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Human Factors Research at Indian Institute of Technology Indore

Forward-thinking individuals keep a continual 'pulse check' on the new avenues of learning, ensuring that the process of acquiring knowledge is enhanced through active involvement in various scientific activities happening around. In the pursuit of addressing underlying concerns of Human Factors and Applied Cognition in real life issues through empirical experimentation, the 'Focused Research Group in Human Factors of IIT Indore appreciates collaborative efforts. Our research involves application of theoretical and practical knowledge of human factors in addressing real-world problems. We perform applied research with scientific rigor and are passionate about research projects and consultancy that will have social implications. Our research concentrates on broad domains of: Interaction, Transport, Performance, Innovation, and Social System Design. Our research facility is proud of various visionary endeavors with the flavor of interdisciplinarity. We enjoy the experience of collaborative work. It has always been a wonderful experience to interact with the student pool of curious minds coming from various parts of the country. The queries from the participants of our research provide us an opportunity to share knowledge of Human Factors with the emphasis on the relevance of day-to-day issues that we encounter. We make efforts to interact with researchers and practitioners with different professional backgrounds and welcome ideas from motivated individuals.

Foci of Current Research

Cognitive Ergonomics
Understanding of human cognition remains crucial and challenging in the pursuit of technological improvement and utilization of human capabilities. Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. The relevant topics include mental workload, decision-making, skilled performance, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training as these may relate to human-system design. Cognitive ergonomics studies cognition in work and operational settings, in order to optimize human well-being and system performance. Issues related to human and system reliability have gained special attention of the researchers because of its wide application in operative settings. In today's technologically advanced society, complex systems require operators to exhibit high-performance skills. The findings of this line of research will have implications in various complex technological systems such as flying an aircraft, monitoring large-scale process control and power plants, managing air traffic, or it could be interacting with computing devices. Specific area of research such as visual ergonomics is gaining popularity. It is a multidisciplinary scientific enterprise concerned with understanding human visual processes and the interactions between humans and other elements of a system. Visual ergonomics applies theories, knowledge and methods to the design and assessment of systems, optimizing human well-being and overall system performance. Relevant topics include, among others: the visual environment, such as lighting; visually demanding work and other tasks; visual function and performance; visual comfort and safety; optical corrections and other assistive tools.

Human-Computer Interaction
Human-computer interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, design and uses of the interaction between people (users) and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design, and several other fields of study.

Social System Design
Social (system) design is used interchangeably among different disciplines, some use it as design for a better and more sustainable world or for human well-being, others refer to a process where social design is rooted in a participatory or human-centered design processes. Irrespective of diverse definitions, demonstrating the value of design by innovating and tackling social issues, is an important endeavor in today's complex world.

Ongoing Doctoral Research

Affective Science
Affective Science seeks to bring together the disciplines which study the biological, psychological, and social dimensions of affect. Research over the last two decades suggests that many phenomena, ranging from individual cognitive processing to social and collective behavior, cannot be understood without taking into account the affective determinants (i.e. motives, attitudes, moods, and emotions). These determinants we studied through hybrid approach that involves the traditional methods of self-report, along with physiological measures, automated video analysis etc. Scientific investigations in this area include addressing following questions. How emotion science can be leveraged to enhance harmony and user satisfaction in media multitasking scenario? Is there any link between emotion and human error? How people cope up with emotional labor? How new advances in mobile technology can be used to assess emotional and physiological changes relevant to physical and mental health?

Automotive Human Factors
Driver-Vehicle Interaction is an important domain of Human Factors Research. Driving is a maneuver which involves multitasking and the operator needs to be highly alert in performing those maneuvers which involve multitasking. Driving is a collection of interdependent subtasks that will often concurrently call upon the same resources. The basic subtasks that are required for a successful driving include navigation, speed control, lane keeping, visual orientation and motor control. Driving becomes more complex in dense traffic situations where the driver needs to perform few more maneuvers that involve a number of subtasks and in which many decisions must be taken in a short period include overtaking, merging into the stream, negotiating a complex curve, and handling an intersection. Now-a-days, the vehicles itself are full of distractions (viz., adjusting climate control, GIS, media players, video games etc.) so are the roads (like, video advertising, reading bill boards, looking at previous crashes) all diverts the attention of the driver from the primary task of driving. We are in the process of exploring the relationship between the different distraction modalities, be it visual or auditory, and the driving errors or crashes. It will be also explored whether the in-vehicle or out-vehicle distractions contribute more in causing driving errors.

Focused Research Group in Human Factors

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