Catalogue of Modules, University of Nottingham

MM4SIM Simulation and Digital Human Modelling
(Last Updated:03 May 2017)

Year  15/16

Total Credits: 10

Level: Level 4

Target Students:  MSc in Human Factors, BEng and MEng Product Design and Manufacture, MSc Human-Computer Interaction, MSc BioEngineering, any 3rd or 4th year student in Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering.

Taught Semesters:

Autumn Assessed by end of Autumn Semester 

Prerequisites: Undergraduate students from M3 taking this module should have a basic knowledge of professional skills from modules such as MM1PRO or equivalent

Corequisites:  None.

Summary of Content:  For Human Factors/Ergonomics work, computers can render digital representations of people with varying characteristics performing a multitude of tasks within simulated environments. Moreover, simulation tools can enable designers, managers and end-users to experience products and systems in realistic, interactive environments. Such advancements have significant cost implications, enabling designs and their implications to be visualised early in the development lifecycle. This module will provide students with the knowledge and skills required to understand and utilise computers as Human Factors tools for modelling people and systems (tasks, interfaces, environments). The module is largely practically-oriented and students will make extensive use of digital human modelling software (e.g. Jack) and the simulation facilities (e.g. car, motorcycle and train simulators) available within the Human Factors Research Group. The syllabus covers: Algorithms and use of avatars for modelling human physical characteristics (e.g. body dimensions, static and dynamic postures); Modelling of perceptual and cognitive variability (e.g. sensory abilities, emotive responses); Virtual reality technologies/environments; Validity of simulators; Presence factors for simulation; Understanding and minimising simulator sickness; Case studies in the use of digital human modelling and simulators as Human Factors tools. Module Web Links:
  • Moodle
  • Method and Frequency of Class:

    ActivityNumber Of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
    Lecture 11 weeks1 per week2 hours
    Practical 11 weeks1 per week2 hours

    Activities may take place every teaching week of the Semester or only in specified weeks. It is usually specified above if an activity only takes place in some weeks of a Semester

    Method of Assessment: 

    Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
    Coursework 1 50 Report (approx. 3000 words) on the use of simulation to aid in the design/evaluation of specific products 
    Coursework 2 50 Presentation arguing for the use of digital human modelling within a specific design context 

    Professor G Burnett

    Education Aims:  This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to use digital human modelling and systems simulation approaches in Human Factors research and design/evaluation work. In addition, the module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental assumptions upon which digital human modelling and simulation tools are based and their primary capabilities and limitations. Consequently, upon completion of this module students will possess the ability to apply such tools effectively in their future project work and/or employment.

    Learning Outcomes:  On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • LO1 Analyse products and workplaces from a Human Factors perspective using Digital Human Modelling and Simulation approaches.

  • LO2 Justify Digital Human Modelling and Simulation approaches as a means of analysing the Human Factors issues for product and workplace design.

  • LO3 Critically appreciate and synthesise information concerning Digital Human Modelling and Simulation from a wide range of sources.

  • LO4 Demonstrate how to use Digital Human Modelling and Simulation tools in a range of case study application areas.

    Offering School:  Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering

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