Customized Seat Development Program
ETC Ergonomists have extensive experience in the testing of seats for the airline and automotive industries. ETC ergonomists have developed statistical models and formulas to objectively quantify seated comfort. These models are used for the purpose of testing prototype seat designs and recommending seat design modifications.
Customized Seat Development Programs are available and widely used by companies to compliment their design process. Typical elements of such a program are described below.
This process often begins with ETC providing basic ergonomic guidelines for consideration during concept development.
When the draft seat concept is made ready (with or without mock-up), ETC reviews the concept and provides detailed comments regarding its compliance to good ergonomic principles. Three-dimensional biomechanical modeling software package MQPro® is often used during this phase to quantify body biomechanics, reach, usability and viewability of different anthropometric subjects. Customer CAD drawings can be imported into MQPro® and then manipulate the humanoid in the seat. This analysis helps to guide the designers and prevents them from progressing with an ergonomically incorrect configuration.
After the initial prototypes are made ready, ETC conducts both subjective and objective testing to validate the design. ETC performs this analysis by collecting test data relating to numerous seat/task variables in a scientifically designed experimental fashion where the user interacts with the prototypical product by performing simulated "real-life" tasks. Collected data usually includes pressure distribution measurements between the body and seat back and pan cushions (also legrest and headrest, if needed), and subjective ratings of comfort and seat feature design variables, through the use of questionnaires and structured interviews. Also contact temperature, vibration, heart rate, EMG, or other information can be collected, if required. Objective data, which quantifies the interrelationship between the seat and the human, is then analyzed to determine the correlation against the subjective findings. Precise recommendations are then made that any noted ergonomic deficiencies in the design can be corrected.
Production Prototype Testing
Pre-production prototype testing follows with ETC re-testing the evolving design. This testing phase validates the design against the ergonomic objectives. Additionally, when validated, this phase can be used to generate marketing and sales support materials. This marketing support data can be provided in a graphical format that enables the clients to clearly see the ergonomic benefits of new products.
Evaluation of production models in tests that simulate "real-life" use is performed to confirm that the seat product satisfies the needs of the user towards comfort, fit and usability.