Sweden: A leader in human-centred design and technology.
As we know, Sweden is an innovative and trending developer when we talk about new technology to make life easier and sustainable. Sweden invests at least 3% of its growth domestic product (GDP) in research and development, especially in the Green technology and life science field, where companies excel in making new features for humans and the planet. Sweden became a prosperous innovative country leader from a poor agricultural nation because they focus on education among the people, having a quarter of the population higher education. Also, some believe that extreme weather helps thinkers develop their minds, making creative innovations as people stay longer in their houses when it is dark and cold.
The government forms agencies to gather researchers, the public sector and enterprises to develop innovative projects, identify relevant needs and create common goals to take society into a more sustainable future and always think in advance of human amenities. The following paragraphs show examples of innovative technology based on human-centred design.
Designing a new vehicle includes inputs from different disciplines like designers, body engineers, chassis engineers, powertrain engineers, manufacturing engineers, product planners, market researchers, ergonomics engineers and electronics engineers. Together they develop the best experience for the user when driving a vehicle. The ergonomic engineers are the ones who follow the vehicle development to detect design imperfections: from the car's production to the last stage, when the final customers drive the vehicle, research methodologies must be followed.
Ergonomics at the product development stage in the industry is about prevention strategy or work-related injuries and illness among employees during new product manufacture.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Ergonomics refers to the scientific study of people and their working conditions, primarily done to improve effectiveness.
The ergonomic design aims to improve four areas: comfort, performance, satisfaction and safety. Ergonomics is about making the spaces and things used to model the human body instead of the human body adapting to space. Through research methods, ergonomics maximises health and well-being by improving the designs of daily-use items.
The Adoptive project (Application for Automated Design & Optimisation of Vehicle Ergonomics) is a conjunction project with the University of Skövde, Volvo Group, Scania, CEVT and Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics (FCC), inside the SAFER (Vehicle and traffic safety centre at Chalmers) (an open research arena for developing new ideas). The Adoptive project began in 2021 and ends in 2024. Its objective is to study the behaviour of a human being's physical body inside a vehicle. The project develops a methodology that analyses the ergonomics of vehicles and crashes car impacts with simulation tools using virtual driving tests by a family of manikins and virtual human bodies—giving, as a result, an accurate optimisation of the vehicle interior geometries and design options for car ergonomic improvements.
Human Factors Engineering (HFE) is the human knowledge consideration when designing a product or space. If Human Factors are considered during the design process, disastrous consequences can be avoided since the products and areas will be created with the user in mind and work intuitively. It is relevant to consider the physical factor and cognitive factors. The Physical aspect has to be evaluated on how design helps people to do things, answering some questions, for example: Can people maintain good posture? Is there space to handle tools and equipment? etc. The cognitive factor to think if the design helps the users make the right decisions, answering questions like: Can people see what they need to? The position of controls and displays is adequate? etc.
The effective use of Digital Human Modelling (DHM), computational modelling and simulation tools from the inception of the design (considerating Human Factor Engineering) have become standard for modern product development; because they reduce time and cost and show different what-if scenarios early in design.
In 2014, partners from academia, research institutes and industry in Sweden: Global Industrial Development, Scania CV, Södertälje, Product and Production Development, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, School of Engineering Science, University of Skövde, Skövde, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics, Gothenburg, Production Technology Centre, Innovatum, University West, Trollhättan, developed a Digital Human Modelling (DHM) tool called IMMA (Intelligently Moving Manikins). The goal of the IMMA was to create a digital human modelling tool with a mannequin motion generator that was easy to use and displayed the simulation of the workplace as well as the components of a vehicle to make it ergonomic and easy to use.
Technological advances are increasingly leading to the creation of innovative products that make life more comfortable and easier for people. Suppose you are a person whose imagination flies to unimaginable places and focuses on creating and developing products and services for a sustainable and innovative future. In that case, Sweden has a spot for you. Start your journey with Iknal Semikan.