Human Factors and Ergonomics

From left: Michael Dorneich, Rick Stone, Stephen Gilbert and Gary Mirka.

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.

Adaptive Cognitive Systems Laboratory
Michael Dorneich

Can we create smart systems?
The more automation can sense what is going on, the more it can reason about the situation, and the more it knows about the state of the user, the better decisions it can make on how to help best.

Can we make machines adapt to us, instead of us adapting to it?
System that adapt to tailor their behavior to the current situation promises to augment human strengths and mitigate human weakness.

Dr. Dorneich’s research group conducts studies cognitive engineering issues in the
design of joint human-computer systems that adapt to the user, adapt to the environment, and the adapt to the current situation.

Advanced Learning and Cognition
Stephen Gilbert

Can we improve the way you learn with technology?
Cognitive models. Intelligent tutoring systems. Just-in-time personalized training. Dr. Gilbert’s tools help people learn faster and deeper.

Can we create natural systems?
Data visualization to make the right decisions. The machine does just what I intended. Our software feels like a natural extension of your mind and body.

Virtual Reality Applications Center
This lab of emerging technologies is a great resource for our HF/E group. VR, AR, and physiological sensors are all there.

Physical Ergonomics and Biomechanics Lab
Gary Mirka

What are the underlying causes of workplace musculoskeletal injuries?
In Dr. Mirka’s lab we use motion analysis, electromyography and mathematical modeling to understand muscle and joint loading  during occupational tasks. Areas of particular interest are spine biomechanics and hand/wrist biomechanics.

What are effective strategies to reduce their incidence?
In addition to the basic research focus of the laboratory setting, field work involving the development and assessment of effectiveness of ergonomic interventions forms the applied aspects of the research conducted by this research group.

Augmented Human Performance Lab
Rick Stone

What is our mission?
The ATHENA lab specializes in biomechanical, biomedical, and cognitive engineering with a strong focus on the development of technologies, tools, and techniques that augment human capability and make work more effective, safer, and in many cases, more enjoyable.

How do we make humans for effective at work?
In Dr. Stone’s lab we use a wide varieties of techniques to study human work and task performance. We then develop new technologies and techniques to enhance human capabilities.