Dr. Brandon Pitts, assistant professor of industrial engineering, and a faculty associate in the Center on Aging & the Life Course (CALC), presents some of his human factors research on human-automation interaction, aging and technology to new IE graduate students.

Research Interests:

The objective of the NHanCE Research lab is to evaluate and improve the performance of operators (especially older adults) in complex transportation, work, and home environments through interface (re)design. We have current ongoing research projects in:

Context-sensitive displays (i.e., multimodal, adaptive, and speech recognition)

Display/interface design facilitates communication between humans and machines. In order for this exchange to be effective, it is important that systems be designed considering the capabilities and limitations of human information processing. Our research group evaluates the effectiveness of different interface formats, particularly those that present information to visual, auditory, and tactile sensory modalities. We use these findings to propose redesign solutions, such as adaptive and speech activated approaches.

Human-automation interaction

Traditionally, humans supervise, control, and program static machines to carry out particular tasks. However, as autonomous systems become more intelligent (i.e., make independent decisions) and alter function allocation between humans and machines, it will be critical to understand how this knowledge will shape the relationship between operators and machines. We use stimulated human-subject experiments to collect empirical data on joint human-automation system performance and develop methods to optimize communication and interactions.

Self-perception of task performance

The way in which a person perceives his/her performance on a particular task (involving the use of technology) may influence how frequently they perform that task, as well as strategies and/or supportive tools they use while performing the task. In our research, we assess well how people rate their own performance on various tasks and determine the extent to which technology can help or hinder this perception and overall task performance. 

Technology trust and acceptance

Trust and acceptance are precursors to technology adoption and use. There are several factors that influence an individual’s attitude/feelings towards a particular technology. We work to identify these factors, and their associated importance, in order to develop methods to increase users’ trust, acceptance, and ultimate use. 

Project sponsors:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • ZF Automotive Group