Virtual prototyping in evaluation of human factors and ergonomics of human-machine systems: Dissertation

    Research output: ThesisDissertationMonograph


    Industrial work is evolving due to the digitalisation and complexity of the systems. This creates challenges for workers in performing their work tasks well, and with their well-being considered. These challenges can be addressed by investing in improving issues in human factors/ergonomics (HFE) during the design of humanmachine systems. In recent years, the use of virtual prototyping (VP) has increased in the product development process due to the matured and low-cost technologies. In addition, VP has proven to be useful in the design of work systems targeted at users. However, the design and use of virtual prototypes to support HFE evaluation is not a simple task. It is important to enhance the understanding of this topic, and to adopt systematic approaches in the use of VP in HFE evaluation. The goal of the thesis is to understand how to use VP in HFE evaluations when designing human-machine systems. The research of this thesis belongs to the field of HFE but it also contributes to the human-computer interaction (HCI) discipline by enhancing the understanding of digitalization and emerging new technologies in a work context. A case study approach was adopted for the research: six case studies were investigated and all of them were related to VP use in the evaluation of HFE. Case studies included topics such as suitability of virtual prototypes to support HFE evaluation, benefits and challenges of the use of VP in HFE evaluation, a systematic preparation of VP design reviews, and systematic deployment of VP in companies. Mainly qualitative data analyses were used, but quantitative measures were also applied. The thesis identifies critical issues related to VP use in HFE evaluation, and proposes an HFE/VP model. The model guides design engineers and research scientists through the critical steps when using VP in HFE evaluation. It supports the deployment of VP for company use, and provides instructions for designing VP systems to be used in HFE evaluation. The model proposes an HFE approach that can be adopted during VP. In addition, the understanding of key benefits and challenges of the use of VP in HFE evaluation are identified. This thesis contributes to both the research community and industry: the HFE/VP model includes practical and theoretical contributions that can be used when researchers are studying the use of virtual prototypes, and in industrial companies during product development. In research, the contribution of this thesis is in the intersection of the research fields of HFE/HCI and virtual reality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Tampere University of Technology (TUT)
    • Väänänen, Kaisa, Supervisor, External person
    • Kaasinen, Eija, Advisor
    Award date6 Apr 2018
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Print ISBNs978-951-38-8625-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-8624-0
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2018
    MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


    • Human factors and ergonomics
    • virtual prototyping
    • Human-centered design (HCD)
    • human-machine systems
    • industrial work systems


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