Archives For human factors

For those interested, here’s a draft of the ‘Fundamentals of system safety‘ module from a course that I teach on system safety. Of course if you want the full effect, you’ll just have to come along. :)

BMW HUD concept (Image source: BMW) Those who cannot remember the past of human factors are doomed to repeat it…

With apologies to the philosopher George Santayana, I’ll make the point that the BMW Head Up Display technology is in fact not the unalloyed blessing premised by BMW in their marketing material.

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The BEA third interim report on the AF 447 accident raises questions

So I’ve read the BEA report from one end to the other and overall it’s a solid and creditable effort. The report will probably disappoint those who are looking for a smoking gun, once again we see a system accident in which the outcome is derived from a complex interaction of system, environment, circumstance and human behavior.

However I do consider that the conclusions, and therefore recommendations, are hasty and incomplete.

This post is part of the Airbus aircraft family and system safety thread.

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One of the areas of human factors in design is the physical layout of a seated workstation or control console to suit the functional reach capabilities of the user population. Should be simple right? Wrong.

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The Right Attitude

27/05/2011 — 1 Comment

How the design of the Apollo Command Module Attitude Reference Indicator illustrates the importance of cultural cliches or precedents in coordinating human and software behaviour.

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Reflections on design errors in the human machine interface

Having recently bought a new car I was driving home and noticed that the illuminated lighting controls were reflected in the right hand wing mirror. See the picture below for the effect. These sort of reflections are at best annoying, but in the worst case they could mask the lights of a car in the right hand lane and lead to a side swipe during lane changing.

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The effective use by humans of any transport system is a critical success factor in the development of such systems. Careful consideration of the interaction of ergonomic and functional design with the physical and cognitive capabilities and limitations of crew, passengers and maintainers is essential to assure safe, effective and profitable rail operations.

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Lead Tangara car damage (Source: Commission report)

On the 31st of January 2003 at approx. 7:14 am a four car Tangara passenger train on run C311 from Sydney Central to Port Kembla (G7) oversped on a downhill gradient leading into a curve and left the track. The train driver and six passengers were killed and the remaining passengers suffered various injuries ranging from minor bruising and lacerations to severe disabling injuries. Continue Reading…