Pioneering Research in Asian Consumer Products Earns Roger Ball One of PolyU’s First-ever Endowed Professorships


With immense pride, the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU Design) – Asia’s best among the world’s top 25 design schools – is thrilled to announce that Professor Roger Ball has been named one of only eight recipients of an endowed professorship in PolyU’s first-ever Endowed Professorship Scheme.

At a special inauguration ceremony held on 29 May at the PolyU campus, Professor Ball was singled out for his outstanding academic and research achievements and officially awarded the Eric C. Yim Professorship in Asian Ergonomics. Mr. Eric Yim, who founded the highly successful design firm POSH Office Systems and serves as its Chairman and CEO, generously underwrote the professorship.

Professor Ball has won international recognition for his trailblazing work at SD’s Asian Ergonomic Lab, founded in 2003 and soon after awarded a multimillion dollar grant for its first major project, SizeChina. An innovative 3D survey of Chinese heads and faces, SizeChina helps designers make consumer products that properly fit Asian body sizes. 90% of all consumer products are based on body shape data from Western people.

Professor Ball’s work has resulted in significant funding awards, consultancy projects with leading corporations, and most recently this prestigious endowment. Professor Ball and his team at the Asian Ergonomic Lab have boosted PolyU’s rising reputation as an influential world-class research institution.

Professor Ball’s primary research is to collect through digital scanning the full range of sizes and shapes of the Chinese population, such as their hands, feet and ears. The data from SizeChina is already poised to be used by diverse faculties within PolyU, including Health and Social Sciences, Engineering, Applied Science and Textiles, and Nursing.

Whether designing new respiratory protection products or paving the way for better-fitting eyewear, shoes and automobiles, Professor Ball has tremendously contributed to both academic and industry interests. The SizeChina Project led to the first-ever digital database of Asian head and face sizes for extensive use by manufacturers and designers.

SizeChina is training the next generation of designers with cutting-edge technologies. PolyU Design as a whole has developed practical workshops, curricula and textbooks, positioning its graduates and partners in Hong Kong and across the globe to create truly revolutionary applications in popular industries such as electronics, fashion, transportation, furniture, and medical devices, to name just a few exciting possibilities.

The School of Design joins everyone at PolyU in extending heartfelt congratulations to Professor Ball and his pioneering team at the Asian Ergonomic Lab. Their fascinating work is inspiring and meaningfully changing our everyday life for the better.

SizeChina, Finalist of the World Design Impact Prize

SizeChina, a project led by Dr Roger Ball, Associate Professor of PolyU Design, was nominated as one of the seven finalists from around the world.

The World Design Impact Prize is a biennial designation created to recognize, empower and stimulate socially responsible design projects around the world. Established by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), the World Design Impact Prize will honor and reward industrial design driven projects that are making a positive impact on our social, economic, cultural and/or environmental quality of life.

By drawing from the expertise of Icsid’s network, the World Design Impact Prize creates an exciting opportunity for members and the general public to play an active role in recognizing and honoring projects, and project partners, that create a better world through design. Furthermore, the establishment of a prize specifically for industrial design driven projects will produce tangible examples, best practices and socially responsible industrial designs that will help shape the future of the profession. The winner of the World Design Impact Prize, Community Cooker project from Kenya was announced on 2 February 2012.

SizeChina was nominated as it set the start of a new age of Asian anthropometrics. It was launched to assemble data from a representative cross-section of people from the Chinese mainland to create the first-ever digital database of Chinese head and face shapes. It met the design need for accurate data by creating a practical, sophisticated design measurement database for use by industries developing the next generation of Asian-fit products. Seeing others taking up the challenge as well, with a SizeIndia and a SizeAfrica, the project will ultimately lead to the creation of a universal anthropometric “shape library” of the entire human race.

Facefinder – new online anthropometric data tool

Are you designing a hat, mask, or glasses for the Chinese market? Then you need reliable information about the precise size of the Chinese head and face and now you can get that data, instantly, with the new online anthropometric tool, Facefinder, brought to you by SizeChina for free.

Now on the SizeChina site, the Facefinder home page offers a simple, user-friendly interface that gives instant access to a complete database of Chinese head measurements. Ten different dimensions can be searched for male or female subjects, aged 18 to 51+, and 1%-ile to 99%-ile in size. Facefinder will print out instant reference charts of search results, ready to guide projects of any size, from student work to industrial development.

SizeChina anthropometric data meets the highest international standards for statistical accuracy. Based on the analysis of 3D results from laser scans of 1600 subjects on mainland China, the data is available in a range of commercial products, including physical and digital headforms, software plug-ins, and individual data clouds. Now our first freemium product, Facefinder offers access to the same data in chart form — free of charge, and on-line. Now there is no need to visit the library and search through out-of-date books to try to find the dimensions you need. Ask Facefinder, and it will tell you what you need to know instantly.

Do you want to design headphones for a Chinese male teenager? Ask Facefinder for the 98%ile male teenage head-width dimension to make sure the headband is wide enough.

Are you creating sunglasses for a fashionable 40-year-old Chinese woman? Ask Facefinder for the dimension between the center of the pupils of the eyes for 50%-ile females aged 31-50.

Do you need to make surgical facemasks for 70 year old Chinese visitors to a hospital? Ask Facefinder for a full range of the variation in the dimension measured from the tip of the nose to the point between the eyes, for both genders.

Visit today, and discover the power of Facefinder.

Facefinder development team

  • Project Leader – Mr. Eric Chow
  • User Interface – Lead developer – Mr. Eric Chow
  • Lead Scientist and statistics – Dr Tina Luximon
  • SizeChina Director – Dr Roger Ball
  • External consultant – Dr Johan Molenbroek
  • Facefinder © 2011

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