We are celebrating International Women’s Month at Human Solutions by highlighting the many ways our data is used in product design to make women truly visible. As Caroline Criado Perez points out, in her book “Invisible Women”, the lack of women’s representation in design still persists in many products and designs. All too often critical equipment and protective clothing – and every day clothing, vehicles and building design is engineered around the scaled down hands, feet and body frames of a default human (man) – at the expense of women’s safety, comfort and protection.
Our anthropometric data and simulation software is already used by many of the world’s greatest companies. Name a car maker, and they are probably use our data. However, when you find instances of structural bias in product design – and as you know the bias is everywhere - you can tell people where they can come to ensure that women are visible in every product design.
For over twenty years Human Solutions has developed the world’s largest database of anthropometric data captured by 3D body scanners. These “Avatars” are stored in Avalutions database. Our ergonomic software (RAMSIS) gives vehicle and aerospace designers the ability to place these avatars into virtual simulations of their vehicle design so they can finesse the comfort and safety for people of different sizes and genders. Ergonomic engineers test the usability of critical operating controls and ensure a clear 360 degree field of vision without requiring the operator to move out of position. The software also has modules that can be used in the design of trains, buses, trucks, industrial machinery, airplanes, agriculture and military vehicles.
The data from Avalution is used for the design of uniforms and PPE for women operating in critical environments like doctors, surgeons, firefighters, police and soldiers. For many years women have had to use poor fitting equipment like bullet-proof vests, gun holsters, helmets and combat boots, that were scaled down versions of the unisex design. Women already play a vital role in these forces, despite using poorly fitting equipment, but we do now work with many groups from around the world to address the needs of women who take on these critical roles.
Fashion must follow the body, not the other way round. Our anthropometric data is also used to develop prototypes for consumer goods, fashion and accessories.