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design science

Winning With a Nose (04-02-15)

When you cross your eyes, you see parts of the sides of your nose.  Including those sorts of images of the sides of a nose in a simulator image seems to be a good idea.  Whittinghill, Ziegler, Moore, and Case found that “Simulator sickness is a phenomenon experienced in virtual reality applications that causes users to experience an intense sensation of vertigo and, in extreme cases, nausea. . . .

Altitude and Depression (04-01-15)

Research links depression with being at high altitude and with oxygen deprivation.   The design repercussions of these findings include using elements that have been shown to boost mood whenever possible at high altitudes or in spaces where people are apt to have asthma, etc.,  (think: pulmonary clinics).  Research Design Connections regularly discusses studies linking design and mood.  Kanekar and his team report that “Rates of depression and suicide are higher in people living at altitude, and in those with chronic hypoxic disorders like asthma, chronic o

Traveling and Working (03-31-15)

Hislop and Axtell researched working while away from home.  They learned via “data collected from business people travelling by plane, train and car. . . .

Multi-Tasking Eyes (03-30-15)

A study published in Current Biology indicates why it is so difficult to assess differences in items that vary on more than one parameter.  Landy and Saarela have found that  “Our eyes are drawn to several dimensions of an object—such as color, texture, and luminance—even when we need to focus on only one of them. . . .[the new study] points to the ability of our visual system to integrate multiple components of an item while underscoring the difficulty we have in focusing on a particular aspect of it.”

Build in Spaces for Naps (03-27-15)

Research by Studte and her team confirms that napping during the day has benefits.  Their findings support the development of spaces for napping at workplaces, schools, healthcare facilities, etc.  The scientists report that “Many studies have shown that sleep improves memory performance, and that even short naps during the day are beneficial.”  Their new research confirms the positive effects of sleeping for short periods of time (in other words, napping) on memory and learning.

Design and Communication (03-26-15)

Orbach and her colleagues collected information via electronic, sociometric badges that links workplace design and employee communication.  The data they gathered at their study indicates that “workers who were encouraged to utilize flexible seating arrangements in a remodeled space had a higher proportion of face-to-face [and IM] interactions with colleagues outside of their team. . . .

Homecoming Really Does Make Us Feel Good (03-25-15)

Anthropologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studied the hormonal balance of men returning home.  They determined (and reported in the Royal Society journal Biological Letters) that “Absence, it seems, really does make the heart grow fonder. . . .That’s according to . . . anthropologists, who found that levels of the “love” hormone oxytocin increases among Tsimane men when they come home to their families after a day of hunting. . . .The Tsimane are an indigenous population of forager-farmers and hunters who live in the lowlands of Bolivia’s Amazon basin. .

Increasing Use of Bike-Sharing Programs Via Design (03-24-15)

Repositioning the distribution points for bicycles and increasing the number of bikes available could increase ridership in bike-sharing programs by almost 30%.  A press release from the University of Chicago’s Booth business school, indicates that “Although bike-sharing systems have attracted considerable attention, they are falling short of their potential to transform urban transportation. . . . it is possible for cities to increase ridership without spending more money on bikes or docking points—simply by redesigning the network. . . .

Scent-Related Carryover Effects (03-23-15)

Getting odd reports about odors in spaces or linked to objects?  Rodriguez and her team completed research that may help explain your data.  They determined that “In two studies, participants were asked to view images of heavy [overweight or obese] and thin individuals while smelling substances that, unbeknownst to them, were odorless. Across both studies, the results showed that the substances were perceived to smell worse when they were paired with images of heavy individuals than when they were paired with images of thin individuals.”

Weather and Workplace Performance (03-20-15)

Weather can create challenges that are difficult for workplace design to overcome.  A press release issued by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management indicates that “The best time to invest in U.S. Treasury securities may be spring, thanks to seasonal variations in investor risk tolerance linked to depression. A team of finance researchers found that the monthly return on those securities showed an average swing of 80 basis points between October –when returns peaked –and April, when they bottomed out.