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Ergonomic design aid for hand-held products

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conference contribution
posted on 2015-09-28, 08:47 authored by Keith Case, R. Harwood
As modern consumer products reduce in size and gain in technology there is an increasing need for ergonomic design. Additionally, ergonomics in manufacturing is increasingly an issue due to problems with the postural impact on work tasks (for example strain injuries). Traditional design practices may consider ergonomics at the later stages of design, but by then heavy investment may have already been committed to the design or manufacturing planning, reducing the impact of any ergonomic decisions. Attempts are made to address this ergonomics implementation problem through three-dimensional computer modelling of the hand. The hand’s biological structure is first explored and simplified before application of biomechanical principles. Anthropometric data is combined with biomechanical methodologies so that an internal bone structure can be fully defined dimensionally. Modelling this bone structure is seen to be extremely complex and a simplified model is produced that represents the major characteristics of the link and joint system. Skin has been modelled over this skeletal structure through surface modelling based on point cloud data obtained from a three-dimensional scanner. Articulation of the joints of the hand are explored through use of the mechanism facilities of the underlying CAD modeller (Unigraphics) and by methods relying more heavily on user interaction. The hand model integration with the CAD system allows the ergonomic evaluation to be carried out as part of the normal design process and examples of this in mobile phone and drinks’ can design are provided as a case study.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Twenty-first International Manufacturing Conference, IMC21 'Servicing Manufacturing', the Proceedings of the Twenty-first International Manufacturing Conference, IMC21


667 - 674 (8)


CASE, K. and HARWOOD, R., 2004. Ergonomic design aid for hand-held products. IN: Phelan, P. (ed.). Servicing Manufacturing: the Proceedings of the Twenty-first International Manufacturing Conference, IMC21, University of Limerick, Ireland, 1st - 3rd September 2004. Limerick : Department of Manufacturing & Operations Engineering, University of Limerick, pp.667-674.


Department of Manufacturing & Operations Engineering, University of Limerick


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a conference paper.




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University of Limerick, Ireland

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