The research and educational programs available at Ohio State provide faculty, staff, and students with exciting opportunities to study state-of-the-art issues in physical ergonomics and biomechanics. Both basic and applied research is conducted, at the Masters and Doctoral level. The educational programs in physical ergonomics and biomechanics are primarily housed in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. However, interdisciplinary efforts often occur with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, other engineering programs, and the College of Medicine.
Within the Institute, individuals study a wide range of physical ergonomics and biomechanics issues in the Biodynamics Laboratory, one of the premier ergonomics labs in the country. Students have the ability to learn about the various joints in the body (e.g., low back, hand/wrist, knee, shoulder) and their:
- Anatomical and physiological characteristics
- Muscle activity patterns (using electromyography)
- Kinematic and kinetic properties
- Tolerances to loading, and
- Susceptibility to injury.
The research program also provides students with a strong knowledge of experimentation, analysis, and biomechanical modeling.
The physical ergonomics program emphasizes the application of this research to real-world problems. Students are able to use their knowledge and apply it directly to occupational settings, with the goal of reducing workplace injuries. Many research studies (which originate in the Biodynamics Laboratory) have involved and continue to require collection and analysis of biomechanical and ergonomics data directly from the industrial environment.
Because of the multi-factorial nature of ergonomics, the Institute for Ergonomics offers a human-centered approach for study. That is, in addition to the physical ergonomic research opportunities described here, the student can expand his or her knowledge of the field by incorporating the cognitive elements of the human-workplace interaction, since the Institute is affiliated with programs in psychology, computer science, industrial design, and physical therapy, to name a few. This affords students the opportunity to tailor their research to their particular interests.