Scientific Information Used in Ergonomics
Ergonomists use scientific data from anthropometry, biomechanics, work physiology, and psychology to learn about people's capabilities and limitations.
This is a science that studies the dimensions of all our body parts so that products, furniture, and workstations can be designed to fit different sizes of people. It measures all our dimensions and makes recommendations about how to best apply that information.
For example, it would be used to determine the best height for a child's backpack so it can fit the child's back length.
This is a science that studies how our muscles and skeleton react when we use various forces and weights on them. It uses the laws of physics and engineering to describe the motion and the force that act on a body part.
For example, with biomechanical data the ergonomists can decide if the movements the arm and shoulder must make when lifting a heavy backpack and swinging it on the back puts too much stress on the muscles, joints, and skeleton. Also, they can decide if the weight of the backpack creates a risk for injury to the arm, the shoulder, and the back. Do you think this backpacker's arms, shoulders, and back would start hurting?
This is a science that studies how our bodies react when they are doing different types of work and exercise. It studies information about what type and how much activity different systems in our bodies can endure before they get overworked and tired or fatigued. The systems are blood circulation, breathing, digestion of food, and muscle activity.
For example, physiology can measure how much energy the body must use when you are walking around carrying a heavy backpack. This climber uses a lot of energy, especially if the backpack is very heavy, too.
This is a science that studies how our minds work and how we behave. It investigates how our senses work and how attention and motivation affect our performance and behavior. It studies how we think and how we solve problems. Psychology also researches how we develop from infancy to adulthood and how our emotions play a role in what we do and in the decisions we make. The ergonomists use psychological data to make sure what is designed does not overwhelm our minds and behavior.
For example, they design the backpack so that it is easy for a young child to understand how it is used. And, it is very important to make it look "cool!"