The laboratory cooperates with industry partners who seek expertise in human ergonomics, movement physiology and biomechancis. We have conducted the human testing portions of federally funded and industry sponsored studies that developed new health and saftey products, new tools to record human motion, or new product designs for the sport industry.
Below you find an example of a product usability study that we conducted for a major car seat manufacturer. The study was financed in part through a grant by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Testing of a new child car seat design
In-lab human testing
In this project we performed lab and field testing of a new fastensing mechanism to secure child car seat to the rear passenger seat of a car. A common concern with traditional car seat designs has been that the fastening mechanism is very cumbersome and difficult to perform for the installer. In addition, if the installation was not performed properly the child seat would not be tightly secured to the passenger seat, potentially compromising the safety of the child.
In the laboratory we obtained measures of a participants arm pulling strength, and their neck and trunk flexibility, because these biomechnical variables are good determinants of an adult's ability to install a child car seat.
Preparing for field testing
Using electrogoniometers we measured hip and neck angles during the actual child seat installation. In addition, we recorded muscle activity of lower back muscles to obtain a measure of potential low back muscle strain. Here an experimenter attaches the goniometers and a telemetric EMG unit to a participant.
Participants performed several trials installing a traditional car seat and the new design. Next to the kinematic and electrophysiological data all trials were recorded by digital video.