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Kansei Engineering Product (1)

Mazda Miata

By Glenn Mazur

Mazda learned of Kansei Engineering from the project team members who frequented the ergonomics laboratory at Hiroshima University where Kansei Engineering research began some 30 years ago.

When the car manufacturer decided to develop a brand new sports car with the young adult market in mind, the project team followed the Kansei Engineering processes and began by video taping as well as taking pictures of young drivers maneuvering, steering, and controlling cars. This is based on the psychological observation that human feelings often reveal themselves in people's attitude and behavior.

photo of Mazda MiataBased on observations of potential customers, the project team extracted the behaviors of the customer segment, recording each behavior and assigning a keyword to it. After grouping driver characteristics, some of the similarities identified in this process were transformed into the design specifications that were later translated into physical characteristics.

For instance, customer Kansei voice "my own way of controlling" was examined in an ergonomic experiment in which subjects were asked to evaluate which length of a shift lever best fit this Kansei feeling.

For customer Kansei voice "runs fast," it was determined that the engine response time was the most important factor that embodied this Kansei. This meant the timing of combustion following the push of the accelerator must be as short as possible. This led to a redesign of the engine.

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