Virtual Fit Multivariate Anthropometric Tool

A new tool developed for HFES simplifies analysis of multivariate anthropometric accommodation

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A common design problem when using anthropometric data to specify product dimensions is to estimate what percentage of users a given combination of dimensions will fit. For example, what percentage of the user population will a chair seat fit if it is 381 mm (15 inches) wide, 305 mm (12 inches) deep, and adjusts in height between 382 mm and 559 mm (15 to 22 inches)? A multivariate analysis is required to provide an answer, but performing such an analysis can be challenging.

A new anthropometric spreadsheet developed for HFES by Drs. Matt Parkinson and Matt Reed greatly simplifies that analysis for designers or others interested in knowing what percent of the North American users will be accommodated by a given set of measurements. The new tool is known as the Virtual Fit Tool (VFT).

The population data were created by reweighting detailed US civilian measurements from the CAESAR anthropometric dataset and a recent University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) study to match overall distributions of stature, body weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI) by gender in National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey (NHANES) 2011-2014. Virtual Fit Testing is the process of evaluating a design using each member of a relevant population.

The Virtual Fit Test is conducted by comparing the dimensions of a workstation design to pertinent anthropometric variables. The percentage of the male and female population who meet the specified one- or two-tailed accommodation criteria are calculated for each variable, and the overall accommodation is computed across all variables using the specified gender mix.

To use the VFT, the user enters prospective measurements for a given anthropometric dimension, for example, seat height, into the corresponding spreadsheet cell or cells. Depending on how the data are entered, the spreadsheet returns an estimate of the percent of users greater than, less than, or the percent of users whose measurements are in the specified range for that particular variable. If dimensions are entered for two or more variables, the spreadsheet estimates the percent of users concurrently accommodated on all the variables. percent accommodation for each variable as well as for each individual variable.

The VFT provides product designers and consumers a user-friendly tool with which to evaluate the anthropometric fit between intended users and the physical dimension of products.