Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ergonomics (Product description and Idea Trigger)

Product: Shoe Brush

i) Describe the product.

The product is a blue shoe brush with two ends. Both ends can be used to brush the shoe. The end with more bristle is normally used to cover a larger area on the shoe. The opposite end would then be used to cover a smaller area more finely. At that end, there is a hole for one to hand the product. There is no grip on the brush, so friction cannot be increased, and the brush will slide when one uses it. However, there is a curve for a grip closer to the area with more bristle. The bristle itself is hard and thick to scrub dirt off shoes with harder textures.

ii) What are the design considerations when designing this product?

• How is the product used?
• What could be done to increase to effectiveness of the product?
• Which design could be best used to lessen the time used, but with better results?
• How does one grip onto the product when using it?
• How can the texture be changed, so that the user has more comfort and ease?

iii) Would an elderly faced difficulty using this product? If yes, what are the difficulties that the elderly would face?

Yes, the elderly would face difficulty when using this product.

• Firstly, the brush does not have a good grip for one to grip on. The brush would keep sliding with recurring use. This would become a problem for the elderly, as they would need to exert more force when they are already quite weak.

• The end with less bristle can have a grip on its own, because that way it would be easier to use that side, instead of the one with more bristle.

iv) What do you think can be done to improve on the design of the product to suit the elderly? (Sketch the improved design in your sketchbook and take a picture of it. Post the improved sketch at the end of your post.)

The product can have a grip included, so that there is friction, to stop the brush from sliding.

Another grip could be made for the smaller and finer end.

Ergonomics 2

1. What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of a person's work place, which includes any place a certain person goes to. (For example, children's work place is the playground, school etc.)

2. What are the 5 aspects of Ergonomics?

The 5 aspects of Ergonomics are:

Ease of Use
Productivity / Performance


3. For each aspect of Ergonomics, explain with an example of a product that is designed for the elderly, how the product meet that particular aspect of Ergonomics.


Find-A-Light reflective glow-in-the-dark switchplate


 3 Way Easy Opener assistive kitchen product

This kitchen product opens bottle caps, pull tabs, and open box tops. This product helps the elderly, so that instead of opening it themselves, the texture of the opener would comfort them.

Ease of Use

Talking Caller ID Amplified Telephone with vocal read out of names and numbers

This phone has a voice read-out that tells the elderly of the number calling and the name. This makes it easy to use for most of the elderly population.


Squeezit Hand Exerciser

This hand exerciser lets any elderly squeeze it to strengthen hand muscles. It is also very durable, which can last forever.


100% Cotton Terrycloth Bathrobe

This bathrobe is for people with arthritis, and it is made very simply and beautifully of silk cotton.

Elderly Challenge - Observation 2

 (I sincerely apologize, but without my phone, I really cannot take any photos)

In HDB Flats, with some without lifts, the stairs is a big challenge for most of the elderly. They would have to take their time, about 5 minutes to walk up or down one floor.

The stairs could then also become a safety hazard. Especially escalators. If the elderly would accidentally lose balance, they would tumble down the stairs. And with stairs it would not be easy to keep the balance of their body the same.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 1

(I sincerely apologize, but without my phone, I really cannot take any photos)

Sometimes, when I see stairs leading up to a hawker centre (like the one in Bedok Market Place), I feel that the elderly would have a lot of trouble going up what seems like 1 floor.

When they go up, they go slowly. Like stepping one step at a time, so that it is safer for them.

The architectural design could have had a lift included. Hence, the elderly would not have to really walk up and down stairs.

For those common neighbourhood hawker centres, we see the different ways the help wheelchair-bounded people. Sometimes, there is a slight slope. Sometimes, there are bigger steps to help the people lifting wheelchairs.

Ergonomics 1

The first scene shows the two men taking off their coats. Let us call the one on the left "White", and the one on the right "Black", based on their coat and suit colour.

1. Compare the 2 different workplaces, state your observations.

By looking at the overview after the men taking off their coat, we see that White's desk is more bulky and cluttered, and Black's desk is much tidier, and with a simpler design.

Ergonomic Issue # 1: Comfort and Simplicity

White's chair has a fixed armrest, which makes his hands difficult to adjust according to the situations needed, like for laptop use. His arms are fixed, unless he moves himself out, and in again. It would also seem that he has trouble adjusting himself for the chair.

Black's chair, "The Liberty Chair", has a much simpler design. The lever in which is used to adjust the height is easily found, and within reach. The chair seems to have a lean-back function, which allows the user to lean back and bend the chair according to his needs. Although it might be dangerous if it works on a lever design, it is a good way to keep the design simple and easy to understand (for new users).

Ergonomic Issue #2: Incorrect Height and Depth

White is unable to lean forward a lot, because of his chair. He squints at the screen in front of him, showing us that it is difficult to look at the fixed PC monitor. He evens expands the actions by using a magnifying glass.

Black, and his "M7 Monitor Arm", shows him being able to adjust the screen's height and distance according to his needs. If he wanted it to come closer, he can just pull it towards him. This way, he doesn't need extra optic aids.

Ergonomic Issue #3: Task Lighting

White's lights are those old table lamps, which seems to creak each time he moves them. The lamps are glaring, as shown by White squinting whenever he turns on one lamp. By wearing dark goggles, he also shows how glaring the light is.

Black's "Diffrient Lights" is adjustable to suit the users needs, like for writing, or the use of laptops or PCs, as shown by him moving the lights up and down. The light has a soft feel to it, so perhaps it might have adjustable brightness too.

Ergonomic Issue #4: Freedom of Movement

White fidgets a lot, and has to move his chair a lot too. His arms are cramped and "stuck" to the table. He does not seem to have a comfortable area to move around. His coffee cup is also difficult to reach and grab hold of. The chair even had its armrest broken.

Black, with the freedom chair, has a wide range of space to move about. His chair's armrest could be moved up and down very easily. He is also able to lean back on the chair without falling.

Ergonomic Issue #5: Prolonged Laptop Use

White has trouble looking at the laptop screen from his high chair. He has to flip the laptop up and down, and still cannot have a good view of the laptop screen. He twitches his face to show that he has very cramped neck. He even has to lift his leg on the table to be able to see the laptop screen clearly. He solves the problem by stacking the laptop on two files.

Black, and the L2 Laptop Holder, has a good place to place the laptop, which is adjustable.

Ergonomic Issue #6: Usable Desk Space

White has a lot of things on his desk, and has to search for things there. It is easy for him to accidentally topple something over. With so little space, he even knocked down his coffee cup. He does not even know where to place the keyboard anymore.

Black, with the Access Rail, has a larger and cleaner desk space. Everything can be placed on the access rail itself.

2. Which workplace is preferred? State with reasons why one workplace is preferred over the other.

Black's space is preferred for its space and simplicity. It is clean, and has a place for everything.

3. What are the considerations that should be taken into account when designing a workplace that is suitable for the user?

The user's comfort, space, how suitable it is to the user's working environment.

4. Why do you think that Ergonomics is important when designing?

Ergonomics allows us to have a good and clean idea of what the designers need to look out for, avoid, and improve.