IE 546, Human-Machine Systems Engineering

Study Questions for Chapter 5,
"Human Physical Charateristics",
in Chapanis' Human Factors In Systems Engineering

Answer at least seven of the following questions.

  1. What are the factors that contribute to individual differences in people?  For at least three of them, give examples of how they affect human physical characteristics, capabilities, or limitations.

  2. Why is it inadvisable to design for the "average person"? Give at least two reasons.

  3. Why might an engineer who is not trained in human factors principles and methods be a poor designer of a human-machine system (HMS)?

  4. The author describes Three Basic Design Options on pp. 158 - 159.  For each, give an example of how it might be applied to the design of your IE 546 HMS and the limitation(s) of such an application.

  5. List at least three body dimensions relevant to the design of your IE 546 HMS and, for each,  explain how you might use it.  At least two of the dimensions should be from Table 5.3 (pp. 158 - 159).  At least one dimension should not be from Table 5.3.

  6. What other human physical or sensory characteristics, capabilities, or limitations (i.e., not body dimensions) would be relevant to the design of your IE 546 HMS?

  7. What type of fatigue, central or peripheral, would be most likely to be a human performance limiting factor in the operation of your IE 546 HMS?  Explain.

  8. Explain how the following environmental factors might be relevant to the design of your IE 546 HMS: temperature/humidity, noise, vibration/acceleration, illumination.

  9. The author lists three basic methods for controlling noise on p. 189.  For each, give an example of how it could be applied in the environment in which your IE 546 HMS is to be used and give at least one problem that could arise from that application.

  10. Explain how biological rhythms and work schedules can interact to affect human performance in one of the following domains: aviation, healthcare, or manufacturing.

Revised 12 April 2010