Wednesday, November 22, 2006

When the Rice Krispies won't stay in your bowl

Looking at poor ergonomics in everyday products ...

"Anyone who has ever been distressed by the water flow rate of the drinking fountains on campus or has taken issue with the concavity of the cereal bowls in the dorm cafeterias might appreciate a recent contest held by the University's Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

The contest served to uncover the most poorly designed items and fixtures at the University by looking at them from a human perspective.

"When designing an object, you consider the mechanical, chemical or electrical components, but human factors include the people in the equation," said Mike Bauerly, former president of the ergonomics society.

One entry detailed the inconvenience of the metal box that envelops the card swiper outside of Couzens Residence Hall, making it hard to quickly swipe the card. Another documented the multicolored mouse pads in the Duderstadt Center, which cause the optical mice to function poorly. Another entry derided the shape of the bowls in the campus dining halls.

"The bowls work fine for viscous occupants such as applesauce and pudding but do not hold liquids such as soup well," the entry said. "The design flaw with the bowls is that they are not concave enough, resulting in any jostling of the dinner tray spilling the liquid. The angle of the sides is approximately 38 degrees from vertical."    (Continued via Campus Life)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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