Supporting Situation Awareness and Procedural Compliance in Aviation and Medicine

February 12, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Anderson 112
Speaker: Alex Kirlik, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne
Host: Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science


Supporting professionals in safety-critical contexts using information technology and automation requires a multidisciplinary, human-centered approach to design. To illustrate, two projects done in collaboration with experts in adaptive control theory, software engineering. aviation and medicine will be presented. In aviation, many recent incidents have highlighted the downsides of the prevailing approach to automation design and operation: reduce human error and maximize efficiency by engineering humans out of the loop to the extent possible. These downsides include impaired situation awareness, deterioration of manual piloting skills, and the challenges pilots face in jumping into the loop when necessary. We have developed a novel concept and interface design for coupling humans and automation reversing their traditional roles. In our design, automation "looks over the shoulder" of the pilot and enters the control loop when necessary rather than the other way around. Potential applications beyond aviation, including automobile automation, will be discussed. In medicine, studies have shown that a primary contributor to poor outcomes is a failure by medical professionals or teams to consistently adhere to known best practices. Doing so can be especially challenging in time-stressed, life-critical situations where teams must coordinate to provide care and treatment. I will present a prototype design to support emergency care delivery using a wall mounted, large-screen ICU display that helps a team coordinate their activities with both best medical practices and with each other.


Alex Kirlik received his BS, MS and PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Ohio State and then joined the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech as Assistant Professor in 1989, where he was also a Member of the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center and Coordinator of Cognitive Science Academic Programs. In 2001 he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is Professor of Computer Science and Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering and Member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He is the founding editor of the Oxford Series in Human-Technology Interaction (OUP, 2005 - date), editor of Adaptive Perspectives on Human-Technology Interaction (OUP, 2006). co-editor of Attention: From Theory to Practice (OUP, 2006), editor of Human-Tech: Ethical and Scientific Foundations (OUP, 2010), and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering (OUP, 2013). He is associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems and a member of the editorial boards of Human Factors and the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in journals, books, and proceedings, and has held visiting positions in engineering or psychology at Yale, Haskins Laboratory, Stanford, NASA Ames and Draper Laboratory. His interests include the design of human-technology systems in professional contexts, interactive visual analytics, cognitive science & engineering, engineering education and the ethical implications of advanced technologies.