F3, Mechanical Engineering

Miyong Lee

Research on the Perception of Objects Using Affective Evaluation

Miyong Lee , Assistant Professor

Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering (Mechanics and Information Course, Department of Mechanical and Intelligent System Engineering, School of Engineering)

High school : Republic of Korea

Academic background : Doctorate from the University of Tsukuba

Research areas
Affective engineering
Research keywords
affective evaluation, affective design, perception of objects

What is affective engineering?

Affectivity can be defined as the “ability to perceive connotative meaning” in impressions related to the evaluation and judgment of beauty and goodness. In simpler terms, it refers to how people feel and judge when they encounter something or do something. Each day, we make choices as we see many things. It is as a result of the operation of affectivity that different people may receive different impressions when they see the same thing and a person may make different judgments on the same thing depending on the time or situation. The operation of affectivity is based on brain activities and is said to be influenced by experience and environment. However, the mechanism thereof has yet to be clarified. Affective engineering is a science that aims to discover the value (roles) of affectivity and utilize it to contribute to society. Evaluation methods that utilize affectivity are referred to as affective evaluations.


Sample research in affective engineering―“affective evaluation regarding perceived boundaries among shapes”

Now, look around yourself. You should see objects of various shapes. They may be round, rectangular, slim, or thin, and they may also have too complex a shape to explain in words. Here, I am going to introduce findings of affective evaluation-based research on the perceived boundaries between circles and squares among people.

A series of images with a varying degree of roundness and squareness were presented to research subjects, who were asked to evaluate which shapes they regarded as circles and which shapes as squares (Fig. 1). The research revealed that people perceived the shapes illustrated in Fig. 2 as a circle, square, sphere, and cube, respectively. Although this is a simple experiment that utilizes affective evaluation, it up to the research in affective engineering to explore the perception and judgment criteria of people in this way.

Fig. 1 Images with a varying degree of roundness and squareness


Fig. 2 Perceived boundaries between circle and square and between sphere and cube


What equipment do you use and what experiments do you carry out?

In affective engineering, to fully activate the affectivity of research subjects in carrying out evaluations, we sometimes make mock-up models. In such cases, models are prepared using 3D input/output devices. Nowadays, computer-assisted design by CAD systems and the like has become the norm. The purpose of preparing mock-ups is to give a realistic feel to models represented on the screen as a three-dimensional presence. In particular, as a device to cut out shape data, such as machine design drawings and product designs, 3D plotters enable high precision processing of plastics, wood, aluminum, etc.

At my laboratory, we mainly use a 3D plotter MDX-40 to prepare models (Fig. 3). This helps you come up with new ideas as the drawing you designed is materialized as an actual object. In addition, research subjects can express their ideas more purely since they see and touch mock-ups during evaluation. We use this device to prepare various models with varying physical attributes in our research on affective engineering and affective design.

Fig. 3 Picture of MDX−40

Fig. 4 Example models prepared


Collaboration between mechanical engineering for manufacturing and affective engineering

In the field of mechanical engineering, in recent years we have seen emerging research trends to build a safe society and achieve a richer life apart from fierce cross-border technological competition. Increasingly, people are revisiting traditional research content from new perspectives, further expanding the application fields of their research results and achieving higher value through collaboration with different fields. We are also seeing a growing number of cases in which affective engineering is used to provide additional value to machines in addition to functions, thereby successfully creating value in the field of manufacturing in collaboration with design and technologies.

In the coming era, in response to these new trends, one must take into account the affectivity of those who manufacture machines, that of those who use the machines, and that of those who spend time in the environment in which the machines are used.

In the field of affective engineering, I am studying the theme of perception of objects with a focus on external shapes. Going forward, I aim to conduct many research projects and develop guidelines regarding the characteristics of object perception, guidelines that engineers and designers can effectively use at the manufacturing site. I also think that such research should serve as a step forward in clarifying the mechanism of affectivity.