Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose the selection guide of the multi-objective optimization methods for the ergonomic design. The proposed guide enables designers to select an appropriate method for optimizing the human characteristics composed of the engineering characteristics (e.g. users’ height, weight and muscular strength) and the physiological characteristics (e.g. brain wave, pulse-beat and myoelectric signal) in the trade-off relationships. Design/methodology/approach: This paper focuses on the types of the relationships between engineering or physiological characteristics and their psychological characteristics (e.g. comfort and usability). Using these relationships and the characteristics of the multi-objective optimization methods, this paper classified them and constructed a flow chart for selecting them. Findings: This paper applied the proposed selection guide to a geometric design of a comfortable seat and confirmed its applicability. The selected multi-objective optimization method optimized the contact area of seat back (engineering characteristic associated with the comfortable fit of the seat backrest) and the blood flow volume (physiological characteristic associated with the numbness in the lower limb) on the basis of each design intent such as a deep-vein thrombosis after long flight. Originality/value: Because of the lack of the selection guide of the multi-objective optimization methods, an inappropriate method is often applied in industry. This paper proposed the selection guide applied in the ergonomic design having a lot of the multi-objective optimization problem.
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