The application of generative algorithms in human-centered product development

Urquhart, Lewis and Wodehouse, Andrew and Loudon, Brian and Fingland, Craig (2022) The application of generative algorithms in human-centered product development. Applied Sciences, 12 (7). 3682. ISSN 2076-3417 (

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Algorithmic design harnesses the power of computation to generate a form based on input data and rules. In the product design setting, a major advantage afforded by this approach is the ability to automate the customization of design variations in accordance with the requirements of individual users. The background knowledge, intuition, and critical judgement of the designer are still essential but are focused on different areas of the design process. Thus far, little research has been applied directly to the problem of ergonomics in generative design. In this paper, we review the relevant literature in generative design, topology optimization, and computational design in order to describe the ways in which algorithms can be incorporated into the design process from a human-factors perspective–design tailored around human anatomy and usability requirements. We then develop a model for approaching generative design development work, oriented around human factors (particular ergonomics), and describe a case study from the PRIME-VR2 research project in which an algorithmic workflow utilized user scan data and 3D-printing technology to generate bespoke versions of a standard controller device.