So, um, how big is your....kneecap?
July 11, 2012 6:05 AM   Subscribe

Say I'm an industrial designer (I'm not), and I have to design a car seat, desk chair, climbing harness, body armor, or some other piece of equipment that has to be able to interact with a whole bunch of differently-shaped humans on a regular basis. What resource do I use to find out things like average foot width, or average knee circumference, average jaw length, or any other specific anatomical measurements?

I'm looking for some sort of online resource that has a whole bunch of data on human anatomical dimensions, preferably broken down by age group and gender. Bonus points for resources that are actually used in design/ safety applications.

(Note that nobody's safety hinges on the hive mind's ability to answer this question)
posted by cirgue to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Stuff like this? That example comes from Architectural Graphic Standards -- there are other books like it, but that might give you some good search terms.
posted by theodolite at 6:11 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite one of these (because it's made more or less for a layerpson, which I am) is The Measure of Man and Woman: Human Factors in Design. Lots of drawings and measurements answering questions like "If you want to make a seat that will fit 90% of everyone, what size does it have to be?" sorts of questions. Lots of photos and lots of breakdowns by age/gender/etc.
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 AM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: All my industrial engineering friends use anthropometric databases, like this one for Dutch people. Note that the Dutch people are taller but a little lighter than US citizens.
posted by Psychnic at 6:39 AM on July 11, 2012

Best answer: Industrial designers would typically use ANSI standards that are available in documentation and CDs. Like any such standards they are not available on the internet only in book forms. Check your local university library.
posted by JJ86 at 8:37 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The US Military has a lot of data they've collected over the decades for creating equipment and ergonomic standards.

Here's an example from the US Air Force (whom I think did most of this research back in the early days).
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:40 AM on July 11, 2012

In the past I've used the "NASA anthropometric source book". Google it.
posted by doctord at 4:29 PM on July 30, 2012

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