Human Factors and Ergonomics

Human factors and ergonomics research is the application of our understanding of the capabilities and limitations of human beings in the design of the workplace and consumer items. Current emphasis areas in IMSE include 1) physical ergonomics with a particular focus on spine biomechanics, prevention of low back injury and hand/wrist disorders such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome and 2) cognitive engineering with a focus on augmented human performance and human computer interaction.


In the Physical Ergonomics Laboratory, Gary Mirka’s group conducts both basic and applied research with the specific aim of reducing the incidence of occupational injury in working populations. In the field we use video analysis techniques to estimate the biomechanical stresses on the workers as they perform their work tasks. In the laboratory we use precision bio-instrumentation to further explore the relationship between task and loading on the body.
In the Human Performance and Cognitive Engineering Laboratory. Rick Stone and his students conduct both basic and applied research in a number of diverse areas. The core research focus is in the area of human performance enhancement in both cognitive and physical domains. We employ multiple approaches toward this goal, including cognitive and physiological engineering, classical and experimental ergonomics, augmented reality, and the incorporation and application of new technologies. Following an in depth analysis we often develop new methods, designs techniques, tools and or technology to improve human performance and/or reduce errors.