Kids Help Curb Motion Sickness in Buick Enclaves
General Motors’ Human Factors group spends a lot of time running tests with adults—you know, people who can actually drive vehicles. But, even though they don’t drive, kids spend a lot of time inside of vehicles too. That’s why the Human Factors group takes advantage of Take Your Child to Work Day by having the children help influence important design decisions.
“Working with children on Take Your Child to Work Day is an excellent way for us to expand our pool of feedback,” said Don Shreves, GM Human Factors engineering group manager.
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Such testing has helped designers prevent, for example, potential motion sickness in Buick Enclaves from watching the DVDs with the rear entertainment display. With the input of children, the DVD screen was placed outside of the “puke zone,” as Buick so eloquently puts it.
“We know through other scientific research that even if our eyes are focused on a fixed point – if we can see the outside passing by in the window – our brain is telling us that we are moving,” Shreves explained. “But if our eyes are at a downward angle and do not see the view outside the vehicle, our bodies become sensitive to motion and increase the chance of sickness.”
At the most recent Take Your Child to Work Day, the Usability team worked with the kids to examine the third-row safety belt buckles, using belts of different angles and stiffness. The participating children had to rate the ease of fastening on a five-point, smiley-face scale.
“Our group and research is very data-driven,” Shreves said. “Designing every element to a vehicle comes down to millimeters. While a door handle placement or seat switch might feel right to the designing engineer, we come in with data points from real consumer feedback, including kids, to help determine the best location.”
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