From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics and Plane Crash Survival; Older Drivers; Panini Keypad; Neural Ergonomics

Ergonomics Credited in Young Boy’s Plane Crash Survival

It’s probably too early to really know the circumstances that led to the unlikely survival of a 10 year old boy in the crash of an Afriqiya plane on its approach to Tripoli, Libya, but in a interview, UK ergonomist Rachel Grant noted that seat design likely played a role.

Researchers say that 9-year-old Ruben van Assouw, the sole survivor of a Libyan airliner crash Wednesday may not have survived by sheer luck alone.

Rachel Grant of the UK’s Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute told Fox News, “the issue is about seat structure and the ‘safety envelope.”

What happens to a person’s body on impact is determined by the size and weight of a person.

Read the full research paper …


Study Analyzes Accident and Injury Characteristics Among Older Drivers

A Kansas State University graduate student, Perera Hewage Loshaka Kumara, analyzed accident data to identify characteristics of older drivers involved in crashes. Among his findings:

As a result of the natural aging process, the possibility of older drivers being involved in crashes and sustaining severe injuries increases, according to past findings.

… injury severity of older drivers in crashes occurring on rural roads was significantly higher compared to those on urban roads.

According to the findings, the number of older male drivers involved in crashes was higher compared to older female drivers, even though older driver licensees’ data indicate the opposite. Most of the older-driver-involved crashes occurred under good environmental conditions and at intersections. A majority of older drivers had difficulties associated with left- turn maneuvering and preferred to avoid high-traffic roads and other demanding conditions. Exposure to inclement weather conditions and difficulties associated with merging, diverging, and identifying speeds and distance of oncoming traffic have lead to higher crash propensity. In rural areas, driving in the wrong direction, failing to comply with traffic signs and signals, and speeding were identified as frequent contributing factors in high severe crashes.

Read the full article …


Panini-Keypad to Foster Faster Texting

In my February 2, 2010 Ergonomics Roundup article, I highlighted an Indian company, Luna Ergonomics, who has pioneered the "Panini Keypad" (in honor of the Indian Sanskrit grammarian, not the Italian sandwich). It looks like they are gaining momentum:

A new practical mobile phone keyboard which aims to allow users to text rapidly and conveniently is starting to pull the attention of telecom companies, local mobile operators, and venture capitalists …

… Advertised as ‘clever texting’ outside the Indian land, the commonly known the ‘statistical predictive texting’ technology was described as the “first ergonomic keypad for the mobile phone” by the Ergonomics Society based in the UK.

I don’t know enough about the technology to know whether or not that statement is valid, but I’d sure like to see it action to better understand what value it could bring to mobile phone texting.

Read the full article …


Neural Ergonomics?

I came across this in a blog, with no author attribution, then traced it back to a software company called Promptoria, but was still unable to find who wrote it (other materials on the site are attributed to Milo Bono, though). It’s rather long, and I tried reading through it several times, but it strikes me as some sort of "new age mumbo-jumbo." No wonder the general population has a hard time understanding ergonomics. This screed features lots of flowery, non-specific language, but I couldn’t find a clear statement of exactly what they mean by "neural ergonomics."

Maybe you can figure it out …

Neural Ergonomics applies Ergonomic reasoning to support natural function of the brain’s Neuroplasticity. Many harmful forces are generated, both internally and externally, that disrupt this natural function. There is in fact an optimal approach to thinking that can nullify these harmful forces while simultaneously removing the impediments to mental clarity. Everyone could significantly raise their overall level of awareness by learning to harmonize their thinking with Neural Ergonomic principles …

… Ergonomics does not address WHAT activities the body engages in, it’s all about HOW to best utilize the body’s inherent mechanical design to maximize performance of any physical activity.

Hmmm … is that so?

Likewise, Neural Ergonomics is not about WHAT to think, it’s all about HOW to leverage the brain’s inherent functional design to maximize the performance of thinking itself – regardless of subject matter.

Practicing Neural Ergonomics develops a highly sensitized self-awareness of our own thinking, and awareness of the forces of the world outside the mind that influence and hinder the performance of thinking.

Read the full screed …