Ergonomics Award 2012
Tean ErgoNaughts – Top 5 and Honorable Mentions at International Ergonomics Competition (From left to right: Andrew Merryweather (advisor), Jon Weimer, Travis Steele (team leader), James Snead, Rami Shorti)

AUBURN, AL – “ErgoNaughts” recently represented the University of Utah in the Fifth Annual Ergonomics Design Competition for Student Teams. The team is made up of four students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering including Travis Steele (team leader), Jon Weimer, Rami Shorti, and James Snead. The faculty advisor is Andrew Merryweather.

ErgoNaughts placed in the Top 5 teams, receiving Honorable Mention in this year’s competition, which had a record number of teams participating. The winning team was Ergomanicas from Texas A&M Health Science Center, who receive the eTools Prize and will join Auburn Engineers, Inc. and many of this year’s judges at an eTools Users Group meeting in the spring. The ErgoNaughts participated in a preliminary competition that was held in October and culminated with a 48-hour challenge for the final project in early November.

Teams were trained in eTools, the world-class ergonomics job analysis software developed by Auburn Engineers, Inc. Students then used eTools, as well as the knowledge gained through their academic training and applied experience, to evaluate and create a solution to the ergonomic dilemmas posed in the competition. The teams were challenged with analyzing the ergonomic risks of the individual members in a university or high school marching band. This analysis required the students to identify “families of band instruments” and then determine the individual risk factors to the hands, arms, shoulders, back, and legs for each of those families.

This seemingly insurmountable assignment was accomplished through the use of eTools software, which allowed the teams to screen for more critical instruments and perform detailed analyses when necessary. The final project required the teams to develop a special sales promotion for products with ergonomics features at a big box home improvement store. This project also required the team to identify new products for future sales.

This is the fifth year that the ergonomics competition has taken place and the third year in a row that the Ergonomics and Safety program at the University of Utah has placed in the top 5. Last year, the U of U’s team, ErgoLink, won first place. For more information about the competition, go to