Human Factors 23

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These training modules were compiled by the Human Factors Discipline Team (TDT). The discipline of Human Factors advances human-centered design and operations of complex aerospace systems through analysis, experimentation, and modeling of human capability and performance. Practice of the Human Factors discipline has made dramatic improvements in safety, efficiency, and mission success.

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Automation Myths and the Virtues of Human-Machine Teaming
Presenter Dr. Robert Hoffman
Published July 2020
Recorded August 2018
Duration 41:15
Tags None
A number of widely-held beliefs underlie much of the popular discussion about automation, and also many of the government funding programs aimed at developing advanced technology. These include myths about autonomy, function allocation, compensation for human limitations, and automation as a substitution for people. These myths are not only misleading, but can be costly because they engender a host of serious misconceptions for policy makers thinking and for engineers. In this presentation we will review these myths and then counter them with the alternative view of human-machine teaming. This focuses design on teamwork, rather than taskwork. Specifically it focuses on interdependent activity, rather than independent work. It focuses on lifetime resilience rather than short-term procurement costs. Successful human-machine teamwork requires more than an engineering solution to the machine capabilities. It also requires a holistic view that takes into account the requirements of the entire human-machine work system in its application context.
Human Factors Applications of Biomechanical Modeling
Presenter Dr. Beth Lewandowski
Published June 2020
Recorded June 2019
Duration 38:55
Tags None
Recorded June 18, 2019 Biomechanical data collection and modeling has applications to the field of human factors. Specifically, motion data can be used to determine the operational volume necessary for performing a task. The operational volume assessment can be performed in order to determine how much volume is needed to perform the task or if task performance can be contained and adequately performed within an allocated volume. Motion and external force data, along with computational modeling techniques, can be used to estimate the internal loading produced during performance of a task. Internal loading estimates can be used to determine if an adequate stimulus is generated for maintenance of musculoskeletal health and also for comparison to injury thresholds to determine injury risk during task performance.
Futuristic Habitat Concepts to Expand Human Capability in Space
Presenter Dr. Robert Howard
Published June 2020
Recorded May 2020
Duration 59:34
Tags None
Since the dawn of human space flight there have been visions for human space flight programs that send humans to destinations beyond Earth. NASA is currently committed to the lunar surface, Mars surface, and deep space transport. Unfortunately, instabilities in US space policy have caused NASA to change focus repeatedly between these architectures since the 1970s. Further, it can be shown that developing lunar, Martian, and transit habitats in series will require inordinately long periods of time, resulting in exorbitant program expenses. A mitigation to these challenges could be to develop a Common Habitat design for both transit and surface operations. A Common Habitat derived from the Space Launch System core stage’s liquid oxygen tank and manufactured on the same production line as the SLS can be designed to provide functionality required for both microgravity transit and surface operations. Part one of this webcast will describe design considerations and options in addressing open challenges and unknowns as they pertain to horizontal or vertical interior orientation, integration with lunar or Martian landers, docking and resupply logistics, and variations in crew size. Part two of this webcast introduces the idea of a transit spacecraft whose primary crew mission is found within the transit as opposed to the destination. This webcast introduces the concept of a Deep Space Science Vessel (DSSV), a large, multi-purpose, multi-disciplinary science spacecraft intended for human spaceflight operations in the inner solar system. This webcast will define the DSSV onboard crew functions and describe target performance levels for each function. It will then discuss the habitable volume of the spacecraft, providing high level workstation descriptions and preliminary layout options for portions of the spacecraft. Attached and typical visiting vehicles will be described, including their functions, heritage, and examples of mission-specific configurations. Mission concepts will be described for key missions possible within the vehicle’s operating range. Sample crew composition for the DSSV will be discussed. Finally, future work will be described, providing context for human development of the inner solar system.
Practical Application of Human Factors in Flight Hardware Design
Presenter Sean Schimelpfening
Published March 2020
Recorded January 2020
Duration 51:19
Tags None
Abstract: The following presentation and corresponding hardware demonstration were developed as training for U.S. ISS Payload Developers (PDs), to instruct them how to design hardware to meet ISS Payload Human Factors requirements and guidelines, and to brief them about the services the ISS Human Factors Implementation Team (HFIT) offers to them. Applying Human Factors requirements and guidelines to flight hardware design is not as simple as one would think. This presentation and hands-on demonstration have proven valuable to get hardware developers to think about designing crew interfaces that are safe and easy to operate.
Oculometric Assessment of Mild Neural Impairment
Presenter Dr. Leland Stone
Published March 2020
Recorded January 2020
Duration 48:56
Tags None
Abstract: For over 100 years, neurologists have used eye movements to identify neural impairment, disease, or injury. Prior to the age of modern imaging, qualitative assessment of eye movements was a critical, routine component of diagnosis and remains today a routine law-enforcement tool for detecting impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol. We will describe the application of a simple 5-minute oculomotor tracking task coupled with a broad range of quantitative analyses of high-resolution oculomotor measurements for the sensitive detection of sub-clinical neural impairment and for the potential differentiation of various causes. Specifically, we will show that there are distinct patterns of impairment across our set of oculometric parameters observed with brain trauma, sleep and circadian disruption, and alcohol consumption. Such differences could form the basis of a self-administered medical monitoring or diagnostic support tool.
Exploring Human Performance Contributions to Safety in Commercial Aviation
Presenter Dr. Jon Holbrook
Published November 2019
Recorded February 2019
Duration 36:37
Tags None
Instructions: - Add this to your calendar using the "Add to Calendar" link for a convenient 15-minute reminder. - Slides are available to download in the "Links." - Please submit questions as they arise rather than waiting until the end. - Enjoy! Abstract: Data-driven decisions about safety management and design of safety-critical systems are limited by the available data, which influence, and are influenced by, how decision makers characterize problems and identify solutions. In the commercial aviation domain, data are systematically collected and analyzed on the failures and errors that result in infrequent incidents and accidents, but in the absence of data on behaviors that result in routine successful outcomes, safety management and system design decisions are based on a small sample of non-representative safety data. As a case in point, analysis of aviation accident data suggests that human error is implicated in up to 80% of accidents, which has been used to justify future visions for aviation in which the roles of human operators are greatly diminished or eliminated in the interest of creating a safer aviation system. However, failure to fully consider the human contributions to successful system performance in civil aviation represents a significant and largely unrecognized risk. Without understanding how humans contribute to safety, any estimate of predicted safety of autonomous machine capabilities is incomplete and inherently suspect.
Virtual Reality for Worksite Analysis Methods
Presenter Tanya Andrews
Published October 2019
Recorded August 2019
Duration 32:03
Tags None
Open to the Public Recorded September 10, 2019 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Human Factors Engineering (HFE) Team is implementing Virtual Reality (VR) into HFE analyses of various projects. MSFC HFE is responsible for the worksite analyses of the integration efforts of the Space Launch System (SLS) that will be performed at Kennedy Space center (KSC), as well as the HFE analyses of Deep Space Habitat (DSH) Concepts. There is a wide variety of tasks, and it is important to verify that the vehicle can be integrated at KSC early in the design process. If the ground support crew cannot complete the task, access the parts of the elements that require integration, or if other hardware may be damaged during such access, redesign efforts have to be implemented. MSFC HFE is responsible for this verification and has used methods such as drawing inspection, observation of tasks performed on test articles, and building physical mockups that are sometimes used with Motion Capture (MoCap). In addition, VR analyses are now being utilized for a faster analysis early in the process that can impact design before drawings are finalized and funds are allocated for physical mockups. This technology does not replace the need for physical mockups in most cases, but rather improves the design maturity of the physical mockup. All of these methods are used in tandem to perform HFE assessments at NASA MSFC.
Human Factors Discovered: Stories from the Front Lines
Presenter Dr. Randy Mumaw
Published November 2018
Recorded April 2018
Duration 56:16
Tags None
Recorded May 8, 2018 Randy has spent more than 3 decades thinking about how to improve human performance in complex, socio-technical systems. For most of that time, he was working with a system developer (Westinghouse or Boeing). That experience allowed him to be a witness to how human operators perform—what they do well and what happens that is different from what the system developer expected. In this presentation, Randy will offer operational “stories” to illustrate how humans use technology in unanticipated ways and how system designers fail to understand how difficult system operation is. He will also discuss the dilemma of quantifying human performance. Larger Human Factors themes will emerge.
Method for Simulation of Procedure Performance
Presenter Dr. Lance Sherry
Published December 2017
Recorded October 2017
Duration 51:16
Tags None
Recorded October 24, 2017 Airline Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) define the sequence of flight crew actions to handle the set of mission situations that can emerge in the execution of a commercial airline flight. Each SOP must be completed within an Allowable Operational Time Window (AOTW) to avoid a hazardous outcome. For dynamic plants (e.g. airliner) the Time on Procedure (ToP) and the AOTW are distributions that vary with the interactions between environment, plant, and operator actions. Making sure that new, or modified procedures, can be completed in a timely manner (i.e. ToP AOTW) is a critical step in verification of SOPs. This presentation describes a method to simulate the time distributions for SOPs. A case study analysis of the Take-off procedure is demonstrated resulting in a simulated ToP within 5% of the actual. The implications of these results for testing procedure design and limitations of this method are discussed.
“ABORT! ABORT!” - Applied Human Factors for Time-sensitive, Safety Critical Systems
Presenter Ronald Daiker
Published December 2017
Recorded September 2017
Duration 56:58
Tags None
Air date: November 14, 2017 A team of human factors researchers from NASA Langley Research Center have completed a four-month study aimed at improving the user interface of the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) Safety Critical Range Data Display System (RDDS) used to support arm/destruct decisions during launch operations. WFF representatives reached out to Langley's Crew Systems and Aviation Operations Branch (CSAOB) for assistance in the area of user interface design, and the resulting study was funded by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC). Lisa Rippy (D2), Ron Daiker (D318), Rania Ghatas (D318), and Michael Vincent (D318) have been collaborating with WFF personnel to develop data driven, user-centered software requirements in support of the WFF software re-design effort. The LaRC research team was invited to brief their findings to WFF Range and Safety leadership on August 9, 2017. Representatives from WFF commended the LaRC research team for their efforts and expressed interest in an on-going partnership between LaRC and WFF throughout the design, development, and fielding of the new Launch Termination System Software. This presentation will focus on the applied human factors methods and techniques employed to respond to this request for assistance within the agency, and the lessons learned from this study. As ambassadors for the human factors discipline, practitioners should always be prepared to answer the call for assistance from others both within and outside of the agency. The ability of HF practitioners to effectively represent the discipline and add value to a project is critical for the future growth and sustainment of the discipline. The role of applied human factors within the agency will also be discussed, along with recommendations which would benefit similar efforts in the future.
Training for Generalization in Technical Domains
Presenter Dr. Dorrit Billman
Published September 2017
Recorded July 2017
Duration 53:02
Tags None
Recorded August 8, 2017 Applying what you know in new situations, for new goals, or with different resources is a hallmark of successful learning. Generalizing what you know and transferring your skills and knowledge to new settings will be a key success factor in future long-distance exploration missions. In work domains relying on use of complex technology, we propose that these three types of skills and knowledge enable generalization: a) a mental model of a device, b) procedures for carrying out work using the device, and particularly, c) an integrated understanding of relationships between the device and procedures for using it. Our research investigates this proposal. Here we report results from an exploratory study of how training for integration affects performance on generalizing to tasks varying in similarity to the training tasks.
ISS Operations Overview Part 2: Mission Activities vs. Science Goals
Presenter Michael Jensen
Published September 2017
Recorded June 2017
Duration 01:01:21
Tags None
Recorded July 18, 2017 ISS is a research platform and as an Agency we want to maximize its value to the nation and our partners. It is also an outpost in a hazardous environment that requires maintenance, cargo and crew transfers and various tasks that can interfere with maximizing science time on the platform. We will discuss the four assets typically required for science activities, and then review the various mission activities that we must accomplish to maintain and operate the vehicle, understanding how they challenge us to maximize science time. We wrap the section up with a summary of changes both accomplished and in-work to improve our science availability.
Assessing the Human for Flight
Presenter Dr. Gregg Bendrick
Published June 2017
Recorded May 2017
Duration 01:00:04
Tags None
Virtually all regulatory agencies around the world require some type of medical assessment of pilots (and astronauts) to ensure they are medically qualified for flight duties. Medical examination in these cases in distinct from the normal, “clinical” practice of medicine because one is determining medical qualification for a particular series of tasks, and not diagnosing or treating disease. Hence, the medical examiner acts on behalf of the regulatory agency to help ensure safety of flight. In this context medical assessment entails: 1) The performance of specific examination REQUIREMENTS (which can vary depending on the type and duration of flight), then; 2) Identifying whether or not the individual meets specified STANDARDS, and if not; 3) Determining the appropriate WAIVER questions or concerns that must be satisfactorily addressed before a safe return to flight can be implemented. Specific areas to be covered include the unique concerns of the aviation and space environments, the “1% Rule”, and the shift in focus in recent years from screening tests to risk factor identification as the better way to mitigate medical risk of flight. Likewise, medical examination involves medical SURVEILLANCE, in which the individual is assessed to determine if he or she demonstrates untoward health effects as a result of working in an abnormal environment. Time for questions and answers will be available at the end of the talk.
ISS Operations Overview Part 1: Spacecraft & Launch Vehicles
Presenter Michael Jensen
Published June 2017
Recorded April 2017
Duration 58:51
Tags None
To staff, supply and maintain our outpost in low earth orbit, the ISS requires a steady stream of crew and cargo vehicles. Part 1 of this briefing focuses on a summary of the various spacecraft that get people and cargo up and ‘back’ from the ISS. We will compare and contrast their capabilities and functions they provide to the program.
Introduction to the International Space Station
Presenter Dr. Donna Dempsey
Published March 2017
Recorded February 2017
Duration 57:02
Tags None
Discipline: Human Factors Webcast Air Date: March 14, 2017 This presentation introduces the audience to the International Space Station (ISS) modules. Each of the modules is presented and the function or purpose of the module is briefly described. Time permitting, the presentation will end with a video sequence showing the assembly of the ISS and a separate video showing a tour of the interior of the ISS.
Human Factors of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Lessons from Incident Reports
Presenter Dr. Alan Hobbs
Published September 2016
Recorded September 2016
Duration 01:00:27
Tags None
Discipline: Human Factors Webcast Air Date: September 13, 2016 Before remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) can operate routinely and safely in civilian airspace, we need to understand the unique human factors associated with these aircraft. Minor incidents are a potentially rich source of data, however, the RPAS sector has produced relatively few incident reports that describe events from the perspective of RPAS pilots. An exploratory study was conducted to examine the feasibility of collecting voluntary incident reports from RPAS pilots. Twenty-three experienced RPAS pilots volunteered to participate in focus groups in which they were invited to recall incidents that revealed a system flaw, or that highlighted a case where the human operator contributed to system resilience or mission success. Participants reported a total of 90 incidents. Some of the issues described in the reports have received significant attention in the literature, or are analogous to human factors of manned aircraft. In other cases, incidents involved human factors that have not yet been the subject of extensive study. Human factor issues included control station design considerations, vigilance during monotonous flights, transfer of control between control stations, the management of lost link procedures, and decision-making during emergencies. Although many of the reported incidents involved pilot errors, the participants also provided examples of the positive contribution that humans make to the operation of highly-automated systems.
Best Practices for Fatigue Risk Management in Non-traditional Shiftwork
Presenter Dr. Erin Flynn-Evans
Published July 2016
Recorded June 2016
Duration 58:56
Tags None
Discipline: Human Factors Webcast Air Date: July 12, 2016 Fatigue risk management programs provide effective tools to mitigate fatigue among shift workers. Although such programs are effective for typical shiftwork scenarios, where individuals of equal skill level can be divided into shifts to cover 24 hour operations, traditional programs are not sufficient for managing sleep loss among individuals with unique skill sets, in occupations where non-traditional schedules are required. Such operations are prevalent at NASA and in other high stress occupations, including among airline pilots, military personnel, and expeditioners. These types of operations require fatigue risk management programs tailored to the specific requirements of the mission. Without appropriately tailored fatigue risk management, such operations can lead to an elevated risk of operational failure, disintegration of teamwork, and increased risk of accidents and incidents. In order to design schedules for such operations, schedule planners must evaluate the impact of a given operation on circadian misalignment, acute sleep loss, chronic sleep loss and sleep inertia. In addition, individual-level factors such as morningness-eveningness preference and sleep disorders should be considered. After the impact of each of these factors has been identified, scheduling teams can design schedules that meet operational requirements, while also minimizing fatigue.
How To Make the Most of Your Human: Design Considerations for Single Pilot Operations
Presenter Paul Schutte
Published March 2016
Recorded February 2016
Duration 59:45
Tags None
Webcast Air Date: 3/17/2016 Discipline: Human Factors There is no doubt that commercial aviation is one of the safest forms of long distance travel available today. The annual accident rate per million departures has, on average, continued to decrease over time and is now so close to zero that the results are perhaps driven more by chance than any trend in operational factors. Yet for those accidents that do occur, a majority of them are attributed to human error. Unfortunately, this has led to the belief that the flight crew is more of a liability than an asset when it comes to aviation safety. Indeed, many have used this statistic to call for fully automated aircraft; their logic being that if humans are the cause for a significant portion of the accidents, then removing the human from the flight deck will dramatically increase safety. Closer inspection reveals several flaws in this logic. First, while there is significant correlation between the increase in automation and the increase in safety, there does not appear to be much proof of causality. In the nineties as automation became more the norm, but CRM training and practices also became the norm during this period along with improved manufacturing and maintenance operations. Secondly, while human failures may have been the primary causes in accidents, in most cases, there is no evidence that automation would have fared any better. Finally, humans are also involved in other aspects of aviation – design, manufacture, programming, operation, and maintenance. These humans will continue to make errors, but without the pilot, there will be no one to catch these errors during the flight. The first part of this talk will describe how removing pilots will not eliminate human error and that the negative effects of human error might become more problematic and dangerous without pilots. The second part briefly describes how the primary role of the pilot on flight deck is not simply mission monitoring/management but is avoiding and compensating for the complex, unanticipated, and dangerous situations that arise. The third part argues that the current allocation of tasks and functions between the flight crew and automation can significantly hinder the pilot’s ability to perform their primary role. Finally, suggestions are provided for potentially better function allocation schemes, largely applicable to new flight deck designs, but that could also be implemented in current aircraft design.
Human Factors Engineering Considerations in Launch Vehicle Design
Presenter Dr. Cynthia Null
Published March 2016
Recorded January 2016
Duration 20:43
Tags None
Discipline: Human Factors