Human factors

Human factors

I discovered the field of human-machine interactions in engineering school. I really liked the idea of being able to improve anyone’s daily life to facilitate the use of software and machine interfaces. My engineering course, focused on programming, seemed to me to lack instructions regarding human aspects such as human perception, functioning, and limits. So I chose to start a PhD degree in neuroergonomics in order to further investigate these subjects. Neuroergonomics uses neuroscience to better understand how humans function at work, how they think and why they act the way they do. At the end of my studies, I acquired the necessary skills to design ergonomic interfaces, and left with a renewed desire to optimize users’ experiences and needs.

With the need for increasingly secure systems, operators in charge must manage increasingly complex systems. My job is to assess the fit between the tools/interfaces at work and the capabilities of people who use them. A system (screen, button, joystick, etc.) adapted to human beings and their needs, and not the other way around, makes it possible to minimize errors and therefore increase safety. A pilot surprised by what the automatic system is doing will have a much harder time regaining control in the event of danger. This is why humans must always be at the heart of technological developments, and must retain control over them.

 

“APSYS offers a flexible and innovative environment within the reach of a group like Airbus.”

 

My specialty in neuroergonomics gives me the means to choose from a range of physiological measurements to detect neurological changes of the operator depending on the context and the tasks. For instance, if an air traffic controller receives a new control software, his or her visual patterns could be recorded using an eye-tracker to test whether the new interface helps the controller better visually detect different planes on his or her radar. Another example could be the introduction of new fully automated trains; the electroencephalogram would allow me to measure the level of drowsiness of drivers in order to possibly review the distribution of tasks between human and machine.

The collected data will then be processed using statistical tools adapted to validate or invalidate the newly designed interfaces and interactions associated to them.

My assignments mainly focus on risk areas, in which systems are designed in order to be used for several years, or even decades. Durability, environmental impact and long-term safety are seen as major concerns right from the start of the design process. To respond to these constraints, the projects on which I intervene are still in their early development cycle; therefore these issues must be taken into consideration from the beginning and must have academic research at heart. In other words, I participate, with the help of research, in the progress of the projects so that scientific input can be transformed into technological innovation.

3 values : Agility, Open-mindedness, Flexibility

Jonas GOURAUDHuman Factor Specialist - Neuroergonomist