2016 Ergonomics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Industrial Engineering and Economics
Itoh Kenji  Aoki Hirotaka  Gu Xiuzhu 
Class Format
Lecture / Exercise /Experiment     
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Course description and aims

This course focuses on a discipline called ergonomics, especially on a human cognitive aspects-related topics such as perception, mental processes and cognition. This course provides knowledge and basic skills about approaches to/methods of designing human-machine interfaces. Contents covered in this course are divided into four categories: (1) Introduction to ergonomics, (2) human mechanisms, (3) purposes of applications of ergonomics, and (4) applications of ergonomics.
Students will gain knowledge and skills about some of methodologies and typical thinking processes in ergonomics for design of human interfaces.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain the human characteristics related to work design, roughly.
2. Explain the typical methods/thinking processes used in ergonomics.


Man-machine systems, anthropometry, long term memory, short term memory, cognition, workload, fatigue, human error, usability

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

At the beginning of each class, knowledge and basic skills related to the topics are taught. Towards the end of class, students are given experimental tasks/exercise problems related to the lecture given that day. Attendance is taken in every class. This course is held over two academic quarters. The class meets once a week.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance, introduction to ergonomics Understand the overall image of ergonomics.
Class 2 Methologies of ergonomics (Problem solving, methodologies of ergonomics, data collection) Eye tracking experiment Explain the methodologies used in ergonomics.
Class 3 Human musculoskeletal system and motion Anthropometry exercise Explain human musculoskeletal system and its relation to product design, roughly.
Class 4 Human sensory system and perception Visual system experiment Explain human sensory system and perception and their relation to product design, roughly.
Class 5 Human information processing and cognition Hick-Hyman's law exercise Explain human information processing and cognition and their relation to product design, roughly.
Class 6 Memory and knowledge representation Short term memory experiment Explain memory and knowledge representation and their relation to product design, roughly.
Class 7 Workload Flight simulator experiment Explain the concept of workload and its evaluation methods.
Class 8 Fatigue Typing experiment Explain the concept of fatigue and its evaluation methods.
Class 9 Safety 1 (Human error) Incident analysis exercise Explain the definition of human erro and their types.
Class 10 Safety 2 (Risk management and HRA) THERP exercise Explain the concept of risk management and procedures of HRA.
Class 11 Man-machine interface Interface evaluation experiment Explain the concept of man-machine interface.
Class 12 Usability 1 (Definition and measurement) Usability goal setting exercise Explain what the usability is.
Class 13 Usability 2 (Usability design) Rapid prototyping exercise 1 Explain how usability desing is carried out, roughly.
Class 14 Usability 3 (Prototyping) Rapid prototyping exercise 2 Explain the benefits of prototyping in usability design.
Class 15 Usability 4(Usability test) Usability test exercise Explain the procedures of usability test.


None required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Itoh, Kenji. Ergonomics in highly advanced and matured society (Kou-do Seijuku Shakai no Ningen-Kougaku), Tokyo: Nikka-Giren, (Japanese)
Instruction manuals and course materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge of topics in the lecture, and their ability to apply them to exercise/experiment will be assessed. Short quiz 40%, reports 60%.
Full attendance and completion of all experiments are compulsory.

Related courses

  • IEE.C202 : Industrial Engineering
  • IEE.C302 : Quality Management

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites are necessary, but enrollment in the related courses is desirable.

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