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Summary

Marco Ajovalasit is a Reader in Human Centred Design within the School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University London, UK. His research interests include perception enhancement systems, sensory evaluation techniques and multisensory perception in human-product interactions. Particular emphasis is placed on the measurement of human subjective response to hearing and tactile sensory stimuli so as to understand the key stimulus parameters which are perceptually meaningful to the user. His previous research activity performed in collaboration with Shell Global Solutions Ltd has developed empirical laws governing the human perception of sound and vibration stimuli occurring at the steering wheel interface in automobiles. His work served as a starting point to understand how a driver’s feelings of engine roughness or unpleasantness change with changes in the chemical properties of the fuel so as to choose chemical compounds that meet and exceed customer expectations. During his collaborative research with Shell Global Solutions Ltd. he has undertaken consultant activity in the field of automotive vibration and sound testing, field work and experimental vibro-acoustic testing.

Marco currently performs research in perception enhancement strategies for emotional engagement in automobiles aimed to decode the steering system tactile communication language and to identify salient characteristics that may help to map the physical properties of the steering wheel signature to the emotional response that characterise the driver steering experience.

Via his teaching and other collaborative activities through the Human Centred Design Institute (HCDI), Marco also has experience of applying perception enhancement research to product design. His research aims to provide designers with toolkits for new product functionalities in user-product interactions. Focus is placed on product sound design and multisensory design looking at the analysis of the effects of product properties on the perceptual experiences which occur at a product or service interface which can elicit emotional engagement.

He performs research with the Perception Enhancement Systems (PES) Research Group at Brunel Design which focuses on methods for designing the sensory stimuli of products, systems and services for purposes of meaning, interaction and emotion. He is a member of the Sound & Vibration Product Perception (SVPP) Committee of the Engineering Integrity Society (EIS), an associate member of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) and a member of the Human Centred Design Institute (HCDI).

Brief biography:

Marco has an M.Eng. equivalent degree in Mechanical Engineering (5-year course) awarded by The University of Studies of Palermo in Italy. He holds a Ph.D. degree obtained from The University of Sheffield, UK which focused on the human perception of steering wheel hand-arm vibration as perceived by the driver in automobiles. While completing his PhD, he worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with Shell Global Solutions, UK for two years to establish an industrial methodology to quantify the idle quality of diesel fuel products as perceived by the driver. Marco joined Brunel University London as a Research Fellow in 2006 within thePerception Enhancement Systems (PES) Research Group applying his experience to automotive research and human factors knowledge of sound and vibration stimuli in automobiles. Since 2008, he coordinates the research seminar series of the Human Centred Design Institute (HCDI) at Brunel Design, events designed to encourage communication and teamwork with colleagues across the academia and experts leaders in human-centred related topics.

Marco has a PG Cert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from Brunel University London where he leads the Human Factors module and the Mechanics for Design module for the BSc Product Design and BSc Product Design Engineering course degree within the School of Engineering & Design. He also coordinates the 4-year thick-sandwich programme for overseas placements for professional practice with Design Institutions including San Francisco State University in the USA, TU Delft University in the Netherlands and Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

Academic qualifications

  • 2009 Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Brunel University London, UK.
  • 2007 – Present Lecturer in Human Factors & Ergonomics, School of Engineering and Design, Brunel University London, UK.
  • 2006 – 2007 Research Fellow in the subject areas of human factors, psychophysics and engineering psychology in industrial applications, Brunel University London, UK .
  • 2004 – 2006 Research Assistant in the subject area of human comfort and human perception of vibration and sound exposure in motor vehicles, The University of Sheffield, UK.
  • 2000 - 2003 Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering, The University of Sheffield, UK. Research project investigating the human perception of steering wheel hand-arm vibration in automobile at idle to establish an industrial methodology to quantify the idle quality of diesel fuel products. Project sponsored by Shell Global Solutions, UK.
  • 1999 Professional engineering qualification as Chartered Engineer in Italy.iv>
  • 1991 - 1997 M.Eng. equivalent degree in Mechanical Engineering (5-year course) awarded by The University of Studies of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Responsibility

Peer esteem

  • 2011-2012: Guest editor for the Special Issue of International Journal of Vehicle Noise and Vibration (IJVNV) on “Human emotional response to sound and vibration in automobiles”.
  • 2009-2010: Guest editor for the Special Issue of the Proceedings of the IMechE, Part D - Journal of Automobile Engineering on “Human perception of sound and vibration in automobiles”.
  • 2011 Peer reviewer for the Design Journal
  • 2010 Peer reviewer for the for the Journal of Sound & Vibration (JSV).
  • 2007-present Peer reviewer for the International Journal of Vehicle Noise and Vibration (IJVNV).
  • 2007-present Peer reviewer for, the Institution of Mechanical Engineer (IMechE) Part D Journal of Automotive Engineering.
  • 2007 Chairmanship of the European project VIBTOOL session of the 11th International Conference on Hand-Arm Vibration, Bologna, Italy, 3-7 June.
  • 2005-2010 Peer reviewer for the Engineering Integrity Society (EIS) Journal.
  • Invited speaker at several workshops in human factors including the MDU Network on “Human Factors and the Development of Medical Products” at Brunel University London (2011), and in the automotive industry including the a research workshop at Shell Research Centre in Thornton (2005) and the EIS Workshop on “Perception of Product Sound and Vibration” at the International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick, UK (2006).

Design awards

  • (2011) Undergraduate University Prize - Best Project of the School of Engineering and Design and (2011) Graham Hawkes Prize - Best Design Project. Marco supervised the Major project “The Vario Chair” by Adrian Hodder (BSc Hons Product Design) who received both these prizes. With his project, Adrian combined human-centred design approach and ergonomics principles for school chair design to provide a better fit between the students and their chairs.

Committee

  • 2008 – present, Human-Centred Design Institute (HCDI), Brunel University London, UK. Coordinator of the research seminar series designed to encourage communication and teamwork with colleagues across the academia and experts leaders in human-centred related topics
  • 2008 – present, Membership Committee of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF), UK. Implementation of the membership-related activities within the Society Business Plan to raise aspirations for professional development and progression through the membership grades for practitioners in the area of ergonomics, human factors and human centred design.
  • 2005 – present, Sound, Vibration, Product & Perception (SVPP) Committee of the Engineering Integrity Society (EIS) which includes meeting professional experts from the academia and the industrial sector for the organisation of technical events promoting new and stimulating research areas.
  • Professional affiliations
  • 2011-present, Member of the TSB Creative Industries, Knowledge Transfer Network
  • 2011 – present, Member of the Design & Emotion Society.
  • 2008 – present, Member of the Human-Centred Design Institute (HCDI), Brunel University London, UK.
  • 2006 – present, Associate Member of the of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF), UK.
  • 2006 – present, Member of the International Society for Psychophysics (ISP).

Consultancy

Marco has attracted nearly £12k in industrial consultancy projects during his collaborative research with Shell Global Solutions Ltd. He has undertaken consultant activity in the field of automotive vibration and sound testing, field work and experimental vibro-acoustic testing in automobiles, signal data acquisition, signal processing analysis and psychophysical scaling methods of vibro-acoustic stimuli.

Extra-curricular activities

2003 UK GRAD Programme (Research Councils’ Graduate Schools), course for the development of personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking, team work and career.

Newest selected publications

Spinelli, G., Micocci, M. and Ajovalasit, M. (2016) 'Behavioral strategies of older adults in the adoption of new technology-based products: the effects of ageing and the promising application of smart materials for the design of future products', inDesign for Healthcare. ISBN 10: 1472457420. ISBN 13: 9781472457424.

Book chapter

Ajovalasit, M., Tajadura-Jiménez, A., Shabani, A. and Giacomin, J. (2013) 'Human emotional response to steering wheel vibration in automobiles'. International Journal of Vehicle Noise and Vibration, 9 (1/2). pp. 109 - 128. ISSN: 1479-1471 Open Access Link

Journal article

Berber Solano, TP., Ajovalasit, M. and Giacomin, J. (2010) 'Facilitating the driver detection of road surface type by selective manipulation of the steering-wheel acceleration signal'. Proceedings of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automotive Engineering, 224 (10). pp. 1321 - 1333. ISSN: 0954-4070 Open Access Link

Journal article

Basahel, AM., Young, MS. and Ajovalasit, M. (2010) 'Effects of interaction between physical and mental workload on human performance'.Annual Conference of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. Keele Univ, Staffordshire, UK. CRC Press-Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 598 - 601.

Conference paper

Jeon, B., Ajovalasit, M. and Giacomin, J. (2009) 'Effects of gender differences on the subjective perceived intensity of steering wheel rotational vibration based on a multivariate regression model'. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 39 (5). pp. 736 - 743. ISSN: 0169-8141 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(14)