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ISVR-HFRU-100: Modelling static and dynamic seating comfort using seat pressure distribution

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Project Description

A PhD student will join a team studying human responses to whole-body vibration and optimisation of seating comfort. This project will develop a new technique for predicting subjective assessments of sitting comfort from measures of static and dynamic pressure distributions.

The research will extend current understanding (used as the basis of standards for evaluating vibration in many forms of transport). The previously developed method has limitations with low magnitudes of vibration and also where discomfort is caused by inappropriate pressure distributions. This research seeks to relate static and dynamic pressure distributions to discomfort, define a method of predicting discomfort from pressure distributions, and define methods of both measuring and predicting seat static performance and seat dynamic performance.

The student will use existing equipment (including a unique six-axis motion simulator) in the motion simulation laboratory of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research to reproduce the motions of high speed craft. Experiments will be conducted with human volunteers. The outcomes of the research will be presented at national and international conferences and workshops.

The ISVR has an international reputation for research. The successful candidate will work within the Human Factors Research Unit (HFRU), which has highly motivated, first class research students researching in the area of human responses to vibration. See http://www.soton.ac.uk/HFRU for further details of research activities within the HFRU.

This multi-disciplinary studentship is available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper-second class degree in a related discipline (e.g., engineering, physics, psychology, or physiology), having an interest in psychophysical phenomena, statistics, and appropriate mathematical skills.

If you wish to discuss the project informally, please contact Dr Miyuki Morioka, Human Factors Research Unit, ISVR, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 593723.

Please send a full CV together with a personal statement (~300 words, stating why you particularly want to do a PhD, why you think you are suited to a research degree and what particularly attracts you to this project) to:
Professor Michael Griffin, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Building 19, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. Email:

Funding Notes

The studentship covers University tuition fees (at EU/UK level**) and provides a tax-free bursary of minimum £13,590 per year, rising annually in line with the UK Government (EPSRC) recommended rates.

** Overseas applicants will be required to provide the fee difference from other sources.

How good is research at University of Southampton in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.23

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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