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Lecture 3

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Interactive Arts & Tech
IAT 336
Ken Zupan

Human Factors The Form of Function Humanity is unique from all other life forms in that it has mastered its environment through the creation of tools -these tools have evolved in the manner that the form of the object is obedient to the necessities of the function (i.e. form follows function) Adaptive morphology-the evolution of form With humans, there is usually an attempt to accomplish things with the least effort -there is a common direction of all things in general, physical movement toward economy Adaptive morphology or response tends to discard the less economical in energy, form and material in favour of the more successful Adaptive Morphology Example: the common adjustable wrench -the adjustable wrench is really several wrenches in one -rather than fiddling with several sizes of wrench, the user only needs to use one -the one tool is more economical and efficient Less is more Functionality Most successful natural and man-made forms have economy as a common factor An economical form is one that gets the most from the least effort and energy expended, least material, and offers the maximum return of work The Evolution of Tools: Three Factors Discovery E.g. a bone, rock or branch Invention/Intent E.g. the stone or bone was then purposefully turned into a tool by shaping it to the desired form Purposeful Observation E.g. an improvement was made to the tool The Evolution of Tools: Mutation Primary Mutation-creating desirable forms by the interaction with another form E.g. rock breaking another rock Free Mutation-changes that occur through accident or intent to improve the function E.g. the first digging implements were developed through using sticks with branch stubs Cross Mutation-a re-adaptation of one artifact to another E.g. primitive wooden wheel to the jet engine turbine The Evolutions of Tools In antiquity, primary and free mutation accounted for the majority of invention Cross mutation is now the dominant form of change and design evolution today The Human Body as Influence on Tool Evolution The human body itself is a strong determination on tool use, size, and form The actions of hammering, grasping, cutting, and scraping were common movements shared by all humans throughout time -through these actions, humankind has altered the materials of its environment These actions entrail certain kinds of movements such as swinging, twisting, pushing, pulling, and squeezing The hand is a remarkable appendage The lower portion of the forearm consists of two bones, the ulna and the radius The bones are able to twist in their sockets allows a 180 degree rotation of the hand Because of flexible joints in our wrist, elbow, and shoulder with a back and forth twisting motion, simple boring can be accomplished with a hand held tool -this in turn through cross mutation was the genesis of the rotary power tool Rotary Power Tool The hands hold and direct the tool and work the materials, and the arms with the shoulders provide the power The Human Body as Influence for the Design of Tools Consequently, it would be fair to assume that the form of tools have been determined by: -size, mobility, and shape of the human hand -length and strength of the arm -power of the leg -focus and power of the eye and directional vision With these actions thus defined, one could assume that tools would evolve with similar forms when used in conjunction with these actions The Drawbacks of the Human Form For all of its merits, the human form-most especially the appendages that we used to direct our tools has its drawbacks Before the industrial revolution, many cultures especially in underdeveloped or agricultural area had to manufacture most of the goods they used such as furniture, clothing, tools, etc. -these people were generalists, proficient in many tasks but masters of few As well in these societies, variety abounded -a farmer’s hand-made plow might be more function than his neighbours just in its design intent The Drawbacks of the Human Form: The Industrial Revolution With the advent of the industrial revolution, human intervention in the production of good became less and less frequent -one reason for the demise of hand made goods and tools was the unpredictability of hand action As direct human involvement in manufacture becomes less, the level of error is lower for the human hand lacks the precision necessary for accuracy in the repetitive production of goods -the less the involvement of the human hand in the actual production, the greater is the chance for unchanging accuracy Ergonomics and the Product Interface With all of the benefits of mass-production, objects could now be made more complex -ironically it became event as machine interfaces increased in complexity, humans would have increasing difficulty in using them which is certainly evident in modern technology For example, we have all experienced the TV remote than has tens of buttons or car audio/navigation system wit
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