Matt Parkinson Photo
Segal Seminar Series

Matt Parkinson

October 13, 2009, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
ITW Classroom (1.350)
2133 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208

Body Size and the Ethics of Design


When we design artifacts, tasks, or environments, we can't accommodate everyone--some people will be unable to use our design in the intended manner. They might be too big, too small, or too weak to achieve the desired performance, fit, or safety. As designers we understand that this is often a necessity and do our best to create designs that are as accessible as possible. However, when we must establish spatial requirements, how do we choose which users to exclude? This presentation will discuss some of those decisions and the results that come from them. In this context, a methodology for exploring the design space and better understanding the relationships between demographics and spatial requirements will be presented.


Dr. Matt Parkinson is an Assistant Professor at Penn State University where he holds joint appointments in Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering. He directs the Engineering Design Program and heads the OPEN Design Laboratory. His research efforts focus on tools and methodologies for the design of artifacts which are robust to human variability (e.g., anthropometry, capability, and preference). He has received several teaching awards, SAE's Teetor Educational Award (2009) and Withrow Distinguished Presenter Award (2008), the ASME DETC "Best Paper Award" (2007) and SAE's Arch T. Colwell Merit Award for "Best Paper of the Year" (2003). He is a special associate editor for ASME's Journal of Mechanical Design and chairs the ASME Design Engineering Division's Student and Early Career Professionals Committee. Parkinson recently received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for activities redefining the foundations of designing for human variability.

Contact Wei Chen at 847-491-7019 or for further questions.