What is Ergonomics?
What is Ergonomics?
  • Reporter Lee Ji-a
  • 승인 2014.09.03 19:02
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People interested in health may know about a chair that makes spine or waist most comfortable. Besides, there are pillows for the curve of neck, and curved mobile phones for people to grip them easily. These are all examples of ergonomics. What is Ergonomics? The Postech Times interviewed Professor Sung H. Han (IME), the President of Asian Council Ergonomics and Design (ACED).
Ergonomics is a kind of engineering that makes system, products, tools or the environment surrounding people more safe, effective and efficient. It is most important to accommodate the machine to human. Various kinds of research has been processing and Prof. Han classified into three major branches.
The first type, physical ergonomics, is the most familiar. It focuses on length and weight of body, force and the range of motion. The examples are included here, as is a flexible side to side TV. The flexible screen makes the same distance between eyes and anywhere of screen so distortion of eyes does not happen and people can enjoy a clearer picture. Ergonomics is not only for special cases. It already pervades normal life. Limited weight of bag in airport was decided by calculating the weight that humans can easily pick up. Also position of radio, arrangement of instrument panel and control room in a nuclear power plant is decided by range of human’s sight and motion.
The Second type of ergonomics is cognitive ergonomics. Because everyone has different language, experience and degree of understanding, depending on the surr- oundings and their age, how to make consumer understand easily is one of the most important things. In the case of mobile phones and computers, they have too many functions and use complex algorithms. But the class of users changed from experts to all generations. So how to deliver and mark information has come to the forefront.
The Last type is affective ergonomics. Although a product has perfect performance, if it has a very ugly appearance, people will not buy it. People put emphasis on its appearance and whether it can satisfy them in its performance. For this trend affective ergonomics has been sharply developed for 20 years. Affective ergonomics focuses on ideas irrelevant with performance to satisfy consumers. Mazda Miata made in Japan was not a sports car, but the sound of the engine and gauge look like the ones in sports car. So people who wanted to buy a sports car could feel satisfaction at a low price. Prof. Han said, “In the near future cars will measure owner’s brainwave and if the owner feels blue, the car could select appropriate music for the owner.”
Apart from the above branches, there are many others branches. How often breaks should be taken in a company, how to use something without difficulty for elderly or child or disabled and even rehabilitation are all ergonomics.
Ergonomics began in the 1940s and various kinds of research has poured from all over the world. Prof. Han said, “The purpose of ergonomics is to make humans live an improved life.  The world runs according to human value. Ergonomics could be developed dramatically, as the required study of modern times. More and more research will prevail.”