162 Reflections Projections

As my 162 class wrapped up this week, we were asked us our thoughts on the class and the future. The class gave me a lot to think about how humans and machines interact and how to design with the human in mind. Most engineers approach a problem with a set of requirements for the machine and proceed to design the system to meet those requirements. However, there is more to designing the machine than just meeting the requirements. The machine has to have a usable interface, it must convey information in an organized fashion while not overwhelming the user with too much information or leave the user wanting more by providing too little information. There must be thought put into colors, sounds and alerts. Additionally, users emotions must be considered when using a product…there may be times that the product designed must solicit certain reactions from a user…other times, it just needs to function as designed. All of these aspects are important when looking at human-machine systems.

As far as topics to add to the course, it would have been nice to see anthropometrics a bit more in the class…even though it is taught in other courses, it is an important enough topic to include again. Additionally, signal detection theory would have been nice to spend additional time on. I feel like I didn’t fully get it when we went over it and there could have been more of it tied into projects. As far as removing items…perhaps remove some of the material on IoT and Big Data. Both are subjects that seem to be familiar to most people at this point. If you wanted to keep them, maybe include a project on them that utilized looking at twitter data or something to keep it interesting. Another item worth considering to remove is task analysis from every project…while it was ok to learn about again and do a few times, it seemed like every project had task analysis as a bulk of the work. While important, it became a tedious task vs. a good learning exercise.

For the future of human-machine-systems-design, I believe there will be continued trend to cloud infrastructure for software based platforms and a steady elimination of buttons/dials/knobs from everyday objects as we transition to touchscreens and eventually voice control. I am not a fan of that path, but I see it happening already with vehicles and products at home. As far as who will be doing the designing, I believe humans will still have a role in creating systems, however there will be tool to aid us. Sort of a human building a machine that builds a machine type of thing. This concept will also be important if humans move beyond Earth in the future. We may design systems and machines that can build “stuff” on far off planets, such as buildings, roads, etc. We will not want to send a multitude of machines to these places, but instead only a few that can do everything or build what they need.

Overall, I enjoyed the class. It got me to think about new things I had not considered, such as emotive displays and chatbots, as design elements that can be used as I work in the future.

Thanks for the great class James.


Posted on December 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm

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