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The University of Southampton

Professor Michael Griffin BSc, PhD

Professor of Human Factors

Professor Michael Griffin's photo

Professor Michael Griffin sadly passed away on 17 August 2019.

Michael Griffin was Professor of Human Factors, Founder and Head of the Human Factors Research Unit in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. He was also Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Ethics Committee.

Professor Griffin’s research focussed on human responses to vibration.
Michael Griffin obtained a PhD in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research 1972. After a period as a Research Fellow, he was appointed as a Lecturer in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research in 1977, a Senior Lecturer in 1984, and Professor of Human Factors in 1991.

Professor Griffin provided lectures on 'Human Factors in Engineering' and 'Human Responses to Vibration' for graduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Southampton. He is the author of more than 600 publications including 250 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the author of the ‘Handbook of Human Vibration’, and the author of chapters in more than 20 other books.

Professor Griffin was the Chairman of the British Standards Institution Sub-Committee on human responses to mechanical vibration and shock, a member of relevant ISO and CEN Committees, and a member of the International Advisory Committees of Conferences on Hand-arm Vibration and Whole-body Vibration. He was a member of the Ergonomics Society, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the Aerospace Medical Association.

Honours and Awards
1984 Bartlett Medal of the Ergonomics Society for contributions to research.
2007 RWB Stephens Medal of the Institute of Acoustics for outstanding contributions to acoustical research and education.
2011 Taylor Award for advancing the understanding and prevention of the effects of hand-arm vibration.

Research interests

Professor Griffin was interested in all aspects of human responses to vibration. The research of the Human Factors Research Unit has influenced British, European, and International Standards, and legislation. The findings are used by industry world-wide and in meters and computer programs used to evaluate vibration with respect to human responses.

Whole-body vibration arises when the body is supported on a vibrating surface and occurs in all forms of transport and in buildings. Research has included the development of methods of predicting vibration perception, vibration discomfort, the effects of vibration on the performance of activities, physiological responses, injury to the body, biodynamic responses of the body, and the transmission of vibration through seating. The research produced the ‘vibration dose value’ (VDV), frequency weightings implemented in standards and modern human vibration meters (Wb, Wc, Wd, We, and Wf ), and the ‘SEAT value’ used to assess the vibration isolation efficiency of seating.

Hand-transmitted vibration occurs when holding or pushing on vibratory tools or machines. Research has included the development of methods of categorising and quantifying the disorders caused by hand-transmitted vibration, epidemiological studies, the development of diagnostic tests for the hand-arm vibration syndrome (vibrotactile thresholds, thermotactile thresholds, and finger systolic blood pressures) and the development and production of diagnostic test instruments (HVLab vibrotactile perception meter, HVLab thermotactile perception meter, and HVLab multi-channel plethysmograph), understanding the physiological responses to hand-transmitted vibration (e.g., vasoconstriction), measuring and modelling the biodynamic responses of the fingers and hands, and understanding the transmission of vibration through gloves.

Low frequency motion causes motion sickness and postural instability. Research has included the development of the ‘motion sickness dose value’ (MSDV) and frequency weightings for predicting motion sickness. Field studies of the factors associated with motion sickness in transport (e.g., ships, aircraft, coaches, cars, oil rigs) and laboratory studies using motion simulators to explore the causes of sickness. The motions causing instability when standing and walking have also been studied.

Research Projects


Whole-body vibration

Hand-transmitted vibration

Low frequency motion

Laboratory facilities in the Human Factors Research Unit

Services from the Human Factors Research Unit

Peer-reviewed scientific publications of the Human Factors Research Unit

Details on impact research can be found here .

Research group

Dynamics Group

Affiliate research group

Human Factors Research Unit (HFRU)

Research project(s)

Finding a sense of balance

Balance disorders and falls in the elderly are very common. However methods to test the balance system of the inner ear are relatively limited. We hope to improve methods to test balance function using sound and vibration. Ultimately this should lead to better diagnosis and management for balance disorders

Professor Michael Griffin
Building 37, Room 4107 University of Southampton Southampton S017 1BJ United Kingdom
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