Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Reducing error in high-risk automated environments

UC researcher looking to reduce error in high-risk automated environments

January 16, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) psychology professor is this year looking into improving worker performance in potentially dangerous high risk environments.

UC Associate Professor Deak Helton will be carrying out experiments to see if guided distraction improves operations in such conditions. He is a co-investigator for the Australian Research Council-funded project and is collaborating with the lead investigator Associate Professor Mark Wiggins of Macquarie University in Sydney.

``We’ll also be running tests that can help workers get back on task when something important happens,’’ Professor Helton said today.

``Guided distraction is a secondary task a person carries out during low periods of workload. For example, when an air traffic controller or such has no or low traffic to control, they may do something else to pass the time.

``This could be daydreaming or it could be another external task such as doing a word puzzle or reading. Instead of letting the person do whatever they pick, we will look at getting workers to perform a secondary task that is not too distracting or hard to snap out of. This could provide them with something to fill time that is minimally intrusive or easy to disengage from.’’

When workloads suddenly increased it could be difficult for an operator to re-engage with the primary task, Professor Helton said. The project was seeking to control the demand level of a secondary task so it was not so distracting that it led to poor primary task re-engagement.

The project will investigate whether and potentially how well this approach may work in practice. It has many applications for people like power control operators, air traffic controllers, rail operators and in medical settings such as monitoring critical care patients.

``Think about driving a car as a simple example where the consequences of not paying attention to the primary task when critical events happen are dire. We know that texting, for example, while driving a car is a bad idea,’’ he said

``Why then do people do it? Some people feel they can handle texting while driving the car. The problem with texting is it draws attention away from the primary task of driving and when something happens in the primary task that is critical, like a pedestrian walking in front of a car, the driver needs to urgently switch from the texting to driving.

``We want to find something less distracting but still interesting enough to keep people engaged when the primary task is not so demanding. In the case of driving a car, how do you make the person aware more quickly of the pedestrian? While the example of a motorist may be dramatic this can also happen in many other crucial settings.”

Professor Helton said they were getting input from utility companies on both sides of the Tasman. The project will adopt a novel strategy to assist operators in high-risk automated environments, in order to maintain their performance in low workload situations so to reduce the potential for error.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Sparks Fly: Gordon Campbell On China Steel Dumping Allegations

No doubt, officials on the China desk at MFAT have prided themselves on fashioning a niche position for New Zealand right in between the US and China – and leveraging off both of them! Well, as the Aussies would say, of MFAT: tell ‘em they’re dreaming. More>>

ALSO:

Loan Sharks: Finance Companies Found Guilty Of Breaching Fair Trading Act

Finance companies Budget Loans and Evolution Finance, run by former 1980s corporate high-flyer Allan Hawkins, have been found guilty of 106 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act for misleading 21 borrowers while enforcing loan contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Post Panama Papers: Govt To Adopt Shewan's Foreign Trust Recommendations

The government will adopt all of the recommendations from former PwC chairman John Shewan to increase disclosure and introduce a register for foreign trusts with new legislation to be introduced next month. More>>

ALSO:

The Price Of Cheese: Cheddar At Eight-Year Low

Food prices decreased 0.5 percent in the year to June 2016, influenced by lower grocery food prices (down 2.3 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. Compared with June 2015, cheese prices were down 9.5 percent, fresh milk was down 3.9 percent, and yoghurt was down 9.2 percent. More>>

ALSO:

Financial Advisers: New 'Customer-First' Obligations

Goldsmith plans to do away with the current adviser designations which he says have been "unsatisfactory" in that some advisers are obliged to disclose potential conflicts of interest and act in their customers' best interests, but others are not. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news