Human factors engineers and ergonomists design objects, facilities and environments to optimize human well-being as well as overall system performance, applying theory, principles and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technology. Students at the University of South Florida Polytechnic, who are members of Poly Ergo - the school's engineering club - have the opportunity to apply their skills in real-world situations.
Each year, Poly Ergo enters the Ergonomics Design Competition for Student Teams. Past groups have received notoriety at the contest, such as honorable mention. To qualify, teams must pass the preliminary competition. Students are given eTools - ergonomics job analysis software - which they must use in addition to academic training to create a solution for a dilemma. Then, finalists are tasked with completing a 48-hour project.
Past teams have faced challenges such as evaluating the ergonomics of a wedding photographer. Students were asked to consider long workdays, repetitive motions and office ergonomics during photo editing. The final contest asked participants to evaluate the preparations that must be made to a major college football field before a home game.
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