Friday, August 25, 2000
Nadine Sarter thinks there might be a better way monitor automated
flight decks on airplanes. The Ohio State University professor of systems
engineering is researching the role of tactile feedback in monitoring changes in
Most automated flight deck systems use visual and audible
feedback. Sarter is experimenting with having some of the feedback that pilots
need to safely operate planes take the form of vibrations. These vibrations
would be felt with a device that operates similarly to the way a pager works,
rather than being seen or heard.
Sarter's research shows that pilots detected as many as 40% more
signals when they received vibrations from a pager-like device worn like a
wristwatch. "Years ago, airplane engines were noisy, which provided a lot of
feedback to the pilot," says Sarter. "Modern flight decks deprive people of some
types of sensory input. We're asking if there might be a better way to help
pilots fly safely," says Sarter. E-mail Sarter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (614) 688-5368.