's capabilities, errors may occur and may become critical for safety. The present paper defines a transdisciplinary approach based on monitoring the driver's workload during driving tasks in order to map the perceived user experience, and finally understand the interaction between the driver and the car systems. The approach is based on three layers: the human conditions to detect, the vital parameters to be monitored, and the adopted monitoring technologies. The paper proposes: a protocol to monitor the driver's workload during both real and simulated tasks, a technological set-up including physiological and performance data collection, and a proper data elaboration strategy. The key findings are: the selection of the most relevant subjective and objective parameters to measure the driver's mental workload, the definition of a preliminary technological set-up for monitoring the workload during simulated driving, and the evaluation of the effects of task complexity and of a secondary task on driver's performance. The research paved the way to further studies about how to miniaturize and embed sensors inside the car for a less intrusive application during real driving. Results can also be used to assess the interaction with car devices and to compare different design alternatives.
Keywords: Human Factors | Human-Centered Design | Mental workload | Transdisciplinary Engineering | User experience
Abstract: In this paper we present the design, prototyping and validation of a novel adjustable foot stretcher for indoor rowing training. The overall process is user-centered, in the sense that the athletes are directly involved in all the phases of the product development, from conceptual design to evaluation and validation. The conceptual design starts from well-known rowers needs. Accordingly, two design factors are selected to parametrize the prototype, namely the inter-axle spacing feet and the foot angle. The experimental evaluation and validation involve two phases, one based on a quantitative analysis of the performance, one based on subjective questionnaires submitted to the athletes. The performance-based analysis comprises the derivation of three pressure indices and one power transmission index. Indeed, the subjective analysis regards the users comfort and power transmission feelings. The results of both evaluations testify that an improvement in performance and comfort of the indoor rowing training session can be achieved.
Keywords: Performance evaluation | Robust design | Sports engineering | Sports equipment and technology | User-centered design
Keywords: Augmented reality | Risk assessment | Usability
Abstract: This paper presents the implementation and investigation of a novel user centred method, adopted to design, develop and test a personal robot system, composed of a mobile robotic platform and a smart environment, for assisting people at home. As robots need to work closely with humans, novel interactive engineering design approaches are required to develop service robots that are adherent to end users’ needs and that can be quickly employed in daily life. Particularly, this paper presents a methodology based on the simultaneous evaluation of dependability and acceptability, thus leading to an innovative approach for metrics and benchmarks that includes not only the main technical attributes of dependability, but also the parameters of acceptability, both implemented via a user-centered design and co-creative approach. Additionally, dependability and acceptability form the basis for defining standardized methodologies to test and evaluate robotic systems in dedicated experimental infrastructures (or robotic facilities), which are conceived to facilitate engineers in their studies and assessments.
Keywords: Acceptability | Companion robot | Dependability | Service robotics | User centred design
Abstract: Nowadays, the adoption of virtual reality (VR) exhibits is increasingly common both in large and small museums because of their capability to enhance the communication of the cultural contents and to provide an engaging and fun experience to its visitors. The paper describes a user-centered design (UCD) approach for the development of a VR exhibit for the interactive exploitation of archaeological artefacts. In particular, this approach has been carried out for the development of a virtual exhibit hosted at the “Museum of the Bruttians and the Sea” of Cetraro (Italy). The main goal was to enrich the museum with a playful and educational VR exhibit able to make the visitors enjoy an immersive and attractive experience, allowing them to observe 3D archaeological artefacts in their original context of finding. The paper deals with several technical issues commonly related to the design of virtual museum exhibits that rely on off-the-shelf technologies. The proposed solutions, based on an UCD approach, can be efficiently adopted as guidelines for the development of similar VR exhibits, especially when very low budget and little free space are unavoidable design requirements.
Keywords: Human–computer interaction | User interface design | User-centered design | Virtual museum systems | Virtual reality
Abstract: In this paper, we present the development of an application that allows us to simulate the multisensory experience of tasting a glass of wine. To this end, technologies for the sense of touch, sight, hearing, and smell have been integrated, creating an interactive multi-sensory experience. The user, after picking up a glass, activates an application in which he is guided by a virtual sommelier to make a tasting, and he is able to perceive the multi-sensory experience of the wine tasting experience. The paper describes the application and its potential use in marketing.
Keywords: Multisensory product experience | User experience | Virtual reality (VR)
Abstract: The study of ergonomics and (dis)comfort is a major topic of interest to scientific literature since the introduction of ISO 11228. Over the past 30 years, researchers have attempted to understand the mechanisms underlying perceptions of (dis)comfort for a seated subject. Three main factors are recognized as paramount for the comfort performance of a seat: human body posture, pressure at interface, and load distribution on the contact area; this study investigates the relationships between them and examines their significance for (dis)comfort perception. Physiological factors are known to play a role in (dis)comfort perception, and we consider these as a consequence of the three main parameters above. An explanation is given for this hypothesis. Experimental tests were conducted using a school chair with a rigid seat pan and no armrests for reducing the number of factors of influence. Conclusions show the levels of correlation between acquired information and perceived (dis)comfort.
Keywords: Comfort | Posture | School furniture | Seating | User experience
Abstract: In a highly competitive global aviation environment, European regional aircraft requires continuous improvements in cabin comfort. This paper describes the design for comfort process proposed in an industrial research project, aimed at the definition of innovative design approaches to measure the affective impact on a potential user when living in and interacting with the cabin. The study is performed in the framework of CASTLE (CAbin Systems design Toward passenger welLbEing). CASTLE is a project granted under the Horizon 2020 EU's research programme in the framework of the Clean Sky 2 initiative. Requirements and recommendations for the comfort aspects to be taken into account to develop a regional aircraft's cabin were provided by Leonardo's Aircraft Division. The methodological approach is set up in a Virtual / Augmented Reality Environment for the definition of a Human Centered Response Model for the design for comfort of regional aircraft interiors. In this context, special attention has been paid to the improvements that can be brought to the cabin interiors, and specifically to the experience that passengers can live in the aircraft of the future. The main objective of the project is to conceive, develop, prototype and test cabin interiors solutions following a HCD (Human Centered Design) methodology. The paper analyzes the approach toward the definition of the design for comfort according to the considered cabin items and design requirements. The proper comfort metrics are selected and linked to an experimental protocol analysis for their assessment. A Virtual Reality environment has been set up to support the comfort assessment in aircraft cabin interiors, from their preliminary design.
Keywords: Aircraft interiors Design | Comfort | Emotional Design | Human Centered Design | Virtual Reality
Abstract: Feature-based modeling and feature recognition algorithm are state of the art technologies, mainly used to favor the integration and exchange of data between design and manufacturing phases. This paper aims to investigate the possibility to extend the use of the feature recognition as a means for the prevention of ergonomics issues during the manual assembly phase, such as Work-related Musculo-Skeletal Disorders (WMSDs). Starting from the features analysis of a 3D product model, the proposed five steps method allows preventively identifying potential ergonomics issues. The main novelty of this study is related to the correlation between design tools, product virtual representations (e.g. 3D models), assembly and ergonomics aspects. Results obtained with two case studies, a cooker hood and a tool-holder carousel, confirm the usefulness of the proposed method in helping designers to prevent potential ergonomics issues for operators involved in the assembly phase.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Feature recognition | Manual assembly | Virtual product model | Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Abstract: User experience (UX) evaluation and design have become important components of the product development process. The UX describes the users’ subjective perceptions, responses and emotional reactions while interacting with products or services, considering users’ emotions and cognitive activities as the basic elements of the experience. The emotions encompass physiological, affective, behavioral, and cognitive components; the cognitive activities generate and exploit the mental models that govern the human behavior. The literature offers several methods to evaluate the UX; one of them, the irMMs-based method, considers both users’ emotions and mental models to evaluate the quality of the UX. Nevertheless, its current release misses the contribution of users who already know the product under evaluation. This research aims at improving the irMMs-based method by considering also users familiar with those products. The expected benefits of this improvement refer to the completeness of the evaluation results and to the definition of relationships between these results and the evaluation activities that allow them to be discovered. All of this can be useful for both researchers and designers who are willing to increase their knowledge about the generation and exploitation of mental models and to select the most suitable evaluation activities to perform time by time depending on the characteristics of the results they are interested in and on the resources available.
Keywords: Mental models | User experience | UX evaluation
Abstract: In recent years, user experience (UX) has gained importance in product development because of the increased product complexity, the availability of innovative technologies, etc. UX evaluation methods and tools developed up to now keep users’ emotions in the right consideration; nevertheless, they do not exploit mental models at best. This research aims at developing a UX evaluation method based on the so-called interaction-related mental models, a specific type of mental models focused on interaction matters. The description of the method proposed here considers also its adoption in the field and the results are compared with those obtained by a classic usability evaluation method. Although the scope of the proposed method is quite limited now (the UX evaluation focuses on CAD software packages only), the research results seem very promising. Nevertheless, this limitation will be overcome in the near future.
Keywords: CAD software packages | Evaluation | Interaction-related mental models | User experience
Abstract: The standard treatment for bones fractures entails the use of a tailor-made plaster cast which has several disadvantages: its weight generally causes discomfort, it cannot be taken off without breaking it, it can cause skin rashes and prevents ventilation of the treated area. Therefore, the application of traditional casts to orthopaedics patients does not represent, to date, the best option. To overcome the above-mentioned drawbacks, many strategies based on reverse engineering and additive manufacturing techniques have been proposed and proved to be a valid alternative for producing custom orthoses. Encouraged by the aforementioned results, the authors have developed a low-cost system (called Oplà), specifically dedicated to the hand-wrist-arm district of paediatric patients and capable of creating a 3D CAD model of the orthosis ready to be printed by using additive manufacturing techniques. Such a system comprises a 3D scanner, a control software and a semi-automatic CAD procedure to easily model the orthopaedic device on each patient, without the need of CAD modelling professionals. To evaluate if Oplà can be effectively used by the medical staff to design patient specific 3D printable orthoses in the clinical practice, a preliminary usability assessment has been performed. Five professional nurses from the Meyer Children’s Hospital of Florence (Italy) have been selected and trained in the use of the system. Subsequently, each of them has been asked to perform the whole process for the same patient. Effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction have been measured in accordance to ISO 9241-11. Results proved that the Oplà system is characterized by a good usability allowing the user to easily and intuitively perform all the tasks in a reasonable time.
Keywords: CAD | Cast modelling | Reverse engineering | Usability
Abstract: The technology has become a common part of our daily lives, and the integration of touchscreen technology into devices is quickly becoming equally common. In recent years, much research has been conducted on how people interact with handheld devices and on different types and uses of touchscreen technology, but there are few studies regarding people with severe problems of dexterity. For this reason, the present study aims to understand the effect of expertize with touchscreen on the performance of basic touch-gestures (i.e., tapping, dragging, pinching and spreading) in the case of people with Systemic Sclerosis. The performances of a total of twelve patients with SSc, six with and six without previous experience with touchscreen technology, were compared in the study. Recommendations based on the results of this study are proposed to improve the accessibility of touch-screen interfaces for these patients.
Keywords: Accessibility | Hand dysfunction | Human computer interaction | Scleroderma | Systemic sclerosis | Touch gestures | Touchscreen interface | Usability
Abstract: One of the most actual and consistent driver for industry is sustainability. This topic opens at different problems according to the three sustainability pillars: environment, economic, and social. Regarding the last one, there is a lack for methodologies and tools. Moreover, industries are crossing today a crucial transition in terms of technologies. The so called fourth industrial revolution is ongoing. This is a second challenge for industries that needs to be competitive reducing their time to market integrating new technologies on their production sites. From these perspectives, this work is aimed at highlighting the role of the humans under the Industry 4.0 paradigm. A new transdisciplinary engineering method to favour the sustainable manufacturing is provided. It allows designing a connected environment (IoT framework) aimed at measuring and promoting social sustainability on production sites. The work also remarks the relationship between social sustainability and productivity. Indeed, optimizing the human works permits to improve the quality of the working conditions while improving efficiency of the production system. The case study was performed at an Italian sole producer. The goal of the analysis was to improve and innovate the finishing area of the plant from a social point of view with the perspective of digital manufacturing. An IoT framework has been installed, without affecting the productivity, and the work of 2 operators has been compared in order to identify common problems and define a synergy strategy.
Keywords: Digital manufacturing | Human factors | Industry 4.0 | Social sustainability | Sustainable manufacturing
Abstract: Manual Material Handling (MMH), by pushing or pulling carts, is a common task that characterizes any manufacturing or service operation, and there is always a significant human input to those operations in terms of physical load. The physical load represents the effect of input forces during MMH operations that depend on the interaction between material handling equipment and the working environment. Many times MMH represents a critical issue related to human-machine interaction due to the carts can work in environment with parameters different from those used in designing, subjecting workers to risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this work, developed in collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is to develop a new procedure that allows estimating the initial and the maintenance forces necessary to push or pull carts, knowing the characteristics of the cart and the environment in which it works, in order to preventively assess the ergonomic indexes according to ISO 11228-2. The procedure is based on multibody simulations. The cart is modeled by Computer Aided Design (CAD) code and, then, imported in a multibody code where numerical simulations are performed in order to calculate the forces. In the multibody code static and dynamic friction coefficients of bearing of wheels are assigned, together with parameters of contact between wheels and floor. Changing the pivot angle of two floating wheels, several simulations have been carried out. Moreover, considering a cart used at the assembly line of the FCA plant of Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples), experimental tests have been performed in order to validate the procedure by comparing numerical results with the experimental ones.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Material Manual Handling | Multibody | Pushing/Pulling actions
Abstract: In the Industry 4.0 and digital revolution era, the world of manufacturing industry is experiencing an innovative reconfiguration of design tools and methodologies, with a different approach to the production processes organization. The design philosophy is changing, integrating to engineering contribution interpretative aspects (design thinking), executive practices (design doing) and cognitive aspects (design cultures). The design becomes human-centered. The new Virtual Reality technologies allow to validate performances of designed products and production processes by means of virtual prototypes in a virtual simulated environment. This approach generates several benefits to the companies, in terms of costs and time, and allows optimizing the assembly line design and related workplaces, by improving workers' benefits too. This paper proposes an innovative method to validate the design of workplaces on automotive assembly lines in a virtual environment, based on ergonomic approach, according to ERGO - Uas system, applied by FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) groups, that integrates UAS method for measurement and EAWS method for biomechanical effort evaluation. Creating 3D virtual scenarios allows to carry on assembly tasks by virtual manikins in order to be evaluated from different points of view. In particular, data coming from the simulation can be used to assess several ergonomic indexes, improving safety, quality and design. The analysis is supported by the use of a motion capture system, developed by the University of Campania and composed of wearable inertial sensors, that estimates the attitude of fundamental human segments, using sensor fusion algorithms based on Kalman filtering. In this way, it is possible to make a further design validation, assessing the EAWS index basing on posture angles trends evaluated. This method can represent an innovation for human-centered design of workplace in developing new products, reducing costs and improving job quality.
Keywords: design | ergonomics | manufacturing | motion capture | product feasibility | simulation | Virtual reality
Abstract: The introduction of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in factory environment is leading the world of manufacturing industry to a change. Indeed, we talk about Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution, that facilitates the vision of a Smart Factory in which systems become cyber-physical, interact between themselves, monitor and validate physical processes, creating a virtual copy of the physical world and making decisions based on complex numerical analysis. Virtualization and simulation of production processes generate several benefits, in terms of costs and time, optimizing the assembly line design and studying human-machine interaction. Regarding the last topic, this paper proposes an innovative method for ergonomic analysis of workplaces on automotive assembly lines in a virtual environment. The method can represent an innovation for human-centered design of workplace in developing new products, reducing costs and improving job quality thanks to a preventive ergonomic approach.
Keywords: EAWS | Human-centered design | Motion capture system | Virtual ergonomics | Virtual simulation
Abstract: The preventive evaluation of perceived (dis)comfort during the early stages of the design process is still an open issue. In Car development process, all tasks that involve human operations have to be taken into account while thinking and developing new solutions. Fortunately, modern technologies like CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) and DHM (Digital Human Modeling), and some new simulation software, like AnyBody™ or Jack© by Siemens PLM, allow to investigate, through simulation, some of the aspects related to comfort perception in humans. In addition, the software named CaMAN®, developed at University of Salerno, allows the postural comfort evaluations of upper limbs. The questions to which this paper tries to give answers are: (1) Is it possible to correlate the simulated muscular activation with perceived (dis)comfort during a manual task? (2) How different are the subjective perceived (dis)comfort, rated by the Borg Scale and the (dis)comfort index calculated by software?.
Keywords: (Dis)comfort perception | Car-Subsystems development | Comfort driven design | Human factors | Muscular fatigue evaluation | Task analysis
Abstract: Human factors are fundamental for manufacturing sustainability, which is determined by social, economic and environmental performance. However, there is a lack of engineering methods and tools that are able to integrate their analysis with product and process optimisation according to sustainability principles. The present study proposes an analytical approach to support sustainable manufacturing (SM) by analysing the so-called user experience (UX) of manufacturing and assembly processes starting from the early design stages. Considering both behavioural and cognitive aspects of manufacturing UX and defining a corresponding model, it is possible to estimate the UX impact on manufacturing sustainability for a certain product and its related processes. The proposed method is implemented in a computer-based framework, which can be easily integrated with environmental and cost assessment tools to integrate all three SM aspects. Finally, a case study focused on automated machines is presented; the proposed approach was used to redesign the machine to improve its economic, environmental and human-related impacts. The industrial case study provides concrete evidence of the achievable benefits of applying the proposed model in manufacturing practice. Indeed, the case study demonstrated how the manufacturing and assembly process of a specific machine was optimised by simplifying the product structure, changing the adopted materials and creating more human-centred activities. The new solution is more sustainable due to time savings (−30%), cost reduction (−20%), reduced environmental impact (−25%) and improved UX (+30%).
Keywords: computer-integrated approach | design for manufacturing & assembly (DFMA) | human factors | sustainability | user experience
Abstract: Design for serviceability begins with understanding the customer needs related to availability, reliability, accessibility and visibility, and aims at designing optimized systems where maintenance operations are easy and intuitive in order to reduce the time to repair and service costs. However, service actions are difficult to predict in front of a traditional CAD model. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used to create mixed digital environments where service tasks can be simulated in advance to support product design and improve maintenance actions. Furthermore, the use of human monitoring sensors can be used to detect the stressful conditions and to optimize the human tasks. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up where operators are digitalized and monitored to analyse both physical and cognitive ergonomics. It is useful to predict design criticalities and improve the global system design. An industrial case study has been developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial to demonstrate how the proposed set-up is used for design for serviceability, on the basis of experimental evidence.
Keywords: Design for serviceability | Digital Manufacturing (DM) | Ergonomics | Human-Centred Design (HCD) | Sustainability | Virtual Simulation
Abstract: Human-centred design is based on the satisfaction of the user needs related to performances, aesthetics, reliability, usability, accessibility and visibility issues, costs, and many other aspects. The combination of all these aspects has been called as “perceived quality”, that is definitely a transdisciplinary topic. However, the “real” perceived quality is usually faithfully assessed only at the end of the design process, while it is very difficult to predict on 3D CAD model. In this context, digital manufacturing tools and virtual simulation technologies can be validly used according to a transdisciplinary approach to create interactive digital mock-ups where the human-system interaction can be simulated and the perceived quality assessed in advance. The paper proposes a mixed reality (MR) set-up where systems and humans interacting with them are digitalized and monitored to easily evaluate the human-machine interaction. It is useful to predict the design criticalities and to improve the global system design. An industrial case study has been developed in collaboration with CNH Industrial to demonstrate how the proposed set-up can be validly used to support human-centred design.
Keywords: Digital manufacturing | Human-centred design | Human-machine interaction | Virtual simulation
Abstract: Driving is a high-demanding task, related to human capacity, required performance and events occurring in the external environment. In this context, the driver’s health status monitoring is expected to support safety system and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Among the drivers’ conditions, drowsiness and distraction are thought as crucial risk factors that may result in severe injuries. The paper defines a transdisciplinary roadmap to monitor the driver’s health status and to map the perceived user experience, based on three layers: the human conditions to detect, the vital parameters to be monitored, and the adopted technologies. The paper proposes a technological set-up focusing on the driver’s drowsiness detection, in the context of smart city framework and innovation 4.0. Indeed, such technologies could be embedded in the future “smart car” and communicate with external services to control the driver’s performance and improve the safety inside and outside the car. A preliminary technological set-up has been realized embedded into a Maserati car.
Keywords: Digital identity | Human factors | Human-centred design | Innovation 4.0 | User experience
Abstract: Analysis of human-related aspects is fundamental to guarantee workers’ wellbeing, which directly limits errors and risks during task execution, increases productivity, and reduces cost . In this context, virtual prototypes and Digital Human Models (DHMs) can be used to simulate and optimize human performances in advance, before the creation of the real machine, plant or facility. The research defines a human-centred methodology and advanced Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to support the design of ergonomic workstations. The methodology considers both physical and cognitive ergonomics and defines a proper set of metrics to assess human factors. The advanced virtual immersive environment creates highly realistic and interactive simulations where human performance can be anticipated and assessed from the early design stages. Experimentation is carried out on an industrial case study in pipe industry.
Keywords: Digital Human Model | Ergonomics | Human-Centred Design | Sustainable Manufacturing | Virtual Reality
Abstract: Virtual museum (VM) systems are a very effective solution for the communication of cultural contents, thanks to their playful and educational approach. In fact, these appealing technological systems have demonstrated their usefulness and value in science centres and traditional museums all over the world, thanks to the fact that visitors can view digitized artworks and explore reconstructed historical places by means of VM-hosted installations. This paper presents a methodology, based on user studies, for the comparative evaluation of different design alternatives related to the user interaction with VM systems. The methodology has been validated by means of a testbed related to a VM system hosted at the “Museum of the Bruttians and the Sea” of Cetraro (Italy). The results of the user study demonstrate that this methodology can be effectively adopted in the development process of VM systems to optimize its outcomes in terms of usability and potential for entertainment and education.
Keywords: User study | User-centered design | Virtual museum systems | Virtual reality
Abstract: The paper describes a user-centered design (UCD) approach that has been adopted in order to develop and build a virtual museum (VM) system for the “Museum of the Bruttians and the Sea” of Cetraro (Italy). The main goal of the system was to enrich the museum with a virtual exhibition able to make the visitors enjoy an immersive and attractive experience, allowing them to observe 3D archaeological finds, in their original context. The paper deals with several technical and technological issues commonly related to the design of virtual museum exhibits. The proposed solutions, based on an UCD approach, can be efficiently adopted as guidelines for the development of similar VM systems, especially when very low budget and little free space are unavoidable design requirements.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction | User interfaces design | User-centered design | Virtual museum systems
Abstract: This paper describes a part of the contribution of the CoMAS project (“In situ conservation planning of Underwater Archaeological Artifacts”), funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), and run by a partnership of private companies and public research centers. The CoMAS project aims at the development of new materials, techniques and tools for the documentation, conservation and restoration of underwater archaeological sites in their natural environment. This paper details the results achieved during the project in the development of an innovative electric tool, which can efficiently support the restorers’ work in their activities aimed to preserve the underwater cultural heritage in its original location on the seafloor. In particular, the paper describes the different steps to develop an underwater electric cleaning brush, which is able to perform a first rough cleaning of the submerged archaeological structures by removing the loose deposits and the various marine organisms that reside on their surface. The peculiarity of this work consists in a user centred design approach that tries to overcome the lack of detailed users’ requirements and the lack of norms and guidelines for the ergonomic assessment of such kind of underwater tools. The proposed approach makes a wide use of additive manufacturing techniques for the realization and modification of prototypes to be employed for insitu experimentation conducted with the final users. The user tests have been addressed to collect data for supporting the iterative development of the prototype.
Keywords: Additive Manufacturing | Product Design | Underwater Applications | User centred design
Abstract: The paper deals with prototyping strategies aimed at supporting engineers in the design of the multisensory experience of products. It is widely recognised that the most effective strategy to design it is to create working prototypes and analyse user’s reactions when interacting with them. Starting from this consciousness, we will discuss of how virtual reality (VR) technologies can support engineers to build prototypes suitable to this aim. Furthermore we will demonstrate how VR-based prototypes do not only represent a valid alternative to physical prototypes, but also a step forward thanks to the possibility of simulating and rendering multisensory and real-time modifiable interactions between the user and the prototype. These characteristics of VR-based prototypes enable engineers to rapidly test with users different variants and to optimise the multisensory experience perceived by them during the interaction. The discussion is supported both by examples available in literature and by case studies we have developed over the years on this topic. Specifically, in our research we have concentrated on what happens in the physical contact between the user and the product. Such contact strongly influences the user’s impression about the product.
Keywords: Experience design | Interaction design | User experience | Virtual-mixed prototyping
Abstract: Books are the tools used for reading novels and stories, but also for educational purposes. Conventional books have undergone a radical transformation in recent years due to the use of new technologies. However, even today the technological devices used for reading e-books are still poorly exploited, despite the fact that they represent a fundamental tool to make the reading experience more immersive by using a complete multisensory approach. In this perspective, one sense that represents an important element of human perception is the sense of smell. Consequently, authors make the hypothesis that the introduction of odours during reading sessions could increase the user experience and the learning performances. In order to demonstrate these hypotheses, the authors have defined and carried out several experimental testing sessions. The analysis of the collected data proved that the introduction of odour does not disturb the reader during reading activities but, on the contrary, can actually make the experience more immersive. Similarly, odours do not disturb studying activities, but they can instead increase the level of concentration and people's learning performance.
Keywords: Augmented reality | Multisensory environment | Olfactory technologies | User experience
Abstract: The very rapid evolution of digital technologies and the "Internet of Things" phenomenon are today some of the most important issues that product designers have to face. Consequently, today designers need to understand and manage these new technologies in order to exploit their potential into innovative products. Therefore, it is recommendable that designers focus their activities on the design of the meaning and on the user interaction of products, in order to create smart products that are easy-to-use and enjoyable. In order to address all these issues, the authors set up an experimental workshop in which students with different backgrounds in design-related disciplines were asked to collaborate to the design of a domestic product that allows new tangible interaction with live-data streams. In addition, students were asked to develop the functioning prototype of their design solution, by using rapid prototyping and physical computing techniques. The students were able to develop working prototypes of products that are capable of communicating information derived from real-time data streams. Some of the most representative results of this workshop are presented in the paper.
Keywords: 3D printing | Design education | User centred design
Abstract: In this paper we describe the design of a smart alarm clock, conceived as a persuasive system to foster a sustainable urban mobility. Automatically retrieving and elaborating information available on the web, such as means of transport and weather forecast, the device is able to suggest to the user the most sustainable travelling solution, to help him/her to wake-up and reach the destination on time. Following a user-centered design approach the elaboration of the best travelling solution takes also into account, together with his/her next day appointments, user's needs and habits such as: The time he/she needs to get ready in the morning; his/her travelling preferences. A functional prototype has been built to test the effectiveness of the device using as a context the city of Milan.
Keywords: Design for sustainable behaviour | Multisensory product experience | Smart mobility | Sustainability | User centred design
Abstract: In this paper, the authors show the results of an anecdotic experiment about the effect the use of eyeglasses has on the body posture of people in seated positions using different kinds of electronic devices: a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone. The tasks were performed using a fully reconfigurable seating buck on which a standard VDT (Video Display Terminal) workplace with a chair was set. Subjects performed different tasks in order to evaluate the subjective perception of postural comfort. A Digital Human Modeling system was used to model and evaluate, from an ergonomic point of view, the ergonomic level. Software CaMAN®, was used to perform an objective evaluation of the postural comfort of subjects’ upper limbs and to compare the results obtained for the different subjects. The results show that the use of glasses has a significant effect on the body postures of the subjects.
Keywords: Comfort | Discomfort | Electronic devices | Glasses | Posture | VDT/computer workplace
Abstract: In recent years, methods that allow for an objective evaluation of perceived comfort, in terms of postural, physiological, cognitive and environmental comfort, have received a great deal of attention from researchers. This paper focuses on one of the factors that influences physiological comfort perception: the temperature difference between users and the objects with which they interact. The first aim is to create a measuring system that does not affect the perceived comfort during the temperatures' acquisition. The main aim is to evaluate how the temperature at the human-mattress interface can affect the level of perceived comfort. A foam mattress has been used for testing in order to take into account the entire back part of the human body. The temperature at the interface was registered by fourteen 100 Ohm Platinum RTDs (Resistance Temperature Detectors) placed on the mattress under the trunk, the shoulders, the buttocks, the legs, the thighs, the arms and the forearms of the test subject. 29 subjects participated in a comfort test in a humidity controlled environment. The test protocol involved: dress-code, anthropometric-based positioning on mattress, environment temperature measuring and an acclimatization time before the test. At the end of each test, each of the test subject's thermal sensations and the level of comfort perception were evaluated using the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) scale. The data analyses concerned, in the first instance, correlations between the temperature at the interface and comfort levels of the different parts of the body. Then the same analyses were performed independently of the body parts being considered. The results demonstrated that there was no strong correlation among the studied variables and that the total increase of temperature at interface is associated with a reduction in comfort.
Keywords: Bedding systems | Comfort evaluation | Mattress | Objectifying comfort | Temperature | Thermal comfort
Abstract: Domestic appliance are widely used in all countries. During the design phase, it is very important to take advantage of new virtual prototyping technologies in order to improve the user expectations and put the feeling of the user with the device in the centre of the design. The paper deals with the complete simulation of the opening of the front door of an appliance like a refrigerator or an oven. The process is simulated with the use of ad-hoc built program that uses a combination of experimental parameters and virtual fluid dynamic simulations. Each moment involved during the opening of the door is evaluated and a comprehensive explanation of each of them is reported. The entire solving process is parametrized in order to use it in an iteration loop for eventually optimization of the User Experience and the comfort during the opening of the front door. A fridge case study is described and discussed.
Keywords: Door appliance | Experience design | User centred design | User Experience (UX) | Virtual Prototypes (VPs)
Abstract: The evaluation of the exposure to risk factors in workplaces and their subsequent redesign represent one of the practices to lessen the frequency of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. In this paper we present K2RULA, a semi-automatic RULA evaluation software based on the Microsoft Kinect v2 depth camera, aimed at detecting awkward postures in real time, but also in off-line analysis. We validated our tool with two experiments. In the first one, we compared the K2RULA grand-scores with those obtained with a reference optical motion capture system and we found a statistical perfect match according to the Landis and Koch scale (proportion agreement index = 0.97, k = 0.87). In the second experiment, we evaluated the agreement of the grand-scores returned by the proposed application with those obtained by a RULA expert rater, finding again a statistical perfect match (proportion agreement index = 0.96, k = 0.84), whereas a commercial software based on Kinect v1 sensor showed a lower agreement (proportion agreement index = 0.82, k = 0.34).
Keywords: Ergonomics | Kinect v2 | RULA
Abstract: This study describes an User-Centered approach to design an User Interface (UI) to support daily activities of people with dementia. Such interface is the main hub of a home automation system able to monitor the house and reminds to the users some information when they approach the door to leave the home. In order to involve end users in UI evaluation at the end of the first stage of the design process, a specific experimental protocol, based on task analysis, structural interview, and behavioral observation, is defined. It allows to evaluate user-machine interaction considering aspects related to both adequacy of product feature and user's subjective opinion and behavior. A disposable high fidelity prototype of the UI is realized by using a touch screen tablet. Two tests, respectively dedicated to verify the adequacy of the icons and the understandability of the interface, are performed. A total of 20 subjects with different MMSE score are involved. Results show that people with low and medium dementia are able to understand and use the touch interface and provide some suggestion about how the GUI can be improved. Finally, some approaches to support the future development activities and the next usability tests are discussed.
Keywords: Assistive Technology | Dementia | Human-Computer Interaction | Usability Evaluation
Abstract: Touchscreen technologies have become increasingly common in personal devices, so it seems necessary to improve their accessibility and usability for the older people. In the past years, a lot of studies have been conducted to improve touch interfaces, however, most them do not consider older people with very low attitude with ICTs. Moreover, the majority of studies date back 2014, so they lack to consider the most innovative technologies available today. The present study involves a sample of older people without previous experience with ICTs with the aim of analyzing how basic features of a touchscreen interface affect their performances with typical touch-gestures. A total of 22 participants have been involved. Results partially confirm the existent literature and partially reveal new interesting findings that can be useful to improve the touch screen accessibility for older people.
Keywords: Accessibility | Human computer interaction | Older people | Touch gestures | Touchscreen interface | Usability
Abstract: Search engines play an important role in determining the success of e-commerce. Despite many efforts have been made to improve searching methods (SM) they remain mostly limited to semantic elaboration of keywords. This implies that the SM are not capable of supporting the research of products that best satisfy customers, according to their characteristics and background. To overcome this limitation, this paper introduces an approach able to define a new ontological model that formalizes the knowledge necessary to implement a search engine capable to guide the customer to search the desired product or service according to his/her characteristics and needs. To this purpose, three essential aspects have been considered: a User Ontology (UO), a Product Ontology (PO) and rules (or properties) to link the user and product ontologies. The described approach is applied, as an example, to the products class known as Smart Objects that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) market.
Keywords: Internet of things | Ontologies connection | Product ontology | User ontology | User-centred design
Abstract: The systematic integration of user needs in the product design is a key issue in industry, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which suffer a lack of engineering methods and resources. Moreover, most of the approaches described in the literature are not flexible enough to be tailored on the SMEs’ needs, involve users only in the early design phases and are not fully accessible due to the high cost in their implementation. The present paper proposes a user-centred design methodological framework specifically focused on SMEs, which supports the designer from both design and manufacturing aspects along the engineering product design process. The framework integrates engineering methods with Web-based software tools, which enable the communication and the concurrent work of the design team, and supports direct participation of users. Beside state-of-the-art methods, the framework allows the integration of specifically tailored techniques. The framework is successfully validated through an industrial case study developed in collaboration with an Italian SME. As a result, the design of an injection-moulded housing and the related interfaces of a biomedical electronic device are achieved with a reduction of uncertainty and development time, by involving users throughout the design phases and suggesting methods and tools on the basis of the designers’ know-how and SME’s specific resources.
Keywords: Decision theory | Design methodology | Product design | QFD | SMEs | User-centred design
Abstract: Over the last years, several approaches have been defined to support Universal Design. However, a method that allows supporting universal design process in a systematic way is still lacking. Consequently, very often, products are merely designed according to design guidelines, without considering their effective context of use, while the success of products is often determined by the experience, intuition and sensitivity of designers, rather than by a real good design practice. In this context, the paper propose a systematic approach to support the conceptual design of modular and adaptive products, where for products we mean any device, tool, artefact, building, or service.
Keywords: Ability-oriented design | Adaptive systems | Human factors | Universal design | User-centered design
Abstract: The so-called smart manufacturing systems (SMS) combine smart manufacturing technologies, cyber-physical infrastructures, and data control to realize predictive and adaptive behaviours. In this context, industrial research focused mainly on improving the manufacturing system performance, almost neglecting human factors (HF) and their relation to the production systems. However, in order to create an effective smart factory context, human performance should be included to drive smart system adaptation in efficient and effective way, also by exploiting the linkages between tangible and intangible entities offered by Industry 4.0. Furthermore, modern companies are facing another interesting trend: aging workers. The age of workers is generally growing up and, consequently, the percentage of working 45–64 years old population with different needs, capabilities, and reactions, is increasing. This research focuses on the design of human-centred adaptive manufacturing systems (AMS) for the modern companies, where aging workers are more and more common. In particular, it defines a methodology to design AMS able to adapt to the aging workers’ needs considering their reduced workability, due to both physical and cognitive functional decrease, with the final aim to improve the human-machine interaction and the workers’ wellbeing. The paper finally presents an industrial case study focusing on the woodworking sector, where an existing machine has been re-designed to define a new human-centred AMS. The new machine has been engineered and prototyped by adopting cyber-physical systems (CPS) and pervasive technologies to smartly adapt the machine behaviour to the working conditions and the specific workers’ skills, tasks, and cognitive-physical abilities, with the final aim to support aging workers. The achieved benefits were expressed in terms of system usability, focusing on human-interaction quality.
Keywords: Adaptive manufacturing systems | Aging workers | Cyber-physical systems | Human factors | Smart manufacturing systems | Usability
Abstract: Although factories are becoming smarter and more and more automated, thanks to ICT penetration, process performances still highly depend on 'humans in the loop' who have to carry out their tasks by perceiving and understanding increasingly complex multidimensional data sets. Forecasting the human behaviours and assessing how human factors affect the process performance are very difficult but fundamental for strategic decision-making and sustainable manufacturing. In this context, the research highlights the need of predictive methods to design human-centred smart manufacturing systems from the early design stages as an important part of the overall assessment of process sustainability. The paper defines a model to early assess human factors to be integrated with other existing models (i.e., cost estimation and lifecycle assessment) to evaluate manufacturing process sustainability. The proposed integrated method can be fruitfully used to support the design of sustainable manufacturing systems by taking into account also the impact on workers. An industrial case study focusing on packaging machines design is presented to demonstrate the validity of the proposed method and its adoption to propose re-design action promoting sustainability.
Keywords: Design for sustainability | Human factors | Key performance indicators | KPIs | Sm | Sustainability assessment | Sustainable manufacturing
Abstract: Nevertheless process automation is a global trend, some specific phases (i.e., assembly) in highly technological sectors (i.e., medical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, dental) are still managed by human workers, due to high-precision tasks and low production volumes. In this context, operators are forced to work faster and adapt to not ergonomically workstations and workflows. As a consequence, human assembly is frequently the bottleneck of the entire process due a not ergonomic layout and process design. The study was conducted at a medical equipment manufacturer, leader of dental equipment production, and focused on the analysis of the assembly process of the dental units. Workers at the assembly line were observed by experts and involved also by interviews and focus groups to detect the assembly issues and process jam. The research provides a valuable example of how physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomic problems affect the final process performance and how human-oriented re-design actions can be easily defined according to the proposed analysis procedure.
Keywords: Assembly workstation design | Design optimization | Ergonomics | Human Factors | Humancentred design
Abstract: The analysis of human factors is assuming an increasing importance in product and process design and the lack of common references for their assessment in industrial practices had driven to define a reference model to analyse the so-called User eXperience (UX) to support human-centred product-process design. Indeed, the recent advances in ubiquitous computing, wearable technologies and low-cost connected devices offer a huge amount of new tools for UX monitoring, but the main open issue is selecting the most proper devices for the specific application area and properly interpreting the collected information content in respect with the industrial design goals. The research investigates how to analyse the human behaviours of "users" (i.e., workers) by a reference model to assess the perceived experience and a set of proper technologies for UX investigation for industrial scopes. In particular, the model has been defined for the automotive sector. The paper defines a set of evaluation metrics and a structured protocol analysis to objectify and measure the UX with the final aim to support the requirements definition in product-process design. The model has been defined to fit different cases: vehicle drivers at work, workers in the manufacturing line, and service operators.
Keywords: Digital mock-ups | Human Factors | Integrated product-process design | Protocol analysis | User eXperience
Abstract: Industry 4.0 paradigm is based on systems communication and cooperation with each other and with humans in real time to improve process performances in terms of productivity, security, energy efficiency, and cost. Although industrial processes are more and more automated, human performance is still the main responsible for product quality and factory productivity. In this context, understanding how workers interact with production systems and how they experience the factory environment is fundamental to properly model the human interaction and optimize the processes. This research investigates the available technologies to monitor the user experience (UX) and defines a set of tools to be applied in the Industry 4.0 scenario to assure the workers’ wellbeing, safety and satisfaction and improve the overall factory performance.
Keywords: Human Factors | Human Interaction | Industry 4.0 | Production system design | User experience
Abstract: In order to achieve more sustainable development processes, industries need not only to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, but also to increase the operators’ wellbeing to promote social sustainability. In this context, the present research focuses on the definition of a methodology based on human-centred virtual simulation to improve the social sustainability of maintenance tasks by enhancing system design and improving its serviceability. It is based on the operators’ involvement and the analysis of their needs from the early design stages on virtual mock-ups. The methodology proposed merges a protocol analysis for human factors assessment and an immersive virtual simulation where immersive serviceability simulations can be used during design phases. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method, an industrial use case has been carried out in collaboration with CNH Industrial.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Human-Centred Design (HCD) | Serviceability | Sustainability | Virtual simulation
Abstract: Requirement management represents one of the key process in the complex product life cycle because it is involved not only at the beginning, but also in the further phases where the definition of the technical specifications sometimes implicates requirements tradeoff due to conflicts. For this reason the role of RM tools and methodologies, that normally represents a stand-alone solution, has to change and to be more integrated in the Product Lifecycle Management platform. At present a real shared integrated RM solution doesn’t exist and for this reason it is necessary to provide a framework for supporting the customization of the available RM solutions for catching the real and specific company needs in this new collaborative scenario. For this reason this paper presents a methodical approach that incorporates user-centered design principles into the customization process of the tool. It permits to be adopted in each possible company scenario thanks to its ability to catch the company specific needs and further identifying the right features for the company. The proposed methodology puts the user, rather than the system, at the center of the process because the RM solution could be considered effective only if it is able to save time and money in the data management by users. Moreover, this tool assessment method can help organizations efficiently determine candidate tools, to understand what is important in that organization and to make a tool selection customized for their needs. The case study on Requirement Management tools as Part of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Solution is presented.
Keywords: Kano model | Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) | Quality function deployment (QFD) | Requirement Management (RM) | User-centered design
Abstract: This paper presents a method for posture prediction of the upper trunk of video terminal (VDT) operators, which is then verified by means of some test cases. The prediction of the upper trunk posture is, in fact, a very difficult task to carry out due mainly to the complexity of the anatomy of the spine and the surrounding muscles. The method being proposed in this paper is based on the integration of the knowledge which is obtained experimentally through the posture analysis of real cases into a configured human multi-body kinematic model which has been implemented in a commercial CAD system. A trained artificial neural network retains the knowledge concerning the VDT operator’s postures detected in different working positions. The posture simulations obtained with the proposed method are subsequently compared with the real ones determined by a 3D scanner. The results obtained confirm the effectiveness of such a method, which is deemed promising to implement other anthropometric data and further human poses.
Keywords: Artificial neural network | Ergonomics | Multi-body virtual human models | Posture prediction
Abstract: This paper presents a method, which integrates digital human models (DHM) and virtual prototyping techniques to analyse ergonomic issues of devices to be used by workers. It is based on the comparison between the analysis of AS-IS and TO-BE scenarios with the aim of assessing design concepts, highlighting improvements or worsening and residual deficiencies to be faced. In particular, this paper refers to the case study of display units for groceries or supermarkets. Actually, workers who are in charge of filling the shelves perform highly repeated tasks, potentially dangerous for their health. The AS-IS and TO-BE analysis compares the actual practices with a new scenario in which workers are provided with lifting platforms to load the shelves. The method allows assessing several ergonomics parameters; in this study posture and fatigue are the most relevant. The results achieved with the simulations permitted to propose alternative solutions. Future works in this field concern the standardisation of domain dependant actions virtual human are asked to perform.
Keywords: Design validation | DHM | Digital human models | Display unit | Ergonomics analysis | Fatigue | Lifting AIDS | NIOSH | OWAS | Posture
Abstract: The paper describes a system to supply meaningful insights to designers during the concept generation of new car interiors. The aim of the system is to capture the movements of car passenger's and making these acquisitions directly available as a generative input. The system has been developed by integrating the Abstract Prototyping technique with Motion Capture technology. In addition, a systematic procedure allows the treatment of the collected data to obtain a graphical representation, which can be easily used with standard NURBS-based modeling software. The effectiveness of the system has been evaluated through a testing session conducted with subjects. The outcomes of the testing sessions have highlighted benefits and limitations of the implemented system.
Keywords: Abstract prototyping | human factors | motion capture
Abstract: The application of ergonomic principles to the design of processes, workplace and organization, is not only a way to respond to legal requirements, but also an indispensable premise for any company that wants to pursue a business logic. One of the most stressful works, in terms of prolonged wrong postures and psych-cognitive effort, is the dentist's one. This paper shows a cheap and effective method to acquire workplaces, work-cycles and workers-postures, in a workenvironment (Dental clinic), in order to analyze how dentists (workers) move themselves into the work environment around the workstations (Dental clinic seat), with their own tools and devices, and do their jobs. The aim of the analysis is to determine the best way to plan the movement of the workers and their work-cycle in order to optimize the productivity and to obtain the best ergonomic rating for the workers. For those purposes, authors used Virtual Prototyping techniques and OCRA Analysis for making the biomechanical risk assessment; time acquisition and video acquisition has been made to analyze the work cycle. DELMIA® software was used to model the workstation and for modelling activities and postures associated with various repetitive actions; pictures taken by cameras have been processed through the KINOVEA® software and simulations have been made for the own worker percentile. An ergonomic/comfort driven redesign of the work-cycle has been suggested in order to optimize the work cycle in terms of risk minimization. The application has been made on the typical working day of an Italian dentist.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Dentist's work | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Not-invasive postural analysis
Abstract: The application of ergonomic principles to the design of processes, workplace and organization, is not only a way to respond to legal requirements, but also an indispensable premise for any company that wants to pursue a business logic. This paper shows a cheap and effective method to acquire workplaces, work-cycles and workers-postures, in a work-environment, in order to analyze how workers move themselves into the work environment around the workstations, with their own tools and devices, and do their jobs. The aim of the analysis is to determine the best way to plan the movement of the workers and their work-cycle in order to optimize the productivity and to obtain the best ergonomic rating for the workers. For those purposes, authors used Virtual Prototyping techniques and OCRA Analysis for making the biomechanical risk assessment; time acquisition and video acquisition has been made to analyze the work cycle. DELMIA® software was used to model the workstation and for modelling activities and postures associated with various repetitive actions; pictures taken by cameras have been processed through the KINOVEA® software and simulations have been made for the own worker percentile. If needed, an ergonomic/comfort driven redesign of the work-environment has been suggested in order to optimize the work cycle in terms of risk minimization. The application has been made on the lunch-boxes’ distribution station’s workers at University of Salerno (Italy).
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Not-invasive postural analysis | Redesign
Abstract: The application of ergonomic principles to the design of processes, workplace and organization, is not only a way to respond to legal requirements, but also an indispensable premise for any company that wants to pursue a business logic. This paper shows a cheap and effective method to acquire workplaces, work-cycles and workers-postures, in a work-environment, in order to analyze how workers move them-selves into the work environment around the workstations, with their own tools and devices, and do their jobs. The aim of the analysis is to determine the best way to plan the movement of the workers and their work-cycle in order to optimize the productivity and to obtain the best ergonomic rating for the workers. For those purposes, authors used Virtual Prototyping techniques and OCRA Analysis for making the biomechanical risk assessment; time acquisition and video acquisition has been made to analyze the work cycle. DELMIA® software was used to model the workstation and for modelling activities and postures associated with various repetitive actions; pictures taken by cameras have been processed through the KINOVEA® software and simulations have been made for the own worker percentile. If needed, an ergonomic/comfort driven redesign of the work-environment has been suggested in order to optimize the work cycle in terms of risk minimization. The application has been made on the University of Salerno’s Pizzeria’s workers.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Postural analysis | Redesign
Abstract: The application of ergonomic principles to the design of processes, workplace and organization, is not only a way to respond to legal requirements, but also an indispensable premise for any company that wants to pursue a business logic. This paper shows a cheap and effective method to acquire workplaces, work-cycles and workers-postures, in a work-environment, in order to analyze how workers move themselves into the work environment around the workstations, with their own tools and devices, and do their jobs. The aim of the analysis is to determine the best way to plan the movement of the workers and their work-cycle in order to optimize the productivity and to obtain the best ergonomic rating for the workers. For those purposes, authors used Virtual Prototyping techniques and OCRA Analysis for making the biomechanical risk assessment; time acquisition and video acquisition has been made to analyze the work cycle. DELMIA® software was used to model the workstation and for modelling activities and postures associated with various repetitive actions; pictures taken by cameras have been processed through the KINOVEA® software and simulations have been made for the own worker percentile. If needed, an ergonomic/comfort driven redesign of the work-environment has been suggested in order to optimize the work cycle in terms of risk minimization. The application has been made on the lunch payment station’s workers at University of Salerno (Italy).
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Noninvasive postural analysis | Redesign
Abstract: Smart Objects (SOs) market offers a wide variety of products apparently similar but characterized by different features that the average users fail to perceive. Consequently, their purchasing is often based on price and brand affection. In this context, users need a tool able to guide them in choosing the most suitable object to satisfy their expectations. To this purpose, this paper proposes a new systematic method to assess SOs in a comprehensive way: it allows to objectively assess and compare products and provides evaluation results tailored on users' needs. A first validation is carried out on three different SO typologies.
Keywords: Internet of Things | Smart objects | Systematic evaluation process | Usability
Abstract: The continuous progress of interaction technologies reveals that we are witnessing a revolution that is leading to a redefinition of the concept of “user interface” and to the development of new ways to interact with the electronic devices of all sizes and capabilities. Current trends in research related to the Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) show a considerable interest toward gesture, motion-based and full-body based interactions. In this context, a User-Centered Design (UCD) methodology to implement these novel interaction paradigms into consumer products is proposed with the aim to improve its usability, intuitiveness and experience. A case study is used to validate the methodology and measure the achieved improvements in user performance.
Keywords: Design methods | Gesture interaction | User interfaces | User-Centered design
Abstract: A Product-Service System (PSS) is an innovation strategy, shifting the business focus from designing physical products only, to designing a system that combines tangible products, intangible services, supporting network and infrastructure, which are jointly capable of fulfilling specific customer needs. Due to the widespread of this paradigm, the present research provides a methodological framework and related tools to support the design of PSSs. The aim is to propose a user-centered approach to involve end-users during the different stages of PSS development.
Keywords: Hardware-in-the-Loop | Product-Service System | User-Centered Design | Virtual reality
Abstract: Design for Sustainability (D4S) and LifeCycle Assessment (LCA) methods usually focus on one single aspect of sustainability at a time (e.g., environmental issues, ergonomics or costs) and are usually applied when the industrial system is already created, so that only corrective actions can be taken. In this context, the present research highlights the need of predictive methods to design sustainable system, able to provide an early holistic assessment from the early conceptual stages, and defines a set of models of impact able to assess all aspects of sustainability (i.e., environmental, economic and social) by proper key performance indicators (KPIs) from the early design stages. An industrial case study is presented to show the application of the proposed models on industrial manufacturing systems and demonstrate their validity in estimating the global impact on sustainability, including also human factors.
Keywords: Design for Sustainability | Design Methods | Human Factors | Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) | Lifecycle analysis | Sustainable Manufacturing
Abstract: The paper concerns the use of integrated methodologies and tools to perform innovative human centered development of products. Digital simulation of ergonomics by means of DHM is shown together with advanced tools for design, taking into account Knowledge-based systems, Design Automation and design of highly customized goods. Two different applications of the proposed approach are described, the first refers to an industrial product, the second to the medical domain. Both applications, even if belonging to completely different fields benefit from putting the human at the center of the developing paradigm from the very first step of product development. Some results and discussion highlight benefits and limitation of the approach and of the adopted tools.
Keywords: Design Automation | Digital human modelling | Ergonomics | Human centered design | Knowledge-based systems | Lower limb prosthesis
Abstract: This paper explores a possible integration of some ancillary systems of helium-cooled lithium lead (HCLL) and helium-cooled pebble-bed (HCPB) test blanket modules in ITER CVCS area. Computer-aided design and ergonomics simulation tools have been fundamental not only to define suitable routes for pipes, but also to quickly check for maintainability of equipment and in-line components. In particular, accessibility of equipment and systems has been investigated from the very first stages of the design using digital human models. In some cases, the digital simulations have resulted in changes in the initial space reservations.
Keywords: CAD | Design for maintainability | Digital human modeling | Piping layout design
Abstract: This paper describes the design and implementation of a system for rendering virtual shape through vision, haptic and sound. The system consists of a haptic strip that physically renders virtual curves. A flexible capacitive touch sensor (FCTS) is integrated with the haptic strip, and allows the system to track the position of the user's fingers on the strip. According to the position, the system renders curve properties such as curve shape, inflexion points and curvature through sound metaphors. The goal of this sonification approach is to strengthen the user's understanding of the shape of a virtual prototype, and to inform the user about geometrical attributes that could otherwise remain unseen. Such unseen attributes may either be a result of limitations in the visual and haptic display hardware or a result of limitations in human perception.
Keywords: conceptual design | haptic rendering | human-computer interaction | immersive virtual reality | product design
Abstract: The paper proposes an alternative approach to well-known feedback solutions, such as visual displays or warning sound messages, to make users perceptually aware of the energy consumption occurring when using a product. The approach is grounded on the use of multisensory feedback interfaces that are designed to make the user experience the consumption process directly during the interaction with the product. Such multisensory feedback should be intended as indications, rather then alarms, so as to naturally guide users towards a more sustainable behaviour. The daily task of opening the fridge door has been used as case study. All the steps followed to ideate and test the effectiveness of the designed multisensory interfaces are discussed. The results demonstrate how even simple stimuli, such as a gradual colour change of the fridge cavity from a cold to a warm one, may be able to reduce the time users keep the fridge door open.
Keywords: Design for behaviour change | Human behaviour in design | Multisensory design | Sustainability | User centred design
Abstract: Human movements express non-verbal communication: The way humans move, live and act within a space influences and reflects the experience with a product. The study of postures and gestures can bring meaningful information to the design process. This paper explores the possibility to adopt Motion Capture technologies to inform the design process and stimulate concept generation with an Experience Design perspective. Motion data could enable designers to tackle Experience-driven design process and come up with innovative designs. However, due to their computational nature, these data are largely inaccessible for designers. This study presents a method to process the raw data coming from the Motion Capture system, with the final goal of reaching a comprehensible visualization of human movements in a modelling environment. The method was implemented and applied to a case study focused on User Experience within the car space. Furthermore, the paper presents a discussion about the conceptualization of human movement, as a way to inform and facilitate Experience-driven design process, and includes some propositions of applicable design domains.
Keywords: Body tracking | Conceptual design | Data visualization | Motion capture | User experience
Abstract: Beyond ergonomic measurements, the study of human movements can help designers in exploring the rich, non-verbal communication of users’ perception of products. This paper explores the ability of human gestures to express subjective experiences and therefore, to inform the design process at its early stages. We will investigate the traditional techniques used in the Experience Design domain to observe human gestures, and propose a method to couple Experience-driven design approach with Motion Capture technique. This will allow integrating qualitative user observations with quantitative and measurable data. However, the richness of information that Motion Capture can retrieve is usually inaccessible for designers. This paper presents a method to visualize human motion data so that designers can make sense of them, and use them as the starting point for concept generation.
Keywords: Body Tracking | Concept design | Data visualization | Motion Capture | User experience
Abstract: The sense of smell has a great importance in our daily living: today pleasant odors are used to elicit positive emotions in users. In the marketing area, a lot of works have been done concerning the use of odors for communicating information for products as household cleaners and foods. In the area of Virtual Reality (VR) several researches have focused in presenting odors in virtual environments. The introduction of odors simulation in virtual environment could represent an easy and flexible tool for evaluating industrial products characteristics. This research work aims at evaluating in which way odors can influence the users’ evaluation of products and if studies on the influence of odors on the users’ evaluation of products in a VR environment and in a real environment can be comparable. For this purpose, an experimental framework has been defined, a wearable olfactory display has been developed and experimental testing sessions have been performed.
Keywords: Multisensory interaction | Olfactory display | Product evaluation | User experience
Abstract: The definitions of methods and tools used to evaluate how workers perceive the comfort during their activities remains an “open” problem at this time. Many researchers have dealt with that problem in the last twenty years, focusing their efforts primarily on the automotive sector and on VDT workstation comfort. This paper analyzes how workers position themselves at workstations used in industrial processes that sew together the edges of mattresses. The aim of the analysis is to determine whether workers can position themselves in ways that allow them to carry out activities in simple and economical ways. The Strain Index was used to identify the most critical and risky work phases in order to evaluate workers' risk of biomechanical overload. The OCRA checklist was used to evaluate the overall risk level associated with repeated completions of the total cycle of work and to develop a virtual-postural analysis to evaluate workers' perceived levels of discomfort. For the virtual-postural analysis, DELMIA® software was used to virtually model a workstation, and records of activities and the postures associated with various repetitive actions were gathered in a non-invasive manner with cameras and video cameras. CaMAN® software developed by the researchers from the Department of Industrial Engineering in Salerno (Italy) was used to calculate comfort indexes. An analysis of the comfort indexes was used to make as the basis for suggestions to correct workers' postures and for plans to redesign the workstations in order to improve ergonomics and allow workers to perceive them as more comfortable.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation criteria | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Non-invasive postural analysis | Redesign
Abstract: What are the new trends in research for comfort evaluation and the objective and predictive techniques for quantifying and qualifying comfort perception by humans? This paper has attempted to answer this question in a wide literature review, whereby it is possible to highlight many partial aspects that have been studied successfully. Just a few researchers [1–3] have studied the problem of comfort perception and evaluation under a wider point of view. Nevertheless, some aspects seem not to have yet been taken into account. In a previous paper, the authors extended the Vink–Hallbeck model to build a comfort perception/evaluation matrix in which four kinds of comfort related to different humans’ perception were studied and linked to the whole environment's characteristics. In the resultant perception-scheme and in the proposed “fusion rule” (for different kinds of perceived comfort/discomfort), one aspect that played a fundamental role in the final comfort/discomfort perception/evaluation was expectation. Expectation due to preconceived data (acquired or formed in the users’ minds) and the influence of the working environment, can act in terms of additive or subtractive factor in the comfort experience by altering the final comfort/discomfort perception and changing the subjective comfort/discomfort evaluation. This paper presents the results of expectation influence analysis on comfort evaluation. Using the placebo effect, authors conducted a wide experimental test with a wide sample of users, asking them to use and evaluate two identical mattresses that were dressed and described as two different products (the first one as a very cheap mattress and the second one as a high-level and expensive mattress). Differences between subjective evaluations have been statistically processed and correlated to anthropometric parameters to individuate and understand the role of expectation.
Keywords: Cognitive | Comfort evaluation | Expectations | Mattress | Physiological and environmental comfort | Postural
Abstract: Blind people are typically excluded from equal access to the world’s visual culture, thus being often unable to achieve concrete benefits of art education and enjoyment. This is particularly true when dealing with paintings due to their bi-dimensional nature impossible to be explored using the sense of touch. This may be partially overcome by translating paintings into tactile bas-reliefs. However, evidence from recent studies suggests that the mere tactile exploration is often not sufficient to fully understand and enjoy bas-reliefs. The integration of different sensorial stimuli proves to dramatically enrich the haptic exploration. Moreover, granting blind people the possibility of autonomously accessing and enjoying pictorial works of art, is undoubtedly a good strategy to enrich their exploration. Accordingly, the main aim of the present work is to assess the feasibility of a new system consisting of a physical bas-relief, a vision system tracking the blind user’s hands during “exploration” and an audio system providing verbal descriptions. The study, supported by preliminary tests, demonstrates the effectiveness of such an approach capable to transform a frustrating, bewildering and negative experience (i.e. the mere tactile exploration) into one that is liberating, fulfilling, stimulating and fun.
Keywords: Blind people | Cultural heritage | Hand tracking | Human-computer interaction
Abstract: In Human-Machine Interface (HMI) design, several parameters have to be correctly evaluated in order to guarantee a good level of safety and well-being of users (humans) and to avoid health problems like muscular-skeletal disease. ISO Standards give us a good reference on Ergonomics and Comfort: ISO 11228 regulation; it deals with qualitative/quantitative parameters for evaluating Postural Ergonomics, using a "Postural Load Index", in push/pull, in manual loads' lifting and carrying and in repetitive actions; those parameters can represent the Ergonomics level of examined posture. While bibliographic references suggest different methods to make ergonomic evaluation like RULA, LUBA and REBA, the state of the art about comfort/discomfort evaluation shows the need of an objective method to evaluate "effect in the internal body" and "perceived effects" in several schemes of comfort perception like Moes', Vink & Hallback's and Naddeo & Cappetti's ones; postural comfort is one of the aspect of comfort/discomfort perception and this paper proposes a new quantitative method for evaluating this aspect of comfort, based on anthropometric parameters and upper limbs posture. The target of this paper is to present and test a "general purpose" method of comfort-measurement that can be applied to different industrial cases: in workspace environments, in automotive passenger compartments, in aeronautic cockpit or in industrial assembly lines. Relevance to industry: The method presented in this paper may allow industrial designers to provide an assessment of products' perceived comfort in the early stage of the product development process by making a posture-based quantitative evaluation; it also allows designers to make a comfort driven redesign of existing products' configuration for improving and innovating them.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Ergonomics | Industrial design | Postural analysis
Abstract: In order to study and develop adaptive user interfaces with the purpose to guarantee socialization, safety and environmental sustainability in a domestic day-by-day living space, a new method of holistic and adaptive user interface is proposed to support the modelling of information related to the user and the context of the interaction to generate the user profiles, subjects older than 40 years with different levels of technology affinity have been considered. The new adaptive user interfaces prototypes will be tested through different use cases in the context of smart home environments.
Keywords: Adaptive interfaces | Design for AAL | User interfaces | User-centered design
Abstract: In the last years introducing measures to face age discrimination and increasing work safety in production environments have become crucial goals. The present research proposes an innovative user interface exploiting Augmented Reality techniques to support frail people, mainly elderly, in everyday work on complex automated machines. It adapts its functionalities according to the user skill, tasks, age, and cognitive and physical abilities thanks to a set of knowledge-based configuration rules. A case study is described to illustrate the methodology to manage the complexity of configuration rules and the resulting developed platform.
Keywords: Accessibility | Adaptation | Augmented reality | Human-computer interaction | User-centred design
Abstract: In the field of Ambient Assisted Living, the present research proposes a combined User-Centred Design approach that exploits the strengths of systematic and participatory design methodologies with the final aim to design an assistive device to solve mobility problems of elderly people in crowded environments. The application of the approach allows research to investigate which information gathering technique is more effective for this context of use and to find out competitive AAL solutions for specific target users. The experimentation is carried out by students attending an industrial design course. An experimental protocol is arranged to compare the outcomes from the different stages of the approach application. The scientific contribution of the present work regards both the presented results, that confirm how much effective is ethnography in respect to role-playing and traditional desk research in case of products oriented to special target users, and the educational experiences in the field of AAL.
Keywords: Ambient assisted living | Design education | Evaluation | Requirement gathering | User centred design
Abstract: Motion capture of the human body has being performed for decades with a growing number of technologies, aims and application fields; but only recent optical markerless technologies based on silhouette recognition and depth sensors which have been developed for videogames control interface have brought motion capture to a broad diffusion. Actually, nowadays there are low cost hardware and software suitable for a wide range of applications that may vary from entertainment domain (e.g., videogames, virtual characters in movies) to the biomechanical and biomedical domain (e.g., gait analysis or orthopedic rehabilitation) and to a huge number of industrial sectors. In this quick evolving scenario it is hard to tell which technology is the most suitable for any desired goal. The aim of the paper is to answer to this issue by presenting a benchmark analysis that compares RGB and RGB-D technologies used to track performing people in a variety of conditions. In order to contrast the solutions, several different tasks have been selected, simultaneously captured and post-processed exactly in the same way. The test campaign has been designed to evaluate pros and cons according to the most important feature of a motion capture technology, such as volume of acquisition, accuracy of joint position and tracking of fast movements. Actors were asked to perform a number of tasks, among which free movements of arms, legs and full body, gait, and tasks performed interacting with a machine. The number of sensors around the scene and their disposition have been considered as well. We used Sony PS Eye cameras and Microsoft Kinect sensors as hardware solutions and iPisoft for data elaboration. The gathered results are organized, compared and discussed stressing performances and limitations of any combination and, at last, we proposed the best candidate technology for some key applications.
Keywords: Benchmark | Depth cameras | Digital Human Models | Motion capture | RGB | RGB-D
Abstract: Understanding users points of view is rapidly becoming an urgent issue for companies and designers, as well as User Experience and Experience Design proving to be of wide interest for academic research. This paper presents an experimental-based methodology aimed at guiding designers during product optimisation. It is meant to support designers in choosing the right strategy to assess the users emotional reaction towards a product at an early stage of product development. The methodology consists of three different phases: 1) Design Challenge definition, to help in clarifying the research question; 2) Interaction Study, aimed at understanding the user experience; 3) Sensory Boost phase, to improve the products perceived pleasurableness. The methodology includes a review of the methods and tools used for catching users emotional reactions to products. Moreover, a computer-based version of the methodology will be introduced, together with two case studies to validate the developed methodology.
Keywords: Emotional design | Methodology | Sensory boost | User experience
Abstract: This study evaluated newly proposed Human-Machine Interface (HMI) design concepts for improving the ergonomics of hydraulic excavators. The design concepts were based on an augmented interaction technique which involved the use of heads-up display (HUD) and coordinated control as HMI elements. Two alternative HMI designs were elaborated in order to separately evaluate the ergonomic impacts of the head-up display and the coordinated control by comparing them to the standard HMI design. The effectiveness of these three HMI designs in terms of the reduction of the operators' mental and physical workload were assessed by conducting experiments utilizing human subjects, ages 23-35 years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Task Load Index (NASA TLX) method was used for collecting subjective workload scores based on a weighted average of ratings of six factors: Mental Demand, Physical Demand, Temporal Demand, Own Performance, Effort, and Frustration Level. The results showed that the type of HMI design affects different aspects of the operator's workload. Indeed, it showed how the proposed augmented interaction is an effective solution for reducing the ergonomic gaps in terms of mental workload, and to a lesser extent the physical workload, subjected by the standard HMI design. Relevance to industry: This study proposes innovative HMI solutions featuring heads-up display and coordinated control to improve the ergonomics of the hydraulic excavator HMI, particularly in reducing the operators' mental and physical workload. The results of this study promises to be an innovative approach for developing new HMI designs by hydraulic excavator manufacturers. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: Coordinated control | Ergonomics | Heads-up display | Human-Machine Interface | Hydraulic excavator | NASA TLX
Abstract: In this paper we introduce and describe a new concept in human-measurements operation that seems to be very useful for comfort evaluation: the Range of Rest Posture (RRP). Our study is focused on the identification of RRP -inside the comfort range of motion (CROM)-for the following human joints: neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle. Method used is based on a wide experimental work on 85 healthy individuals (43 males and 42 females) ranging in age from 20 to 30 year. The main target of this work is the experimental definition of CROM and identification of RRP; Experimental data has been processed by statistical methods for identifying the best statistical distribution in order to fit experimental data. Main result is the identification of RRP in CROM of main human joints involved in upper and lower limbs movements. In RRP weve found several maximum level of comfort positions in human postures: those position seems to be one of the most important information in comfort evaluation analysis. The state of the art about comfort/discomfort evaluation shows the need of an objective method to evaluate effect in the internal body and perceived effects in Moes (Contemporary ergonomics. Taylor & Francis, London, 2005) and Vink and Hallback (Appl Ergon 43:271-276, 2012) scheme of comfort perception; postural comfort is one of the aspect of comfort/discomfort perception and this paper helps to put a piece in the puzzle of posture evaluation. On the basis of papers results, a comfort evaluation method can be developed using RRP, CROM and building a composition rule that takes into account also lumbar comfort and H-point. Our work does not use ROM and CROM values coming from literature because each of these values has been experimentally identified. © 2013 Springer-Verlag France.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation | Human joints | Range of motion | Rest Posture
Abstract: The ISO 9001: 2000 requires the phase of design validation in order to demonstrate that the design output are able to satisfy specified or forecasted user requirements; for this reason, generally, physical prototype are realized in order to evaluate real product performances and their correlation with simulated ones. In this paper, the use of virtual inspection probes to validate playground equipment design is studied, pointing out limits and defining the optimal test strategies. Through the use of Robust Design techniques the authors show that the combined use of real time shadows and positional sound feedback allows to reduce the percentage of wrong inspections in the validation phase of playground equipment design. The authors develop an inspection probe simulation tool in virtual immersive environment. In particular, this tool ensures the collision detection through visual and sound feedback and increases the realism of the immersive environment. Finally, an experimental session, using a physical prototype of playground equipment, is carried out in order to compare these results with the ones coming out from the VR experiments. For a standard entrapment test, the authors assess the dependences of false and missed alarm by the diameter of the openings to evaluate and establish an acceptability threshold for the usability of the virtual probes. © 2013 Springer-Verlag France.
Keywords: Design validation | Grasping techniques | Playground equipment | Usability | Virtual reality
Abstract: Trailers are used to carry logs having specific dimensions for logging extraction operations, secondary transportation, and agricultural activities. The main objective of this study was the design of a timber trailer capable of manual loading operations and suitable for rough terrain conditions to be used in combination with a farm tractor in the western Black Sea region of Turkey. In the proposed methodology, a House of Quality diagram was used to transfer customer requirements into quality characteristics, and focus the development of the product toward customer satisfaction. Negative correlations between quality characteristics were solved using the TRIZ contradiction toolkit and generating different concepts. Inventive solutions provided by TRIZ were designed with parametric CAD software. Several concepts were compared in a participative design review session in an immersive virtual reality environment. To choose an optimal concept, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was used. The final concept has a total length of 3.35 m, width of 1.34 m, and height of 1.8 m. The mass is 2700 kg, the payload capacity is about 2.33 m3, and the total volume of the chassis is 2.68 m3 The angle of rollover is 26.9°, the door is reachable by 90% of the population, and the lower back analysis performed for the loading operation showed a maximum value of 2597 N. The final concept is capable of movement in steep terrain and with the presence of obstacles, carrying logs up to 3-m long. It is more productive among high-density stand trees, allows for ergonomic loading operations, and reduces environmental damage to soil and vegetation. © TÜBİTAK.
Keywords: AHP | Ergonomics | Forest harvesting | Interactive design | QFD | TRIZ
Abstract: This paper refers to the context of virtual ergonomics and specifically addresses a case study of the commercial refrigeration industry. The aim is to develop a computer-aided platform to analyse end-users' postures and movements and ergonomically validate the design of device a man or woman may deal with. This paper describes the integrated use of human modeling and motion capture (Mocap) systems to perform ergonomic analysis relying exactly on real movements. Two optical Mocap systems, both low cost and markerless, have been considered: one based on six Sony Eye webcams and another one on two Microsoft Kinect sensors. Analogously, two human modeling tools have been adopted: Jack, specifically targeted for ergonomics and integrated with Microsoft Kinect, and LifeMod, a biomechanical simulation package. The proposed virtual ergonomics solutions have been experimented considering the case study of vertical refrigerator display units. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.
Keywords: commercial refrigeration | Digital human modeling | Mocap | Virtual ergonomics
Abstract: Maintenance is one of the key drivers for future company success, due to the fact that these kinds of operations are strictly related to human labor cost, an expensive factor for western states. Furthermore, in the last decades, norms and laws on safety and ergonomics of the work place have taken importance among industrialized countries. Design for Maintenance is a design methodology that since early stages of product life cycle outlines needs and necessities of maintainers, in order to reduces time and cost; decreasing the complexity and the difficulties of these procedures and achieving a higher standard of workers' health. In order to reach this goal, Digital Human Models (DHM) have been used to simulate assembly and maintenance processes. Virtual ergonomic analysis performed with a human model allows evaluating visibility, reachability and postures, stress and fatigue. The lack of methods supporting virtual ergonomics simulation has been addressed by proposing a systematic approach based on a step-by-step procedure and proper tools. The said procedure was applied on a case study and results on the method and on its application are shown. © 2013 Copyright CAD Solutions, LLC.
Keywords: design for maintenance | digital human modeling | ergonomics
Abstract: The paper describes a methodological approach specifically developed to capture and transform the qualitative User Experience (UX) of a consumer product into quantitative technical specifications. Merging the potentialities of Virtual Prototypes (VPs) and Digital Mock-Ups (DMU), a flexible design scenario is built to interpret users' desires. Visual, sound and haptic stimuli are reproduced in order to let users live a realistic multisensory experience interacting with the virtual replica of the product. Parametric models are defined to acquire users' preferences while optimization algorithms are used to transform them into technical specifications. The aim of the approach is to propose a robust technique to objectify users' desires and enable their direct and active participation within the product development process. The methodology is derived merging insights coming from four case studies as well as indications available in literature. Specifically the paper describes how to design the multisensory UX with household appliance doors and drawers with a specific focus on the haptic/force feedback objectification. © 2013 The Design Society.
Keywords: Experience design | Haptic feedback | Human in the loop | User centred design | Virtual reality
Abstract: Several activities of the product development process as for example ergonomic analyses, usability testing, and what is defined as User Experience - UX- design in general require humans to be involved as testers. In order to achieve a good effectiveness degree, these tests must be performed on prototypes as much as possible similar to the final product, and this is costly and sometimes difficult to obtain during the development process. This is especially true at the earliest stages of the process. Functional mock-up - FMU - methods and tools can be of great help, because they allow technological aspects of the products, as electronics, hydraulics, mechanics, etc. to be represented and managed in a simple and effective way. Mathematical equations allow product behavior to be determined, due to input values representing the application environment of the product. At the moment, an FMU model is great in simulating product behavior from the technological point of view, but concerns about user interaction issues are left apart. The research described in this paper aims at widening the coverage of FMU to user-product interaction issues. The goal aims at evaluating the possibility of substituting real users with a characterization of them, and to model and simulate interaction in a homogeneous way together with all the other product aspects. All of this makes the research activities very challenging, and the result is a sort of FMU-assisted interaction modeling. As an evolution of what is generally recognized as hardware and software-in-the-loop, this methodology will be referred as human-in-the-loop. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Keywords: Functional Mock-Up | Interaction | User Experience
Abstract: Main purpose of this work is to show how easy and economics an ergonomic/comfort based approach, in re-design a manual assembly workplace, can be; authors, using a new comfort/ergonomic evaluation criterion, analyzed a workstation and identified the critical issues under ergonomic/comfort point of view and finally gave several guidelines to re-design the workplace, implementing minor modification, and improve work-safety, work-quality and productivity. The postural analysis was performed by non-invasive and especially inexpensive methods, based on cameras and video-recorder use and by photogrammetric analysis; DELMIA® DHM software has been used to perform all simulations; comfort analysis was performed by the software developed by researchers of Departments of Industrial Engineering of Salerno: CaMAN®. The test case is an automatic assembly machine that has been modeled and used for virtual postural analysis. Main results of this work can be found in a very good numerical/experimental correlation between acquired/simulated postures and real ones, and on the powerful use of an objective comfort evaluation method, based on biomechanics and posture analysis, for giving to designers the guidelines to re-design a workplace and a work-cycle. This kind of approach seemed to be very powerful in re-designing the work-place and in re-scheduling the work time-sheet because it allowed to improve an ergonomic corrective action with minor costs for company. Obtained results demonstrated the validity of re-design hypotheses through the increase of all comfort indexes and the improvement of workstation/operator productivity. © (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.
Keywords: Comfort evaluation criteria | Digital human modeling | Ergonomics | Not-invasive postural analysis | Re-design
Abstract: Minimisation techniques are commonly adopted methodologies for retrieving a 3D surface starting from its shaded representation (image), i.e., for solving the widely known shape from shading (SFS) problem. Unfortunately, depending on the imaged object to be reconstructed, retrieved surfaces often results to be completely different from the expected ones. In recent years, a number of interactive methods have been explored with the aim of improving surface reconstruction; however, since most of these methods require user interaction performed on a tentative reconstructed surface which often is significantly different from the desired one, it is advisable to increase the quality of the surface, to be further processed, as much as possible. Inspired by such techniques, the present work describes a new method for interactive retrieving of shaded object surface. The proposed approach is meant to recover the expected surface by using easy-to-set boundary conditions, so that the human-computer interaction primarily takes place prior to the surface retrieval. The method, tested on a set of case studies, proves to be effective in achieving sufficiently accurate reconstruction of scenes with both front and side illumination. © 2013 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Keywords: Boundary conditions | Computational vision | Human-computer interaction | Minimisation techniques | SFS | Shape from shading
Abstract: The preventive knowledge of serviceability times is a critical factor for the quantification of after-sales services costs of a vehicle. Predetermined motion time system are frequently used to set labor rates in industry by quantifying the amount of time required to perform specific tasks. The first such system is known as Methods-time measurement (MTM). Several variants of MTM have been developed differing from each other on their level of focus. Among them MTM-UAS is suitable for processes that average around 1-3 min. However experimental tests carried out by the authors in Elasis (Research Center of FIAT Group) demonstrate that MTM-UAS is not the optimal approach to measure serviceability times. The reason is that it doesn't take into account ergonomic factors. In the present paper the authors propose to correct the MTM-UAS method including in the task analysis the study of human postures and efforts. The proposed approach allows to estimate with an "acceptable" error the time needed to perform maintenance tasks since the first phases of product design, by working on Digital Mock-up and human models in virtual environment. As a byproduct of that analysis, it is possible to obtain a list of maintenance times in order to preventively set after-sales service costs. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
Keywords: Digital humans | Ergonomics | MTM-UAS | Predetermined time analysis | Virtual maintenance | Work measurement
Abstract: The importance of participatory design (PD) is progressively increasing thanks to its capacity to explore a wide variety of concepts, thus increasing the opportunity to create a successful product. In fact the design process should not be a solo activity, as designers often need inputs and other points of view, especially from end-users. According to the ultimate idea of PD, end-users are actively involved in the various activities of the product development to ensure that their needs and desires are satisfied. This paper presents a novel approach to the participatory design of product interfaces in a user-centered design (UCD) process. The approach is based on an interactive tool that allows end-users to design custom user interfaces of household appliances taking advantage of their own needs and experiences. The tool incorporates the analytical and more abstract knowledge of the designers codified in the form of aesthetical, technological and manufacturing constraints (i.e., limitations in the number and geometry of interface components, a limited number of colors, a discretization of the area where interface widgets are placed). This solution allows the end-users to directly design their favorite interface without the interference of any other subject. Through an accurate analysis of the choices done by the users, the designers are able to access to the deepest level of the usersâTM expression in order to catch their latent needs and tacit knowledge. The tool has been designed in order to make possible to immediately perform usability tests on the designed interface by using a Mixed Reality prototype. The paper describes the development of the tool and proposes a methodology that has been specifically addressed to include this tool in a design process based on UCD principles. Both the tool and the methodology are presented through the description of a case-study related to the redesign of a washing machine dashboard. Experimental results show that the proposed tool can be an effective support to design product interfaces during PD sessions. Copyright © 2012 by ASME.
Keywords: Participatory design | Usability | User-centered design
Abstract: Over the past decade, researchers have investigated AR as a promising candidate technology for building advanced interfaces for maintenance personnel. Nevertheless, the low usability of cumbersome hardware, the need to use markers, and the complexity of creating digital content seem to hinder AR's effective implementation in industry. This prototype system aims to demonstrate that you can implement AR to support aircraft maintenance personnel. To meet a daily inspection procedure's operational requirements, the system employs markerless pose estimation. © 2006 IEEE.
Keywords: aircraft maintenance | augmented reality | computer graphics | graphics and multimedia | human-computer interaction
Abstract: The usability of the user interface is a key aspect for the success of several industrial products. This assumption has led to the introduction of numerous design methodologies addressed to evaluate the user-friendliness of industrial products. Most of these methodologies follow the participatory design approach to involve the user in the design process. Virtual Reality is a valid tool to support Participatory Design, because it facilitates the collaboration among designers and users. The present study aims to evaluate the feasibility and the efficacy of an innovative Participatory Design approach where Virtual Reality plays a 'double role': a tool to evaluate the usability of the virtual product interface, and a communication channel that allows users to be directly involved in the design process as co-designers. In order to achieve these goals, we conducted three experiments: the purpose of the first experiment is to determine the influence of the virtual interface on the usability evaluation by comparing "user-real product" interaction and "user-virtual product" interaction. Subsequently, we tested the effectiveness of our approach with two experiments involving users (directly or through their participation in a focus group) in the redesign of a product user interface. The experiments were conducted with two typologies of consumer appliances: a microwave oven and a washing machine. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Participatory design | Product interface design | Usability | Virtual reality
Abstract: One of the open issues in Augmented Reality (AR) applications is certainly related to interaction techniques. In these years many different solutions have been proposed with the intent of providing user interfaces that allow users to interact with the AR environment in a natural and intuitive way. Most of them have addressed the issue of representing users' hands in the AR environment. We propose the use of a commercial and low-cost wireless device to use as input device for AR. This paper describes the integration of this device into an AR application, and some preliminary tests aiming at evaluating the tracking accuracy and precision. In addition, we demonstrate the usability of our system through a preliminary testing session with users. ©2010 IEEE.
Keywords: Multimedia Information Systems|Artificial, augmented, and virtual realities|User Interfaces|Ergonomics|Input devices and strategies|Computer-Aided Engineering|CAD
Abstract: Product designers, in order to create value, need to enrich their understanding of users products experience and the whole set of activities involved in it. Human-Centered Design (HCD) regards with the development of design principles to support product features definition answering to physical, psychological, social and cultural needs of human beings. Usability tests generally allow the investigation of product performance in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and users satisfaction in order to reduce the gap between the perceived and the designed product quality. Main problems concern with the assessment of emotional usability, the identification of product features stimulating affective response and their translation into design requirements. Usability tests are generally carried out only at the end of the design cycle once a final physical prototype has been realized. As a consequence design modifications increase time to market. Instead of traditional CAD-based systems (Computer Aided Design), Virtual Reality (VR) represents new Human-Computer Interfaces that can support the multimodal interaction with virtual prototypes to perform usability tests at the early design stages. The present paper explores the potentialities of VR to support usability testing mainly focusing on emotional aspects. A protocol study is defined to analyze how sample users perceive product attributes determining affordances and synaesthesia qualities. The protocol adopts qualitative and quantitative metrics to objectify users emotional response while interacting with products. It allows correlating product attributes, in terms of materials, shape and aesthetic features combination, with user behavior and product performance. It has been applied in the field of household appliances. Two different experimental set-ups, physical and virtual, have been used to validate the protocol and highlight the main VR technologies drawbacks. Copyright © 2009 by ASME.
Keywords: Human computer interaction (HCI) | Tactile virtuality | Usability | User emotional response | Virtual prototyping (VP)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to establish whether players' perceptions in football competitions played on artificial turf can be influenced by the pitch under examination, the kind of infill material used, the weather conditions and by player's role in the team. A multifactorial statistical analysis was made of the results obtained from over 1600 U.E.F.A. questionnaires completed by amateur footballers. Pitch and weather factors were demonstrated to be relevant to the aspects investigated. Conversely, the players' role and the infill material were significant for only a few aspects; for each variable, the analysis indicated the most favourable conditions. Overall, the analysis provided insight into amateur players' favourable feelings about artificial turf, compared with its natural alternative (actually made of earth, without grass in the case of amateur players). © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Amateur football players | Artificial turf | Ergonomics | Survey
Abstract: The present work deals with the re-designing of a locomotive, according to in force European standards, in the field of active and passive safety. The paper illustrates the use and the management of heterogeneous product information (2D drawings, technical documentation, photos), Virtual Reality tools and digital human models, for the re-designing of a locomotive, using a collaborative approach with a total absence of the reference digital models. The project development has been organised using a top-down approach in a collaborative environment. Finally, by means of the digital prototype of locomotive, a series of aesthetic, functional and ergonomic analyses, in virtual environment, has been performed. © Springer Verlag France 2007.
Keywords: Collaborative design | Ergonomics | Top-downapproach | Virtual reality
Abstract: In the current demanding global marketplace, ensuring that human fit, form and function are comprehensively addressed, is becoming an increasingly important aspect of design and, in particular, obliges the most important automotive industries to develop more flexible assembly lines and better methods for PLM solution. In the meantime, designers attempt to elaborate product development methodologies that conform health and safety standards while still maximizing the productivity. The aim of this work consists in developing a methodology based on preventive ergonomics and feasibility analyses of assembly tasks, simulating a work cell, in which acts a digital human model (manikin), in order to maximize human safety and performance and analyze manikin interaction in the virtual environment. In ergonomic analyses the OCRA protocol will be used, evaluating different involvement degrees of upper limb segments. The methodology is carried out by ergonomic tool of DELMIA software, using Digital Human Models technology. © 2008 International Federation for Information Processing.
Keywords: Digital human models | Ergonomic analysis | OCRA protocol | PLM solution
Abstract: This paper presents an approach to evaluate product ergonomics using virtual humans. This work has been carried out to demonstrate that virtual humans are an important tool to improve virtual prototyping functionalities and, above all, to increase ergonomics and safety of products. A test methodology has been defined and several simulations have been made, varying anthropometry and workplace conditions. Two case studies that can demonstrate the validity of the approach are described. The first concerns instruments of a car for which the geometric model of the interior and a commercial virtual human have been used. The second case study concerns the external visibility of a farm tractor that can be equipped with different tools to accomplish to various tasks (e.g. harvesting and fruit picking). The results obtained are images that represent what the virtual human sees and permit to compare and validate different design solutions.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Internal and external visibility | Virtual manikin
Abstract: Design for Usability (DFU) is a well known concept in computer science, since it refers to an important topic for the Human-Computer-Interaction research community. In the industrial design field this term is not so widely employed although the product usability is considered one of the most important factors for a product to be successful on the market. The importance of usability addresses the relationship between the interface of a product and its users. The success of several products on the market depends on complex interfaces, which require the user's intense interaction. Often such devices, which the designer sees as being extremely efficient, are too complex and incomprehensible to the user. Usability should be one of the peculiar aims of the design, and thus assessed throughout the design itself. It should work on the assumption that final users should be involved during all the phases of the development of a product. The present study proposes a methodology of participatory design based on the user-product interaction in a virtual environment, and developed by involving users in the definition of the interface of an interactive product for household use.
Keywords: Participatory design | Usability | Virtual reality
Abstract: In this work the Authors propose a methodology based on the use of an ergonomic software in alternative to the traditional methods to evaluate muscular-skeletal diseases caused by incongruous postures or conditions of mechanical overload. This methodology allows to simulate, in a virtual environment, both a workplace and a digital human model whose behaviours are similar, from a kinematical and a dynamical point of view, to that ones of a real person. Through the simulation in a virtual environment of an operation of Manual Material Handling (MMH) in a pharmaceutics industry, the Authors have evaluated, in real time, the strengths and the reaction-moments in the axial, sagittal and lateral plane on the L4 and L5 lumbar vertebras and on the shoulder of the workers. In the work the single movements carried out by the operator are analysed using manikins of different percentiles. The results are compared with the ones coming from the use of the traditional methods to evaluate muscular skeletal disease. © PI-ME, Pavia 2005.
Keywords: Digital human models | Ergonomics | Manual material handling | Virtual simulations
Abstract: An important but neglected aspect of virtual prototyping is the interaction between human and digital prototype. This is an essential issue when tests about ergonomics or product safety are required. This paper presents an approach to evaluate product ergonomics and safety based on the use of virtual human and simulations where the human model interacts with the virtual prototype. Two case studies that can demonstrate the validity of the approach are described. The first concerns the instruments and external visibility of a car; geometric model of the interior and a commercial virtual human have been used. We defined a test methodology and several simulations have been made, varying anthropometry and workplace adjustments. The results obtained are images that represent what the virtual human sees and permit to evaluate the validity of design solutions. The second case study regards the ergonomics design of a riveting system and consists of the simulation of operator's tasks using a virtual workstation and a virtual human. The results are the joint angles that define the posture of the operator and permit one to analyse task comfort. This work has been carried out to demonstrate that virtual humans are an important tool to improve virtual prototyping functionalities and, above all, to increase ergonomics and safety of products. Moreover, the second case study demonstrates also that this methodology is today necessary not only in big industry, but in small-medium enterprises too. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.
Keywords: Ergonomics | Safety | Simulation | Virtual human | Virtual prototype
Abstract: A Reverse Engineering- (RE) and Rapid Prototyping- (RP) based approach to (he development of a joystick handgrip with ergonomic features has been elaborated. The integration of Time Compression Techniques and Computer Aided Tools lead to a time-saving procedure for the design of a product whose ergonomic quality directly descends from users' sensations of comfort. The CAD model availability throughout the progressive steps of product development ensured all the potentialities of Concurrent Engineering, while Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) simulation on the definitive geometry allowed to close the Computer Integrated loop to the manufacturing process.
Keywords: Computer Aided Engineering | Design for Manufacturing | Ergonomics | Product Development | Reverse Engineering
Abstract: This paper outlines new trends in geometric modelling, showing how systems are moving from a geometry-based approach to a physically-based approach. The possibility to simulate the actual behaviour of a product is at the basis of Virtual Prototypes that are becoming a common practice in today's product development process. As a consequence, also interaction modalities and techniques have to be improved in order to satisfy new system requirements and functionalities. The research work described in this paper shows how haptic interaction techniques represent an evolution of current interaction technologies providing intuitive and realistic modalities for interacting with virtual applications. In particular, the paper describes a research work we have carried out integrating haptic technologies together with physically-based modelling and simulation techniques. © 2001 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Keywords: Haptic interaction | Human-computer interaction | Non-rigid material modelling | Physically-based modelling | Virtual prototyping
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