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Development of a method for assessing the effects of design characteristics on the comfort of handheld devices
Group Members
Charlie Braxton, Daniel Gan, Caroline Horton, Sidonie Satchell, Jagjit Singh, Yee Herng Tan
Professor David Simpson, Dr. Yang Ye
The aim of this project was to design an innovative and cost effective new method of assessing how design features of handheld devices affect ergonomics and comfort; such devices include saws, drills and vacuum cleaners. The comfort of handheld devices is typically attributed to features such as the weight distribution and dimensions of the device. For this project an adjustable model vacuum cleaner was designed where the weight distribution and handle angle could be changed in order to test which configuration provided the best balance, comfort and manoeuvrability.

Two different experimental methods were designed and tested which measured physical performance and perception of comfort during use of the model. The first method utilised Vicon Motion Capture technology combined with stain gauges on the model to capture objective data of movement and forces applied to the device. The second method utilised an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to record movement in place of the Vicon system to test if this could produce similar data in a more cost effective manner. Subjective measures of comfort were recorded for both methods via the means of a bespoke questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed on data sets from both methods to establish how similar the results produced were and to compare the objective and subjective data.
Exploded computational model of prototype
Musculoskeletal model using the Vicon data
Participant in the Vicon motion capture study