Hi everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying your day so far. I have had a great couple of weeks getting back into my routine at USC. I cannot believe it is already half way through September! Time really flies when you are busy and having fun. Today, I wanted to focus on telling you a little bit about a class I have been enjoying this semester. It is my ISE 370 class which focuses on Human Factors in Work Design.
This morning I just submitted a design project for this class. I was asked to find an object that I find awkward or difficult to use and propose ways to make it better. I chose to do my project on the ice and water machine in my sorority house. It has a very simple layout as shown in the picture below. I found several places of difficulty. For one, the sensor that triggers the water and ice to be released is very small and difficult to find. It also has a delay in stopping the release of ice which causes it to get on the user’s hand and the exterior of the cup. In addition, the funnel has a large diameter which proves to be a challenge for cups with smaller diameters. There is also no way of knowing which selection has been made (ice and water, just ice, or just water). To fix these problems, I proposed that the sensor is eliminated and a button or trigger is put in its place. That way there is a real time response to the release of water and the user does not struggle searching for the sensor. I also proposed that small lights are added next to the three button options to show which has been selected. Thirdly, I suggested that a narrower funnel be implemented to allow for use by smaller cups. This simple design project got me thinking in an ergonomics perspective. Now, I have started noticing little things around me that could be redesigned more efficiently.
Another component of this class is the lab section. During my lab section this week, it focused on the topic of anthropometry which takes into account the average percentiles for different body measurements in design. For instance, a designer must consider the 95th % tile of the population for height when designing a vehicle. In my lab, I took my own measurements and applied these to the formation of an ideal cab. I also was challenged to design a garden that handicap accessible. I had to take into account different measurements, including the wheel chair width, turn radius, and lateral reach of the user. These elements all helped me determine the best placement of pathways through the plants in the garden, location of entrances and exits, and ways to make all areas accessible.
I now am working on a term paper about cell phones for the elderly. I am going to take into account several different human factors including hearing and mobility issues. I am going to evaluate current devices and propose solutions to better these. I am anxious to see what I learn from researching this topic. Stay tuned for the results! Have a great rest of the week! Fight on!