Researcher's Spotlight

Dr. Hsiao's 3D Scanning Photos

These photos show Dr. Hsiao teaching his students about 3dMD scanning.

Dr. Hongwei Hsiao is the Endowed Chair of the Industrial Engineering program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Prior to joining the university, he worked at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as Chief of the Protective Technology Branch and as Coordinator for the Center for Occupational Robotics Research.

Hsiao’s research covers emerging technology and big data related to human factors issues. His Smart Technology Advancement Research (STAR) lab evaluates the impact of emerging technology in humans.  Some examples of this technology include robot wearable devices and personal protective devices. His goal is to use emerging technology to improve our life and to make sure that the technology in use is safe. Furthermore, he wants to ensure that the technology is used at its best design and that his research provides feedback to the industry to design better technology.

His STAR lab is equipped with state-of-the art three-dimensional scanning technology which can scan the whole body. This consists of 10 sets of specialized cameras with three sensors in each camera that are positioned at slightly different heights. The more cameras, the better the detail of the scans. His long-term plan is to scan many people from diverse backgrounds so that technology or personal protective equipment can be designed to fit diverse populations. One such example is to design protective gear for female law enforcement officers. Current equipment was designed to fit men, so with this technology, scans of the torso of women can be obtained which can be used to determine the best design of protective gear for female officers.  

“Emerging technology and big data research will advance safety and well-being of many other occupational groups, such as firefighters, healthcare professionals, refinery workers, solders, construction laborers, farm operators, manufacturing workers, and maritime employees,” Hsiao said.

The three-dimensional scanning equipment is currently being used by Islander students who enroll in the human factors class. They not only learn about theories but also about real-world hands-on applications. They learn how to conduct human body size and shape measurements and scanning and how to place markers on mannequins. Students in the undergraduate industrial engineering program at TAMU-CC learn the basic principles of human factors, however, for students who want to learn beyond the basics, Hsiao recommends that they continue their studies into graduate school. Starting this fall 2023, students will be able to earn a Master of Science in Engineering at TAMU-CC. Students who are interested in human factors, occupational safety and health, smart technology, or big data process are encouraged to apply to join Hsiao’s research team.

People with backgrounds in human factors can have many types of jobs such as work in the automotive industry to help design the human-vehicle interface for better autonomous vehicles. They can also work in the construction or manufacturing industries to help with the production planning process or to make sure that workers learn how to use new technology.  Major hospitals and financial institutions also hire human factors engineers and industrial engineers for facility planning and financial analyses.  His advice to high school students interested in engineering is to get math-ready while in high school, as mathematics is the foundation for engineering.

For more information about Hsiao and his research, please visit