Understanding the latest research in skin tribology
42 Technology recently attended an IMechE seminar on the tribology of skin. The event covered the very latest research in skin tribology in areas as diverse as shaving, medical surgery and packaging design.
The behaviour of skin varies enormously from person to person, changing with age, hydration and of course depending on the body location. Recognising that these differences exist is the first step to designing products that are suitable for different users.
Understanding the properties of skin has been crucial to 42 Technology in the development of medical devices that come into contact with or pierce the skin. But it has also been important in the design of consumer products and packaging to make them more functional and appealing to the end user.
Another area of research discussed at the seminar was that of object perception and handling. The process of gripping and controlling an object begins before a person has grasped it – with how they perceive themselves holding it. The design of the object should take into account this cognitive stage to improve usability. Physical and cognitive impairments are relevant to an increasing proportion of the population and make object handling a key consideration in the design of most consumer products.
At 42 Technology we are intimately aware of the importance of inclusive design and design for usability. As well as applying these principles to consumer products that will be used by a diverse cross section of the population, we are currently using them to increase operator comfort and throughput in a precision assembly process.