ICAT Learning Studio (253A) in the Moss Arts Center
Cognitive Engineering Research in Safety-Critical Systems in Virginia Tech
Speaker: Dr. Nathan Lau
This presentation provides an overview of the research at the Virginia Cognitive Systems Engineering (VACSE) Laboratory recently established at Virginia Tech. VACSE focuses on basic and applied research that can gradually transfer to support safety-critical systems typically regulated by government. VACSE works closely with the nuclear power industry to enhance their user interfaces for improving operator situation awareness and decision making. The laboratory also to integrates a range of human performance measurements - eye-movements, workload, stress, confidence, situation awareness, task performance, and system performance - for assessing nuclear power plant operator competency during licensing examination. Beside the nuclear industry, VACSE performs research in health care to enhance collaborative design making and manufacturing to improve inspection processes. In the future, VACSE hopes to bring the nuclear power control room into the virtual environment - the CUBE - introducing a new form of user interface for control rooms in heavy industries.
Dr. Lau is an Assistant Professor at the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech since 2014. His primary research interests are human-automation interaction, human-machine interface, and human performance assessment in safety-critical systems.
He received his BASc and PhD degrees from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2004 and 2012, respectively. Prior to joining the Virginia Tech, he was a Senior Scientist at the University of Virginia from 2012 to 2014, studying Human Factors in cyber security of remotely piloted aircrafts, artificial pancreas for adolescents, and human performance in nuclear power plant main control rooms. He conducted research at the OECD Halden Reactor Project, where he developed ecological displays for a full-scope nuclear power plant simulator and situation awareness measures for representative process control settings. He also worked as a human factors engineer at NuScale Power Inc. and interface designer at Acuite Advanced Process Graphics.