January 28, 2020
As the UC Ergonomics Research Lab and Graduate Training Program begins new projects in 2020, and continues with some on-going ones, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the great work that was accomplished in 2019.
Contributing to excellent research in ergonomics has always been an important priority of our program. Overall, there are four areas of research in the lab:
Biomechanical exposures and risk of distal upper extremity MSDs
Dr. Harris continues her PhD and Post-Doc work on the relationship between biomechanical exposures and risk of distal upper extremity MSDs and related disability.
Her latest work focused on the merging of two large datasets from Italy and the US
She is collaborating with two groups to pool data related to the neck and shoulder
Students and colleagues from the MPH and PhD (EHS) programs continue to be involved in these analyses
Wearable technology as an exposure assessment device
Under the leadership of Dr. Harris, the UC Ergo Lab has multiple projects that focus on the development and assessment of wearable technology as an exposure assessment device and/or intervention for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.
Students, Yishu Yan, Hao Fan, and Yibin Li have participated in research that utilizes inertial measuring units and machine learning algorithms to predict occupational physical activity and quantify the magnitude and duration of biomechanical exposures.
Megcheng Wang has been working on using surface electromyography, inertial measuring units and machine learning algorithms to quantify hand posture and pinch/grip force while performing upper extremity tasks of varying exertion, frequency and duration.
Evaluations of tools, wearables, workstations and work methods
A third area of research that provides numerous research opportunities for students include laboratory-based evaluation projects that assess the effectiveness and usability of new tools, workstations, and/or work methods. Current examples include the evaluation of:
Colonoscopy stand for endoscopists (Barr & Shergill)
Exoskeletons for the trunk and shoulder (Prior PhD Students Logan Van Engelhoven & Nathan Poon)
Mice and keyboards during gaming (Student, Guangchuan Li has been )
Hand computer interaction
Student, Guangchuan Li has been working on hand computer interaction such as the design and evaluation of microgestures, a project led by Dr. David Rempel.
Translational research - usability evaluations in the field:
The last area of research, Translational Research, includes the efficacy of interventions by conducting usability evaluations in the field.
How cueing changes sedentary behavior in knowledge workers (Federico Arippa, Athena Nguyen, Matthew Kiok)
How a systems approach influences physical activity among schoolchildren (Judith Okoro)
How exoskeletons can be safely and effectively used in construction (Nancy Guiterrez)
Added 2 seasoned consultants (Melissa Afterman and Meg Honan) to the program who mentor students while providing HFE services for industry and labor organizations (read more in blog post)
Built a new HFE Work Simulation Center providing 1200 square feet of space, including the following (read more in blog post)
Simulated concrete grinding station complete with adjustable height ceiling and wall concrete slabs and force plates
Packaging and assembly workstations
A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Position and Load Test Apparatus for Exoskeletons (PoLoTAE)
Launched a 3-Day Summer Skills Workshop in the HFE Work Simulation Center to teach exposure and risk assessment skills to graduate students and professionals (learn more)
Created a new website and social media marketing campaign to highlight the program, its students and the various opportunities associated with a career in HFE
Added Human Factors in Industrial Design Course (IEOR 170) to coursework. Dr. Harris teaches this mixed undergraduate/graduate course
Continued a professional 6 class 8-week online ergonomics education course series that includes: Fundamentals of HFE (ERG100); Evidence Based HFE Practice (ERG110); Physical HFE (ERG120); Cognitive HFE (ERG130); Prevention through Design (ERG140); Macroergonomics & Systems Approach to HFE (ERG150) (learn more)
Added Cognitive HFE (ERG130) and Macroergonomics (ERG150) to the HFE Core Courses to fill in content gaps and complement internship experiences
Added trainee site visits to a variety of industries including electric auto manufacturing, Google, winery production, fiberglass construction, and biotechnology
NIOSH ERC Trainees Who Completed Training During 2019
Nathan Poon, PhD - Co-Founder of educational startup. Applying Human Factors to education by designing an online service for teachers.
Charles Miller, MS - Environmental Health Sciences. Works as a consultant providing ergonomic services for bay area companies.