Ergonomics on two-wheels: Where are we heading? – Part 2

Continue from Part 1.

So, where were we?

Yes, if I am not terribly mistaken, we were previously discussing on the ergonomics adjustability service which is provided by our very own local bicycle vendors in Malaysia. As mentioned, a particular bicycle vendor in KL actually provided their customer with the after sales service in customizing their newly purchased bicycle to ‘fit’ best their very own anthropometry. The plan was…yes, the plan *cough* was; for me to actually visits this particular vendor with the interest (not really investigation per se) on identifying the method in which they utilize to ‘fit’ the human operator (cyclist) on the workstation (bicycle). 

It is interesting to note that my postgraduate research was kinda similar to this particular service. In my study, I’d develop a mathematical modelling in order to ‘fit’ human operator on motorcycle i.e. the human operator does not need to be present in order for the ‘fit’ to be identified. Whereas, from the information and photographic evidences provided by my colleague (whose dearest husband purchased a bicycle at the particular store and made the necessary adjustments), for the ergonomics adjustability service to be determined, it was observed that the human operator was actually needed to be present during the entire process. From the photo, he was observed to be seated on the bicycle and certain body angle were determined. 

Interesting isn’t? 

However, yes, however indeed, due to some unavoidable circumstances, really, it was unavoidable; I am still yet to visit the particular bicycle vendor. I’ll soon reschedule to make a proper visit. In the meantime, I would like to share just a little bit of info in regards to bicycling or motorcycling working posture. Although in a glance, we can say that the working postures for bicycling and motorcycling are almost identical, nevertheless, upon close examination, or you just happen to have the opportunity to ride on both modes of transportations; the workstation layout plays a major role with respect to the resulting muscle activity which is needed to practice and hold the bicycling/motorcycling working posture. 

The full results of the investigation on the muscular activity with respect to motorcycling posture will hopefully be presented during the 8th International Conference in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering 2017 (ICME ’17) in Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman (yeay). But, do not be alarmed, we will continue the discussion in regards to the effects of workstation layout on the human operator’s muscle activity in the upcoming newsletter.

Dr. Muhammad Izzat Nor Ma’arof
Senior Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering Department,
Faculty of Engineering and Quantity Surveying,
Persiaran Perdana BBN, Putra Nilai, 71800 Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
INTI International University.

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HFEM-SOCSO Program (4) 2017

Motorcycle Ergonomics is a program organized by HFEM and supported by SOCSO. This program has been successfully held at TM Convention  Center on July 19, 2017. Special thanks to all participants from  Telekom Malaysia for a great support and active participation during the program.
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2nd Asian Conference on Ergonomics and Design 2017

The 2nd Asian Conference on Ergonomics and Design 2017 (ACED2017) presented an ideal opportunity for encouraging scholarly exchange and dissemination of multi- and interdisciplinary sciences of ergonomics and practical application in Asia. Attended by researchers, education scientists, technologists and industry representatives who are experts in this science, this forum became a platform for strategic think tank to enhance a constructive dialogue and collaboration on themes relevant to ergonomics and to present latest research results and application in all areas of ergonomics.

The conference was organized by Japan Ergonomics Society and sponsored by Tateisi Science and Technology Foundation and Chiba Convention Bureau and International Center (CCB-IC). There were about 100 participants and 9 invited speakers coming from 17 countries with some represented by respective societies in ergonomics to participate in keynote, oral and poster sessions of respective themes in ACED, JES and IEA Organized Sessions. Concurrently, the ACED Ergonomics Design Awards in 2017 was also presented to the winners. Malaysia was represented by HFEM, UiTM, MIMOS Berhad, UMP and UPM with total 7 presentations in various technical sessions.

Mr Khairul Nazri bin Abd Wahib from MIMOS Berhad presenting a technical paper titled “Human Factors and Ergonomics Considerations for a Glucose Sensor Device”

There were 2 sessions of IEA Council Meeting held on the 2nd and 3rd day of the conference. Among the discussed matters were:

  • Brief introduction of each societies and its challenges.
  • Supports from federated societies to non-federated associations like SEANES.
  • The need to have joint research projects among Asian countries.
  • Contribution of seed fund to host a conference as well as legal and finance entity to be responsible for the finance.
  • To obtain assistance from IEA for the advancement and improvement of ergonomics societies in Asian countries.
Prof. Kentaro Kotani (ACED Organizing Chair) chairing an IEA Council Meeting

In one of the ACED Organized Symposium: Ergonomics Education; Prof. Andrew Todd talked about why HFE is under exploited. Among the identified reasons are:

  • People are not aware the value HFE can add (no demand)
  • When there is demand, there are not enough high quality HFE practitioners?
  • HFE is small in comparison with established disciplines ( e.g engineering and psychology)
  • Multi-disciplinary nature of HFE with diverse topics and views makes communication with the external world very challenging?

He emphasized that providing high quality HFE professionals who can advocate for themselves through demonstration of financial benefits is key to creating the demand. He also highlighted that education is the cornerstone of HFE development strategy.

Dr. Yushi Fujita (President of IEA) addressing some issues during the meeting. Seen in the picture are Prof. Jose Orlando Gomez (VP of IEA) and Prof. Andrew Todd (IEA International Development Committee Chair)
IEA Executive Committee and attending representatives from federated HFE societies
Prof. Andrew Todd during the Ergonomics Education Symposium

On the last day, Dr. Ng Yee Guan represented HFEM in an ACED/JES Joint Symposium, where he made a presentation on “The Challenges in Establishing the Professional Ergonomist Certification Scheme in Malaysia”.

Dr. Ng also participated in another three oral presentations on behalf of UPM.

The conference was concluded with a banquet dinner and an ACED2017 Design Award Session.  ACED 2017 provided an excellent opportunity to gather together, interact and exchange findings and views during conference sessions, coffee breaks and conference dinner. It was also an opportunity to network with a number of academics and professionals from different countries who have similar research interests such as service design, product design, occupational safety and health.

Prof. Takashi Toriizuka, Chair of the JES Conference giving a speech during the dinner.

Congratulations to UiTM’s Motorcycle Engineering Technology Laboratory (METAL) under the Ergonomics & Workstation Assessment Research Interest Group, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam for being awarded “Best of Best” Award for their product entitled ‘Postura MotergoTM.

Team from UiTM with Professor Dr. Myung Hwan Yun, Chairman of the ACED2017 Ergonomic Design Awards

HFEM hopes the conference will inspire other HFE communities in Asia to be more active in promoting HFE in their respective countries as well as at the international stage, especially in Asia.