Exoskeleton Human Factors

Project: Design and evaluate exoskeletons with consideration for the integrated human-machine system

Exoskeletons are wearable technology that have the potential to provide significant benefits to users, including restoring, enhancing, or extending physical abilities. There are different exoskeleton architectures depending on the goals and tasks the exoskeleton needs to support. Effective performance of the exoskeleton requires a good “fit” between the system and the user.

Human factors engineering considers how to improve system design by considering the human within
the design process, rather than designing a system and then considering the effects on the human after
the design is completed. Human factors engineering aims to make technology work for people by
enhancing safety, human-machine performance, and user satisfaction. The design cycle includes
understanding the mechanical system and the human system (including cognitive and physical
characteristics). In this course you will be introduced to human factors engineering with the goal of
designing and evaluating an exoskeleton. Lectures will introduce key concepts in human factors
engineering and labs will involve hands-on experiments to demonstrate these concepts.

In addition to engineering content, students will learn and practice written and oral communication in
engineering contexts. We will also consider the ethical and social implications of engineering work, and
important ethical considerations for wearable technology.

Please contact Prof. Leia Stirling (leias@umich.edu) if you have questions about this section.