One of the most compelling arguments for introducing autonomous driving vehicles is the potential reduction in injuries and fatalities caused primarily by human error. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, human error accounts for 94% of fatal crashes, and advanced safety technologies can be expected to reduce these numbers substantially.
However, at the end of April this year, there was an incident in which a Tesla Model S, from a parked position, collided with a trailer parked in front of it after the “Summon” autopark feature was activated. With Summon, the driver can exit the car and make it roll slowly forward or backward into a tight parking space using the key or an app. The incident caused only about $700 in damage to the luxury car’s windshield, but this incident might be a symptom of a greater problem.
As a self-professed codger, curmudgeon, and contrarian, I am increasingly disturbed that so many “designed solutions” of built environments have very little to do with design thinking, understanding users’ requirements, or meeting a specific goal. They are mostly just presumptive designs. By that I mean, the design meets a single or set of underlying assumption(s) most often based on rather tenuous logic.
Presumptive design has dominated approaches to workplaces for more than a decade, resulting in so-called designed solutions that include smaller and smaller individual space, more openness, and less enclosure. In truth, this meets one primary goal: reducing the cost per occupant of these workplaces.
One of my all time favorite films – Rob Reiner’s timeless Princess Bride (1987) – has many memorable lines. One of my favorites is the title of this blog post. The group’s leader, Vizzini (Played by Wallace Shawn) is a the self proclaimed ‘brilliant’ Sicilian. He keeps exclaiming “inconceivable” whenever something happens that he didn’t expect. Finally master swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) says “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” The same thing can be said of many descriptions of consumer products as “ergonomic.”
Runway incursion is a huge issue in the United States (US). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a runway incursion as “Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft, vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take off of aircraft.”
It is with great sadness that I share news of the passing of Marc Resnick, who, since 2014, was the genius behind the EID blog. His last post appeared on February 18. As regular readers know, Marc brilliantly commented on a wide range of topics, many gleaned from the popular media, and provided his take on how HF/E research and practice might inform those topics. His writing was lively and accessible, and many people looked forward to his posts as one of the highlights of their online experience.
As startups, and business-people in general, one of our greatest assets is our staff. It is our responsibility to care for their health, well-being, and happiness. Industrial and organizational psychology, I-O Psychology, can further that goal. I-O psychology focuses on increasing workplace productivity and health, both physical and mental, of employees. Granted, productivity and employee’s well-being encompass many factors (i.e., organizational structures, leadership ability and training, personnel psychology, and many more), but proper ergonomics in an organization can have positive effects on our staff’s vitality as well as their work effectiveness. Embracing proper ergonomics in the workplace should be a fundamental part of organizational psychology assessments and plans…
Today we are taking a break from our usual schedule to present this thought-provoking piece by Peter Hancock. Peter is a past President of HFES and is currently a professor at the University of Central Florida. I am sitting here, writing this my first blog in the Florida Mall, just outside the two major computer stores, where I have been perusing and contemplating the various touch-activated devices that lie between the traditional laptop and the emerging smartphone. From my perspective, all of these offerings are lamentably slow in their response capacities. Not only do they stutter under my traveling fingers, they are abhorrently inhibitive of cross interaction…