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University of Michigan Researchers to Receive SAE Award for Ergonomics Research

WARRENDALE, Pa., March 12, 2008 - Three researchers from the University of Michigan are recipients of SAE International's Colwell Merit Award. They will be honored during the SAE Digital Human Modeling for Design and Engineering Conference in Pittsburgh, June 17-19.

The Colwell Merit Award, established in 1965, annually recognizes the authors of outstanding papers presented at an SAE conference or SAE section meeting. The late Arch T. Colwell, who first funded this award, served SAE International in many capacities for nearly 50 years, including a term as President in 1941.

This award is funded through the SAE Foundation. In addition to supporting the awards, recognition and scholarship programs of SAE International, the SAE Foundation develops and funds programs and incentives that foster student interest in engineering, scientific and technical education.

The following authors are recognized for co-authoring, "A Task-Based Stepping Behavior Model for Digital Human Models" (SAE paper #2006-01-2364). The paper proposes a paradigm for the simulation of stepping behavior in digital human models based on a model of foot placements and motions.

David Wagner David Wagner
Wagner is a simulation engineer at Ozen Engineering in Sunnyvale, Calif. Previously, he worked in the Systems Level Debug Lab at Intel Corporation and at Kensington Labs.

Wagner holds a doctorate degree from the Industrial and Operations Engineering department at the University of Michigan, where he studied ergonomics. The title of his thesis is, "Classification and Modeling of Acyclic Stepping Strategies Used During Manual Material Handling Transfer Tasks."

Wagner also holds a bachelor's in manufacturing engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. He resides in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Matthew P. Reed Matthew P. Reed
Reed is a research associate professor in the Biosciences Division of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and in the Industrial and Operations Engineering Center for Ergonomics at the University of Michigan. In his 18 years at UMTRI, he has conducted a wide range of research projects in ergonomics and impact biomechanics, and has developed new techniques to predict the posture and position of motor vehicle occupants. In addition, he is the director of the Human Motion Simulation Laboratory in the Center for Ergonomics at the University of Michigan, where he oversees a research program dedicated to improving the digital human models used for ergonomic analysis.

Reed is the author of more than 80 technical papers on anthropometry, digital human modeling, vehicle ergonomics, safety and related design tools. He has been honored with numerous awards from SAE International, including the Isbrandt Award for best automotive safety paper of the year, the Arch T. Colwell Merit Award and the Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award.

A member of SAE International, he serves on the Human Accommodation and Design Devices committee and Driver Vision Standards committee, both of which have jurisdiction over SAE's vehicle interior design practices. His safety-related work has addressed airbag-induced injuries using laboratory experiments and computer simulations; crash dummy design and positioning procedures; and protection for child passengers.

Reed holds a doctorate in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. He resides in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Don Chaffin Don Chaffin
Chaffin is the R.G. Snyder Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. He worked in the departments of Industrial and Operations Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Environmental Health Sciences. Chaffin also founded and directed the Human Motion Simulation Laboratory at the university's Center for Ergonomics, and served as chair of the Industrial and Operations Engineering department.

Chaffin's research has resulted in six books, more than 140 peer reviewed journal articles, and more than 300 proceedings, book chapters and reports. He also has led a team of university students and staff members in developing a set of widely used software programs for engineers involved in the design of workplaces and vehicles to accommodate various groups of people.

Chaffin is a Fellow of six international, professional and scientific organizations, including SAE International, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the Ergonomics Society, the American Society of Biomechanics, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for his lifetime achievements and leadership in the field of ergonomics.

For more information on these recipients, please contact Sally Pobojewski, University of Michigan, at 734-998-7076 or

For more information about SAE International's Arch T. Colwell Award, please contact