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Exploring Human Capabilities and Limits

The UDRI Human Factors Group

The UDRI Human Factors Group (HFG) is an ongoing partnership of experienced engineers and psychologists. We work closely with the human factors faculty of the University of Dayton Psychology Department. Our customer base includes the Department of Defense (DoD) and military contractor communities, private industry, and small business. We are also available to serve as consultants to other groups within the Research Institute to meet the specific customer requirements.

Human factors and ergonomics is often simply referred to as ergonomics. It is the science of exploring the mental and physical capabilities and limitations of humans, and incorporating this knowledge into the design, evaluation, operation, and maintenance of products and systems. When integrated early in system design, human factors knowledge can have a powerful and positive impact on profitability, usability, and safety. The history of human factors can be traced to World War II, when human factors emerged as a result of the research and design efforts of military systems specialists. For example, improvements in radio communication systems, standardization of aircraft displays and controls, and the development of flight simulators all came to fruition during this time. Human factors research has since been applied to space systems, industrial and office settings, consumer products, computers, and information systems.

The HFG consists of Human Factors and Ergonomics experts. Our roots can be traced to the Crew Systems Ergonomics Analysis Center (CSERIAC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, where each group member interacted extensively with military and commercial customers. Each member of our group has at least eight years of experience in the Human Factors community, and our senior members have nearly 20 years of experience in this field and have worked extensively with systems acquisition.

Our accomplishments include the revision of several Human Factors Engineering standards handbooks and tools, such as MIL-STD-1472, the primary human factors standard used by designers of military and DoD systems. Our experience with human factors standards and practices has been successfully applied in several areas. For the aviation community, the HFG has participated in the successful redesign of aircrew workstations to reduce crew discomfort and improve task performance. In the area of anthropometry (human measurement and modeling), we have validated stance and movement features for computer-based human models. Our user interface design work included development of rapid prototypes for early evaluation of future software systems. Our expertise in manpower, personnel, and training (MPT) resulted in the development of several computer-based training programs for DoD air- and land-based capabilities.

In addition to extensive experience with the DoD, the HFG has worked with large and small commercial businesses to improve their products. For example, the HFG performed an in-depth field evaluation of a national optical engineering company’s head-worn display devices. As part of another project, a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, the HFG is assessing and redesigning a glasses-mounted display for military aircraft maintenance applications. Our initial Phase I findings demonstrated the usability and potential of this technology for both commercial and government applications.

We plan to continue marketing our state-of-the-art capabilities to the military and industry. Our technical inquiry service, which draws upon the expertise of TISO and the human factors faculty at the University, provides easy access to up-to-date and wide-ranging human factors information for our customers. Our ultimate mission is to increase human and system effectiveness through innovative human factors and ergonomics research, design, and application.

October 1998
by Dave Kancler, Human Factors Group

CONTACT

University of Dayton Research Institute


300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 7759
937-229-2113
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