Human Factors Engineering Class Tackles Design for Aging

Human Factors Engineering Class Tackles Design for Aging

A human factors class taught by MIT AgeLab researcher Ben Sawyer, which serves as one part of the AgeLab's mission to design and develop technology with older adults in mind, has been featured in MIT News:

Human Factors Engineering: Designing for the Human, a class offered during MIT’s 2018 Independent Activities Period, challenged teams to redesign everyday things for older adults. In a garage-style classroom at MIT’s International Design Center (IDC), teams alternated between lectures by experts in human-centered design and human factors, and hackathon-style brainstorming and building in IDC’s maker spaces.

Judges of the final projects delivered a tie: team Liftoff’s portable, pneumatic, accessible car seat and team SafeSlice’s 3-D food-stabilizing cutting board. Other projects included a voice-activated virtual cooking assistant, an app matching skilled older adults with young adults eager to learn, and a home dashboard shared with caregivers and medical experts.

Ben Sawyer, AgeLab researcher and instructor, explains the popularity of the class, “Reviews told us repeatedly that students knew employers wanted this skill set, but they had not had much exposure,” says Sawyer. “Human factors gives engineers a recognized tool set through which to understand the population their work will help.” SafeSlice’s Evan Brown agrees: “These things apply no matter what you’re designing.”

Read the full story at MIT News.

Descriptions of each student team's project can be found here.