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UDRI University of Dayton Research Institute - shaping the technology of tomorrow®
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Human Factors

Drew Bowers
Human Factors Team Leader

300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-0127

Sensor Systems Division

Innovation and design solutions for human performance


The discipline of human factors is critical for any organization dependent on human/object interaction to perform its mission. According to human factors pioneer Alphonse Chapanis, “Human factors discovers and applies information about human behavior, abilities, limitations, and other characteristics to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for productive, safe, comfortable, and effective human use.”
As a modern-day leader with a proven record of achievement in human factors research, UDRI’s Human Factors Team (HFT) uses scientific processes to understand the intersection between humans and technology in various environments in order to improve usability, design, systems, and processes. Our approach allows for a complete or modular solution:
Analyze - Discover the problem
Design - Develop a solution
Evaluate - Assess impact of implementation
UDRI’s HFT has a robust history of successfully designing and running experimental protocols, evaluating commercial software and products for usability, and developing new and innovative technologies to improve human performance. HFT regularly conducts experiments for various Department of Defense (DoD) and Commercial entities, including IRB protocols and approvals, participant recruitment, data collection, and data analysis. As a member of UDRI’s proven and highly successful Sensor Systems Division, HFT has access to a wide range of technical experts as well as professors from the University of Dayton.
Contact us today regarding the following capabilities, facilities, or research highlights. We can support your mission efficiently and successfully.
Data Visualization
Human Performance Measurement
Human Subject Research Experiments
Knowledge Elicitation and Cognitive Task Analysis
Usability Evaluations
User Interface Design
Vigilance Research
UDRI’s Technologically Advanced Cognition (TAC) Laboratory is a dynamic environment allowing a wide variety of human performance experimentation. The TAC Lab bridges the gap between controlled laboratory environments and complex real-world environments.
Using the TAC Lab, UDRI HFT researchers analyze the impact of various aspects of complex human performance experiments. TAC Lab equipment and capabilities include electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiogram (ECG), Transcranial Doppler (TCD), and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR). Five configurable research spaces allow us to conduct a variety of experiments in order to meet any research need.
Research Highlights
Understanding the User and their Work
UDRI’s HFT performs a variety of research activities to better understand the user, their environment, and tasks / tools needed to complete their job. This is done through a variety of methods, including literature reviews, task analyses, and subject matter expert (SME) interviews that are used to help guide development of various software systems. HFT has also worked to develop new experimental tools that allow for greater real-world validity while maintaining experimental rigor and control in areas such as cyber defense and unmanned aerial systems.
Human-Machine Teaming
In collaboration with industry partners, UDRI’s HFT is researching how to create optimal teams of humans and artificial agents. Our researchers perform cognitive task analysis (CTA) with SMEs and other users, evaluation and development of new automation technologies, and task and mission requirements analysis. We conduct experiments to evaluate human-machine teaming, design new interfaces for improving collaboration and awareness of human-machine teams, and utilize physiological measurement to understand user stress.
Usability and Interface Design
UDRI’s HFT is bridging the gap between developers and users through various usability methods. Our researchers focus on understanding and translating user requirements into design requirements by undertaking the following methodologies:
Heuristic Evaluations
Usability Tests
Interviews and CTAs
Human Subject Research to Informing Cognitive Models
UDRI’s HFT is supporting AFRL by providing critical data needed to inform cognitive models. Our experts routinely perform valuable research in conducting basic human research studies, evaluating performance to inform theories of cognition, creating generalizable simulations of task performance, and validating models against human data. We deliver informative data sets to provide spatial knowledge and cognitive fatigue models.

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