Anthropometric diversity and consideration of human capabilities : Methods for virtual product and production development

Abstract: Contemporary product and production development is typically carried out with the support of computer tools where the design of products and workstations are originated and evaluated within virtual environments. Ergonomics addresses factors important to consider in the product and production development process to ensure a good fit between humans and the items being designed. Digital human modelling (DHM) tools enable simulations and analyses of ergonomics in virtual environments. Anthropometry is central when using DHM tools for product and production development to ensure that the design fits the intended proportion of the targeted population from a physical perspective. Several methods have been prescribed to consider the anthropometric diversity that exists within human populations. Still many DHM based simulations in product and production development processes are done with approaches that are poor in representing anthropometric diversity. Hence, there is a need for better tools and methods that would support DHM tool users to more effectively and efficiently consider anthropometric diversity in the design process.In this thesis current methods for anthropometric diversity considerations have been reviewed and new methods and functionality have been developed and implemented in a DHM tool. Mathematical models have been developed to consider three specific parts important to the consideration of anthropometric diversity: generation of suitable test cases, prediction of missing anthropometric data and implementation of more diverse anthropometric variables such as strength and flexibility. Results show that the proposed methods are accurate and advantageous compared to approaches often used in industry today. The mathematical models for generation of suitable test cases and prediction of missing anthropometric data have been implemented in an anthropometric software module. The module has undergone usability testing with industry DHM tools users. The developed anthropometric module is shown to answer to relevant needs of DHM tool users and fit into the work processes related to DHM simulations and ergonomics analyses utilised in industry today.