A recent thread on Reddit proclaimed:
I don't know who designed this chair but they are the devil. I'd like to sit and wait for the train without developing scoliosis.
The discussion in the thread seems to settle on a number of things about the design:
- the chair is not aesthetically pleasing
- the designer wanted to make a chair that people would only sit on if they really had to, an elderly person who was tired for example, and
- the chair would not be comfortable to sleep on so that people would not loiter in the train station
- it may be part of a public art installation
As a designer, it's good to create things that generate discussion. It's preferable that the dicsussion is positive and that what you have created is a deemed as useful and beneficial to the target audience.
The Autodesk Research Ergonomics Group wants to help you make things that are well received for their human factors. The Ergonomics Group aims to put the human at the centre of the design process. Whether you are creating something as large as a community, an office, house or factory, a vehicle, a handheld tool, a shoe or as small as a medical device that might correct a fractured bone, torn muscle or blocked artery, designing these things with human ergonomics in your toolset will help.
Considering the variety of scales that humans operate at, from very small with blocked arteries all the way up to very large when placed in a community, the Ergonomics Group is researching the navigation and visualization of multiscale datasets. In thinking about this scale, one example of the kind of things the group is looking at is called Splash. Splash helps to keep some representation of the dataset available and running in real-time so that you can always work in context.
The data used in the Splash example may not look exactly like a human. If you combine this framework with the model being pursued by the Parametric Human Project it may make more sense.
The Parametric Human Project brings together industry and academic experts to create a fully functional, data-driven, digital human model. Working from the inside outwards, project members have captured high resolution scans of bones and the tissues that cover and connect them.
Is this digitally designed chair comfortable?
Comfortable is somewhat subjective but for a chair could include things like:
- Does it prevent fatigue and support good posture?
- Is it free of awkard pain points?
- Are the arm rests positioned well or sufficiently adjustable?
- Is it easy to get in and out of?
- Could you write an exam to join a secret organization that supervises extraterrestrial lifeforms while sitting in this chair?
One of the best ways to determine that today is to build or print a physical prototype. As good as a solution as that it, it can be both time consuming and costly. Prototypes are often designed to test certain product qualities like so you may need multiple prototypes to test things like:
- Is the chair strong enough to support an average adult?
- Is this combination of foam and fabric aesthetically pleasing and comfortable?
The Parametric Human Project is welcoming new contributors who may help in a variety of ways - from doing research to providing equipment and funding - please join in if you can.