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Feb. 18, 2022

E235 - Can Paraplegics Walk Again With Assistance From Technology?

On this week’s show, we discuss how an app enabled a paralyzed man to walk, and take some questions from the community about the Longterm Unemployment Zone, the differences in experience gained between lab work and internships, and when you might want to consider a coursework graduate degree versus a thesis graduate degree.

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On this week’s show, we discuss how an app enabled a paralyzed man to walk, and take some questions from the community about the Longterm Unemployment Zone, the differences in experience gained between lab work and internships, and when you might want to consider a coursework graduate degree versus a thesis graduate degree.

Recorded live on February 17th, 2022, hosted by Nick Roome, Barry Kirby &  Brian McDonald.


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Hey everyone Nick here I just wanna throw in a quick warning before this week's episode my audio is not great I recording software actually pulled in the wrong feed me so it's going to be a little bit Tenney on my end thankfully Barry and Brian sound great I just want to give a little warning here so you know I'm aware of it and I don't get any emails or chats about us Hey hopefully you still enjoy the episode even despite my poor audio quality I'll make sure it doesn't happen next week thanks all for listening and here's the episode. Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody welcome back to another human factors castle recording this life on 2/17/2022 I'm your host Nick rom I'm joined today by a wonderful panel of folks up first up in the up in the top right corner we have. Hey you going to be Hey how you doing. Hey Barry I am good and down in the bottom left corner I don't I don't know it's like that the. Boxing ring I don't. Donald. Hello everyone it's good to be back like to join every few years. Yeah so Brian was last on our show for you X. P. A. in Austin back in 2018 so welcome back to the show Brian we got a great show for you all tonight we're gonna be talking about how would enable a paralyzed man to walk like a miracle and leader really answering some questions from the community about the long term unemployment zone differences in experience gained between lab work and internships and win you might want to consider a course work the graduate degree versus a thesis graduate degree but first we got some programming notes I want to I want to just say a huge thank you to our discord munity this last week has been kind of crazy in our discord on a whim I had asked kind of a. Who's here and what do you all do. Like tag everybody in our discord it's been traditionally a little quiet but man it is it is just lit up over the last week there's been a lot of great discussions job posts if you're interested in that type of thing there's a bunch of other human factors professionals from all over the world hanging out in our human factors caste discord we've been posting resources for you well cheeky comments from berry all the way all the way around lots of different discussions going on there and I just I thank you all for for participating in that chat we're gonna try to be more proactive about putting out those problems in the world and so. If you want to be part of that there's there's links all over the place in this description on our website you can find this much this time we get into the first part of the show we like to call. We like to call I don't know what that was anyway this is this is where we got excited I mentioned at the top of the show what is our news story this week so this week we talk about a spine implant allowed a paralyzed man to control legs using an app so for the first time ever and based electrical implant is allowed a paralyzed person to walk again Swiss researchers used electrical implants connected to a topic up to help Michael Mukasey become the first person to walk again after severe spinal injury that he suffered due to 2017 motorcycle accident. No this is the first time the tech has been used on a paralyzed person the type of in plant researchers at the lows that Lowe's answer university sorry broken that wrong I have also used to help the country will get is not entirely new spinal cord stimulators like the one modified for this research had been used for decades to help people manage chronic pain but this is where this application is new and innovative. Using an app that connects to the to the device and to buckle buttons in case of the pools one at wireless signal users able to select what type of motion they won't. The initial results have been stunning the on the 3 initial subjects within the first hours of therapy after implant implantation all 3 were able to move their legs they were soon able to swim cycle and stand with the help of the walk in the lab soon after they were able to move around outside the lab as well. These results have been even more spectacular given how labor intensive of these previous spinal implant research is of being. It is time season spinal cord stimulation to retort list almost 30 have been largely labor intensive and required months of working with an intensive rehabilitation team. It can be done quickly you don't need as many resources and could be applied at a much larger scale with this invitation is obviously much more work to be done making these kind of intense available to the average spinal cord injury patients this is without a doubt is a massive breaks during. Brian what do you think about having your limbs being controlled by an app. That's super cool but I am terrified of what happens if the company goes away. Because yet be able to use your limbs when he couldn't do it before amazing but like the same week I Tripoli came out the article about. From you were using a implant in their eyes so. The article states that that Barbara Campbell was walking through New York city's subway during rush hour when the world went abruptly dark she been using high tech implant in her left die thank you for a crude kind of biotic vision partially compensating for the genetic disease that renders her completely blind in the thirties. And she was about to go down the stairs when all of a sudden I heard a beep beep beep sound and that was her Argus to retinal implant system powering down the patch is a light and dark she been able to see with implants help vanished and that company also vanished so you couldn't get any updates people had to get we're trying to get MRI's and couldn't get those so is the sort of thing where I would love this to be an amazing like short term thing where someone can somehow use it for rehab and then potentially not needed anymore. But with the long term implications I mean people just have to take that into consideration when they're getting it. Probably worth the trade off of something rather than nothing for a short amount of time but who. That's terrifying Nick what are your thoughts. Yeah I. Cautionary tale right I I really do love it when technology can sort of I mean that's a technology for technology's for bridging some of those gaps in in in human performance and in this case it is because of a disability and I I love when technology can bridge those gaps in accessibility the book a book that just aired and the group of people called the monster that have enhancements in some way shape or form and this is hello this is awesome you do bring up some great points Brian about. What happens if the company goes under I think this article does kind of touch on a little bit of that they have some redundancy in physical buttons on on some interface I don't remember if it's like a control box or something but you're right it like what happens if if it does stop working customer support doesn't exist well then you got to find another company but your high and dry in that moment and it might actually be a moment's. Where. I don't know maybe it's not life and death now but like what happens if this week. Breaks down in the middle of the street and you need help from strangers to get you out of the street or on the train tracks and there's no one around or out of the way walking over train tracks there's no one around my point is it could be really inconvenient thank you for bringing up that point very I am curious as to what your thoughts on this article. So what I think it's cool I mean like really cool the fact that we've gone people who have search like trying to conditions the that literally immobilize all they have to rely on the people in such a significant way just to live in everyday life which we all know we old don't like doing that and I know a lot of people you know get over its and and learn to rely on other people well we don't have those like our independence take away so to have this sort of technology scary life changing. Well who have these injuries. But I do have questions of what the videos weight which will come in the article that encourage people to do so let's have a look at them. How must it feel to have movement happening on your body without any stimulation from you you know certainly you'll like stop moving now in the video you can see that is being controlled by it by the by enough hold on the top list but at times the person whose legs were moving it's not him holding the tablet it's somebody else a NASA going left leg right leg left leg right leg and that's just gonna feel we are truly does the film over here in the UK added whether it's it's right across the states it's a not a magical rumbles agreement called the wrong trousers and it's kind of the same whether whether the character is just it gets imprisoned in these trials of the stack get controlled by the by this little penguin and stuff I suggest you go what exactly it's not dissimilar this it was all thanks. But you know the in the control interface is how you make that work it's going to be is going quite big deal nothing will go into that in India in the main discussion to the point the the you both made around. The you know the comical business who produces all thank Mr screams for me open architecture developments it's it's the sort of stuff the it's going to be out there weeds a good folks on standards but if you don't know but I can texture than actually if companies do grow business that all is not lost and we are I think overall the deadlines going down that route this is still you know this is proper cooking and stuffy when preparing the show notes for this it's a struggle to find a design standards build standards engine 5 standards in fact as best practice around these types of because it is so cutting edge so it's going to be some some time that yet though no I think it's massively exciting. Yeah I think. You're you're absolutely right there are a lot of different things we have to consider about technology like this and you actually have some points towards the end of our discussion that I wanna make sure we touch on like cybersecurity as you mentioned open architecture and so let's let's use this you're absolutely right we did struggle quite a bit to find any relevant literature for this before the show tonight this largely reminds me of the state the exoskeletons were in just a couple years ago where there were and this lack of standards across the board for what it means to be an exoskeleton how to design an exoskeleton for human. Yeah like we're kind of at that point now where because of these types of implants these this technology we we kind of need that so what we're gonna do instead of breaking down the human factors aspect of this there's a lot of psychological issues that go on with dealing with. Yeah I think 11 way we might think about this is kind of. Maybe what someone says and what a paraplegic is going through psychologically and then. Looking at it through the lens of potentially trying to accommodate some of these when when designing it either an interface or some sort of interaction mechanism for this type of technology so do you want to jump into any of the psychological stuff. Anything else in the notes here yeah it is I mean there's nothing that the real big hits a here is. No 2 we we talk about Harvey delight you know it's it's just the same for everybody when it's clean the company because everybody's. Any injury itself is going to be unique woman of the T. because where you got the injury is gonna is gonna defer open down the spine I need to let the higher of the spine I have you have you injury means you have a different level of of a party June different level of disability so from that perspective alone everybody's interest will be different but also then the psychological effects of having that injury is is going to be different soul for every person because you gonna deal with it differently depending on a whole range of factors that will support have you got a ram do you how have you dealt with it yourself also accident was were you when was it the involved well the people being injured at the same time was it your fault was it somebody else's fault you know there's a whole lot of things from there just around the incident self and then your recovery what I which impacted the 0 year old your day to day life as it is the turn things around that so yeah there's a whole lot of things like that that really make this type of injury. Really unique to each person and we could build a map that in some way and I don't think that sort of thing truly exist yet so does does work to be done that I'm Brian is there anything in the listed items on the view that you do you think we should be having. Thank you the psychological things the biggest thing for me was just like simplicity because typically when people don't have that 0 percent like cognitive load that everyone thinks about designing for it things have to be easier to use and that's going to be incredibly hard when you're having something that's as complex as this where everyone is a little bit different how do you make that. Easy to configure without necessarily. You know taking away people's ability to change what they need to change. You know I want to jump in here because there's a couple things that stand out to me from this list of. I guess psychological. Conditions. And and some but I think a lot of us can relate to. So things like depression anxiety fatigue anger all things that many of us have experienced during the duration of this. They make. Can you imagine just for a second what it might be like yes do you know on top of that you were dealing with not being able to move parts of your body I just that to me screams like especially especially hard for those individuals right now in in these times in the unprecedented times I think there's you know it's like this compound effect of having everything going on right now but then all this on top of it and this is this the seminal research that has been around for a while on on those with. And and so you know the fact that just everything is compounding right now is I don't know it seems pretty happy and so. Coming back to the psychological side of things when you actually do sort of come up with some solution like this or a solution like we talked about earlier in last year I guess which will reference at the end it was on the being able to control access. In signals. When you come up with these type of solutions to this thing it immediately gives that person back some agency that they were. Missing and as little as it is and we'll talk about some of the. Concerns design considerations as it as it pertains to this technology here in just a minute but you know as it as it relates to giving people back their agency I think every little step absolutely help and that's just kind of awesome to see technology help reduce some of these issues. With with with psychological. Conditions so let's jump into the article normally we'd like I said we usually do like a big long breakdown the Packers issues psychological issues I think we kind of covered I do want to just kind of jump in and and talk about what's going on here because I think there is a lot to discuss as it relates to. The way in which. The interaction happens here. And so Brian I I yes I you're the chat yes put in some journals I wanna make sure that we have that we talk about this because you you brought up a good point about haptics let's talk about. Yes so just the brain can be tricked by other senses kind of easily so how can you use that year to really design a better experience I know that we can put on your glasses and touch something that looks cold because it's blue and it's not even very realistic it's pretty cartoony arm well you tell something hot and think it's cold because you see it being differently and the same way that you can trick your brain to be eating the sock chip and as long as you can hear that crunch the exact right time you're going to think it's really crispy which is kind of wild so how do you do that when you're trying to design footsteps. That's gonna be really hard but. It be crazy to see if someone could R. O. somehow implement some microphones on the feet or something so then when you're using your limbs it really does feel embodied to you and not like someone else is controlling it because you feel like you're in control. Yeah I I I am drawing a blank on what that concept is it's. It's not the phantom. Concept where the thing in the mirror it's it's it's the one where you're pairing stimuli with something else and yeah it it all comes back to that experience writing could ultimately make somebody's experience better using this type of thing if if. Everything around that interaction seems more normal and it all down the sound and the feel. There is I do wanna mention 1.. The the way in which this works because I think maybe it was mentioned in the water but I do want to call attention to it basically the way this works it's not like the person is you know controlling had a choice take on an app moving them forward they're selecting a mode and and then their legs do that based on the signals of the implant sends to their legs so they have. You know different modes presumably for walk or cycle or swim and. The legs will just do those things and so the body then has to sort prepare for those changes. You know when you start walking you. Sort of unconsciously leaned forward because walking is controlled calling and so those are types of things you have to consider when you're engaging in these different modes right start walk mode well they need to be able to know when that feedback is coming to to lean forward to get into the walk. I think. The other thing of note here is that there are backup buttons on the device itself so I guess. We're talking about the implant here I don't know if it's like sticking out of the pack or if there's controls on the side or wherever those are reachable there are presumably backup buttons and my. My question is like why are those the primary modes of. Switching. I guess. The modes it just makes it makes out part of it seems like. A little much unless those buttons are unreachable and why would you not just design something that's on your person that's hard wired in so that way you always have control and you know you can start stop whenever you want to not have to worry about the lag that comes through and anyway these are just some things that I think up there you have a whole laundry list of items you want to go to some of it yes I mean this follows on really nice from what you're saying around the design considerations because. Again the the location of how you control this this thing is is gonna be so so key to what what's going on and how you engage in that so. This is one of the the the missing beats I think out of the article of the videos that we've seen is exactly what the interface looks like weather control buttons are because I think the control buttons on the device's off cost control buttons on the Walker the team that the L. the man was using to to wait when he was doing his walking. And and so the review that the location where will these controls are is going to be absolutely key to making sure that it's a it's an accessible and usable device for home you know because you know it you don't have a perfect world all the time you're probably going to fall over some bugs will fall over so you need to be able to you know is in place for recovery and things like that when you gonna have that strength versus white issue do you do if you go basically these exoskeleton legs the S. so heavy that you then kind going left so you come use normal you know you you're great implementing imprints in the in mid differ material flaws and things like that. Hello I am full M. or you get legs that is certainly much stronger than you would actually have for normal use it gives you a. I guess you could you give you a feeling of something that maybe isn't quite right house actually touch the body is it something like you have. It fits over your your normal legs and easy struck dean so you're gonna have to think about how he struck the body do you get things like soles of the feet with the skin and and things like that it's it's and we did a little research into that already well you have a beauties using. Also limbs and things how does that solve the weapon you'll call your company so the A. M. I. set of legs it will be that they just don't look so how does that fit in and also the attachments that go into this by themselves because as you said the you go bust by receptor how do we make sure that that stays with Disney clean safe and and maintained need the materials that we get to going to be. Expensive I mean we we see the moment that you try to get materials for doing this type of thing is is going up because of the issues I'm I'm that make and and all that type of thing I'm. But then I think the you know we we keep on coming back to circle back to this this interface consideration one of the big things that worries me more than anything else is almost. It says it's being controlled by an app that's great we see on the videos that some. Somebody else has the that some details as the tablet and that's that's fine if your controlling it and you can get yourself into the motor I'm I'm moving forward now I'm going to stop full full motion go you prepare your body lean forward on that sort of stuff we don't do something else picks it up and just starts going. Some yes your leg slowly start going out from in front of you and and your just motoring forward like you like you can read all buckle whatever it is. 8.that concerns me about how you how you would either have you could do that what would happen around that but also how would you stop from that from happening is there some level of security that we need to make sure that nobody else come will call for the legs basically so I think there's a a be interesting to see hello to develop around that control I think it could be quite key saying something else to eat you got next that you think that we should be bringing out yeah I was gonna jump and that's almost like a good segue into kind of cyber security side of things I think there's huge cyber security issues that you have to think about with this and you just brought up one right there right here he is only as strong as your weakest link if you have your phone unlocked and somebody grabs it and some trolls reflects with it they can set you up in the other direction while they steal all your valuables like it. To me the app itself adds an unnecessary layer of. Controls that just I don't feel need to be there right now maybe as as the technology advances and there's more advanced controls 3 buttons on do it right cycle swim walk or are no longer the controls maybe now I want to run and I wanna run as certain miles per hour and I want to like I don't know I can think of different things like I want to walk at a slow pace or adjusting my pace to walk next to somebody that I'm with right like that that might be. Where that comes in handy later. Where you can specify some certain parameters around your movement for now I think it does introduce a lot of those complex cybersecurity issues on top of being you know being losing your phone there's there's also the potential of being hacked and why would anybody want to hack people well I think there's a lot of good reason I just you know send it if you can if you can if the fact of the break somebody and and have them in mobile then you could almost without consequence go out and do anything to them you could harm them you could steal their stuff you could I don't know hold them ransom I think there's a lot to consider with that and I know you guys have any other points in cyber security. All brands. I don't have on cyber security but due on the app because I do think that as it is right now maybe the app isn't super useful but using phones is one of the key ways blind people navigate these days they use their phone for everything for screen readers for like just navigation for letting people know what's in their hands and stuff and so adding that phone Bluetooth into this I could see as Gleb being leveraged really well in the future. It does require a lot of security but that's the same thing for other things like if you. Steal someone's phone. That's just where bodily autonomy is going to have to be huge. Important. Very any any last comments on this story yeah I think just to use or right both of them and I think the cyber security issue is is insignificant we might not be anything truly malicious in that in that respect as well but could you imagine having a lawsuit by the you've got it all your for your friends you you what your friends using this you will have a few drinks around the party and then so besides it's a fun idea to make the. Routed to take the that that the screen of the tablet and have a go with your mates legs and see what's going on so it could be as simple as that that would that would seem to only 640 the time would actually be quite traumatic quite traumatic experience so I think this idea of the. You know open architectures and stuff like that is. Yes it it's gone a lot but I believe he does need to be thing I don't think I have thought about quite low fundamentally I still think it's a very exciting thing and its lead to the the leading edge of some reading reading reading inspirational research I think it's good to go got a long way to go before it's actually truly something that can be seen as a you know but so something available on the market. Yeah I agree Brian any last thoughts on this one. No I think we just a cover to. Yeah for me I think I think we brought up a lot of issues with the design of the app and sort of the practical nature of having something like this. I was honestly worried that we wouldn't have enough content to cover but we I think just about beat this thing into the ground so thank you to our patrons this week for selecting the topic and thank you to our friends over at futurism and NBC news our news story this week you will follow along we do post links to all the original articles on our weekly round ups on our blog also during the summer slack or discord for more discussion on the stories we're gonna take a quick break and we'll be back to see what's going on in the human factors community right after this. Human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. 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Everything going forward I want to let you all know what's going on with the support that you are given to us everything that we get going forward is going to be put back into the show one way or another and some exciting ways we can have a road map for where those where that support goes long term you know we're not pocketing the money at this point we are kind of putting it into other things like I said you know we'll we'll put it into some more advanced transcription software that will sort of make this more accessible for. You know the the hearing impaired and so there there's other pathways that we are going to use your support to help bring the show to other people I do imagine the patriarch has some other fun stuff too we we always mention the human factors minute but we do have full audio versions of the podcast what does that mean normally we do a pre show and post show that you would get less you're watching our live streams or check them out after the fact but you do get that is an audio version your. We do host weekly Q. and A.'s so a lot of times we'll get some questions from our patrons that we prioritize for the show and then we also early access to the show by a couple hours so you know I produce that one first send it out and kind of weight on the other one and that's our patrons get the show first and if the full version first so. There's that and then we also have bonus content that we release from time to time so I can we get our full revamp of our nice pretty logo you see everywhere. With our patients everything including all the design process in those so yes use thank you as always to our patrons let's see they they keep the show running literally thank you all so much for your continued support let's go ahead and get into this next part of the show. That's right let's switch gears get you it came from this week is a little interesting so last week on the show our audio got cut off right at the end at the tail end of our it came from. We got like the reading of this in but I edited that out for obvious reasons because our answers were in and so we have 3 tonight one of them is from right at the other 2 actually came from discord so this would be fine. Let's get into this first one here it's from hi Jim corgi on the user experience sub reddit yeah right Hey all I'm a career changer in U. acts and spot on despite a lot of effort I recently reached long term unemployment zone. There's a lot of contacts you're gonna skip over some of it but basically. You know their question here is how can I solve some of my assumed weaknesses has a U. acts applicant they're having a difficult time obviously applying for sorry getting a job in that long term unemployment zone. They they go through a lot of different assumptions here about what they think might be holding them back and some you know things they might do to address some of those issues. But I want to ask you guys and and I'll start with the area on this one since since you answered this last week I want to ask you. Let's see how how would you tackle that long term unemployment and. I don't know how do you how do you sort of self reflect. Well touch wood so far then I'm I'm looking if not to have that significant period of unemployment but the our study talked and worked with a number of people who how and and fundamentally it's about you did okay kept trying and keep itself relevant and it's it's a difficult thing to do because the the country code he saw highlights that they've been. Their job is to you as well which is quite significant period of time the they put this all got that one will be case 3 that they keep on keep on giving out and we do you do you if you don't get and don't be deployed then you know that there is going to work to do there is the engagement in community there is just put yourself out there do you do you can try and get on with but you've also to keep your. Your mental agility up I guess so is your motivation going because it can be quite quite depressed saying quite you know you've got nowhere else to go you keep on looking on in on the cell so you gotta try working keep yourself motivated the flipside is true as well that effectually you you know you get good positive experience but you still not getting the jobs are you going for the rental jobs are you is that should you be broadening your scope maybe to something that isn't just trying to look at some U. X. because actually you X. is a small foster told the entire balance of human factors and ergonomics. Could you be broadening your a gold bonding your outlook a bit I'm I'm and and fundamentally to. Keep going at it because certainly right at this moment in time in the U. K. so if you have missing from U. K. this is really useful the M. there are more human factors jobs out there that there are your fax practitioners and so the the man in many ways should just keep going with it but it's it's it's hard work it's it's not an easy thing to do and having worked with a few people M. as a mental. Try to get them through through that period it's not mental battle I think the ease is the hardest thing to deal with keep going. Mmhm what are you next have you got experience in this area. I don't have experience in long term unemployment zone I I will just echo a couple points here I think you answered pretty similarly to how you did it last week there's a good. There's a couple points that I want to make here one is that I think the this person who's commented on this reddit post. I think they're already on the right track of kind of looking at that self reflecting is is really important but the other piece of it that I think is also really important is staying engaged. There are things in which you can do that are still kind of. I know you're you're engaging with your community and so if you go to conferences in the U. acts are human factors space if you go to if you if you're part of sort of these committees that happened you can still sort of. Nationally continue your career and do stuff meaningful to a society or 8 an organization that might sort of fill in some of those long term unemployment gaps you're also network through those things and I know it's hard right now because everything's virtual but going to those events and I know it's it's kind of sunken cost because you don't have a job you're probably tight on money but going to a conference can really really help especially when you get face to face with other people you never know who you're gonna say oh Hey I'm hiring also by the way you rejected caste discord channel someone's hiring so go check that out and so like you know there there are avenues that you can do that you can look into. Especially for trying to keep up that. Continued. Efforts involvement in your profession. I'm I'm in the shop now I'm here with Brian has to say about this. Yes so I kind of want to talk about Barry's point for a second where he's like there's a lot of different ways you can go into U. S. I think that's really true like me my partner both went to the same grad school but I'm a UX designer and she's U. X. researcher I have a design background she is a psych background so where really are your strengths and then kind of figure out where you can go there and there with Nick like ivory there are a lot of really awesome virtual conferences that you can go to for free that is one good thing that the pandemic has done is that it's a lot more virtual free events than they were previously and yeah it's not necessarily as good as face to face but you can still talk to a lot of people you can still make an impact to make some friends. And the yeah one of the things they said was that they had a strong idea for local nonprofit but if you did the work it's doing to find it does and high risk car ward but do they need it does no I think that's awesome to go figure out a good volunteer opportunity and get a really good portfolio piece from that even if nothing comes from it you can still say I worked with this company I did this work here's this awesome work and that plus Polish on the portfolio I think that's one of the biggest things you really do need to crank that thing up to 11 because people don't look at it for very long I know one thing I had to do after I graduated because I graduated in. December of 2019 and I took a few months off. Who are my portfolio independent happened so I certainly understand applying to jobs and build pandemic it's not fun but if you can work on that portfolio and take those projects even further. That really helps out a lot. Yeah good answers all right let's get into this next one here this was actually from our discord from Vanessa who is also he trip so I'm gonna I'm gonna read this one full year of anyone can speak to this please let me know looking to be offered a user experience research internship last semester I am currently in an internship that is outside of the human factor scope I am now also being considered for a government agency V. R. centric internship my question is does it look better to have the mix of lab an internship experience or to learn more heavily lean more heavily into one or the other and so I'm I'm gonna pass this over to Brian first do you have kind of an X. any experience with a mix of lab an internship work and what's your opinion on this I mean my opinion is what do you want to do afterwards with it if you really want to work for like some sort of labs and go for that lab work but if you want to work for a different type of company go for that internship. I think that's kind of my biggest thing I had a little bit of lab consultancy testing but I think having that internship at a different company also gives you that edge. What are your thoughts berry. I think that if it's only things if they know exactly what it is they want to do in the car driving passion to go and do that do this one thing go with whatever suits up closest however. We'll miss you go about Dr then do whatever you can to mix it up because they're having a broad range of experience he said he's early on in your career was you come I'm you might go in thinking I'm going to do X. but actually you think I've just found that I'm gonna do I'm gonna do this instead I mean that's kind of how it was for me when I first I'd you know my background is going to control and Jerry but does this one module on the coast it was all around it and we'll do we design at that point and to graphical user interfaces that would double program in seen in like many years ago and actually this is really good for them not just that one little bit then spiraled into into other stuff so for me it's about getting a broader range of experiences possible so I will go for anything you can do to to mix it up and that will give you a gold record a life experience to then go make some decisions that you don't really need to make a trip for another year or so local P. as yep. Yeah okay. Re sites my my answers with maybe some little bit of elaboration so I am also go for the mix because you never know what skills are going to be applicable to your end job right you might have a situation where maybe as an internship they give you a little bit more I don't know agency within within the company you also. In a lab you might actually have some project management going on if you are a grad student and so think about these types of things think about what types of skills you can get for each of these opportunities and kind of how they sort of play into your end goal in it could really help like let's say you do ultimately want to get into VR will then I would look into that PR internship because it makes it a lot easier to jump from the art of the R. then I don't know say like automotive design to be our it could be the difference between getting into the field and not. That's just my $0.2 we have time for one more let's get into this one this one 's by the any also a patron in our discord go figure. Yeah you're right what does everyone think about coursework master's degree versus thesis masters. With the former be sufficient if I'm just looking to enrich myself of human factors knowledge to apply for human factors related job or should I pursue a thesis master's degree very how do things work in the UK and and do they have a non thesis option in in grad school do you know yeah I know we do we even have to do a a toll group as of its old masters or a research masters I think it's great they see the leak Rivlin's. And Amanda my wife is doing. I'm human factors I'm told we had taught masters right now so but that was a deliberate decision we both talked about both went through and not look at the pros and cons well because we because again because we miss university thank you. The we were so we both got this engineer background she since she's been in the business for so long she she finally decided she wanted to learn something about this stuff and it was no point for my my belief is open going trying to research masters if you want to learn skills so I will post strongly encourage the idea of going down this may go down as a toll must is the difference in U. K. is there is no current me Connie there's no undergraduate degrees for human factors a toll it was one of 2 they now dried up and so you have to go get a first degree and then to get you'll give affected to greet you then have to their all masters regardless and this will be going on around the green friendships but that's that's coming in the future. So yes Sir I would personally I would go down the coast webmasters unless you wanna go do research human factors job they don't see that then goes into it so I just go in that because the quick it it depends at the end. Yes. So I mean my incredibly biased answer is that I got a coursework masters and that's worked very well in the market professionally however I didn't want to become a PhD I didn't want to go to that next research level if you do things look at the thesis but otherwise I think the course work. Is just as good if not better because I have heard it's easier course I only took one not too so I don't have any comparison but it seems to work very well in the market and so yeah I wouldn't really worry about it. What do you think next yeah you guys know my answers look I think it really does come down to you. Depends I actually put this in our discord I mean it making it depends partly because it really does on what the outcome you want from it is your I'm sure where you want to go whether it's academia or industry and I would say err on the side of caution and go with the thesis because that will give you sort of the appreciation for the I guess. Rigor that it takes to do scientific research and you will always kind of have that option to continue your line of research in academia and it's still a pretty. Relatively easy jump and industry basis or not if you are dead set on being in this for you know for sure you don't want to be in academia I would say go with. The the the self taught non thesis option because then you're saving yourself time because a lot of these are not done in 2 years. And you know you can get in and out with course work in 2 years and that's. That's time that you won't get back so unless you're super passionate about all right that'll do it for it came from this week let's just get into this next on the show we call one more thing Brian it's been a while since we have caught up with you what is your one more thing. Yeah my one more thing. And my teen reality hack and XR hackathon is back so I'll be going to that in March and I'm super excited to actually like any other humans into masks and vaccinated area but also get to play with a bunch of cool headsets and tack. Can you please come back on the show and tell us all about. It's awesome. It was a good time last time great I'm so. There it with your one more thing this week but I'm gonna go for my usual thing and have a 2 for. 30 minutes just yesterday I presented with H. I. V. as on climb again make so if you're a member of H. I. V. as in go back and see the recording that he's good usually was a whole heap of fun but more importantly the LA rams in the Superbowl and Sir so there we go I am most interested we got this it took me 2 days to watch because I see here in the UK it was a model of an echo of the night Kay Coles but then I think I could work out with the 2 sleep beforehand and then watch the game what's the game and that's exactly what I was in a hotel because I was I was doing so user trials and expects and so I thought that the worst of both worlds I watched to halftime then fell asleep. And then so the next next morning woke up because I find a doctor will check on that I could watch that but then go ahead meetings hosting the morning so I go to the top with 10 minutes to go how to stop going to my business meetings for the day then drive home a name what's the last 5 minutes which were very exciting 5 minutes of the game they see that evening and I never got to actually see the the the halftime show until last night so it's taken me a long time just what he's getting but fundamentally go rounds. Thank you I want to I want to pull the thread we have a little bit of time left I wanna call the thread on this halftime show thing I wanna get your thoughts on this because this is something that's so interesting to me because you have 2 different generations claiming that this was their show you have the Gen X. people. And you have the millennials who are both claiming that this was built for the film and it took me it's interesting because one there's sort of this generational tug of war going on and and trying to claim ownership of something that I think sort of the younger generation elder millennials both experience around the same time and to me that's just fascinating that. That we had arise these things in a way that that I don't know it just. I guess we as scientists and. People in general like to put things in the bucket I don't know what were your thoughts on it did you watch the halftime show do you think it's do you think it makes sense to pocket this. I did watch the halftime show and I think the most appropriate bucket is it related to you your old now that's kind of just what happens. I mean I saw it and I loved it and I was like. I guess I am old now. I don't. Really makes a whole lot of sense but we do like to group people whether we should or not yeah very very what are your thoughts on that whole generational divide yeah well I think it was an interesting because we've now got artists are the sponsors along as well that that I think the you know the us wrong the general gems from the sort of the end of the so the Gen X. and millennial about everything so. It was brilliant to watch and I think it was it was just fun I mean my my kids so worked as well and they will and they like so what comes up to let you Gen Y.. Easement yep and they. And so even they were sort of sent actually know that service of that music was was it was as well so and you might go down and it's it's definitely not yours. So naive it was good I mean what was also good to see around the show was more people enjoying themselves you know with with what we've been through I don't know did you see and just saying oh that's a lot of people together in a very small space not wearing my. You are you still have the so we'll shop reacted now every time you see a. Thanks who was also cool wheels so what's gone on and on you tube and it then automatically on the playlist jump straight into each of the previous years and I think he went back to a Super Bowl 50 and but there was loads of people lots and lots and lots of people crammed then do this I was like well you will get that nowadays. Yeah but do you believe can you really do some of that stuff a new person shake their hand without it like crazy. Before the bodies the rams. My my one word thing this week is is I guess I'm interesting so it's it's also tough to talk about it because I mentioned on the show a couple last month that I was seeking I talk how I surfaced in the pre show but I I am now medicated for what I suspect was ADHD and I am ready sure that's the case after taking some of these meds they've taken awhile to kick in however I have had the most productive 2 weeks of my life the last 2 weeks I am very is like so much more attentive to everything going on. Yeah and this even goes back to the show that Darian I did last week but was planned for the previous week I guess that's what 2 weeks now I had actually done the show notes on a Wednesday night because I went to the polls and said okay yeah that's probably gonna be this you know it's not gonna really change I went through I did all the show notes I said here you go I scared him away and and and then we can do the show the next day and so the the short answer ready for weeks but yeah I mean I've I've just come off the best 2 weeks both professionally and personally and in my own life with getting everything organized like I. I guess you know like doing dishes and cleaning the living room are no longer issues for me because I'm not in my head about something else and same thing with doing things that are in some days are better than others but anyway all this to say it's just like the S. 8 to go if yeah if you think something or maybe a year like you do everybody suffer like this is everybody function this way. You know maybe talk to somebody about it and if you need to talk to somebody about their experience feel free to reach out to me I'm I'm a slacker or just your discord happy to talk about mine with you so with that PSA out of the way that's gonna be it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of the story this week if you have a discussion about the psychology behind this sort of the legion and controlling your body with other devices then go go listen to episode 205 that's what Blake and the least broke down driving. With brain signals interesting stuff come out wherever you're listening with what you think of the way this week for more in this in depth discussion join us on our discord community we actually started the voice chat earlier this week as one. We always visit our official website sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all factors news you like what you hear your support. Ways you can one leave us a 5 star review wherever you're at right now if that 5 star leave us a review I would be able to get to tell your friends about it what about this really how we grow and 3 if you're able to consider supporting us on Patreon we do put all that money right back into the show might actually help others find the show for things like you know A. I. transcription services as always we saw our socials. In the website are gonna be in the description of this episode I don't think Mr Brian McDonald for being on the show today this year I guess I should say working out listeners going fine you if if they want to hear more from you. Yeah well since I have a very generic name I like to start my middle initial in there so on pretty much all the things on Twitter Brian C. McDonald linked in the same and my website is Brian C. easy enough okay Mister Baker you for being on the show today work on listeners going find you. I am around the Twitter and other social but for the many of the files of disk okay and check me out my focus to travel to Cuba parts forecast for the 2 put customer call. As for me I mean her neck road you can find me on social media at Nick _ road thanks again everyone for tuning into human factors gas until next time.

Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.

Brian McDonaldProfile Photo

Brian McDonald

As a product designer with research experience, I know how to create products and experiences for people using research.

I think holistically about problems, talking to engineers and clients to figure out what needs to get built and how to get there.

I have a Masters Degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University, and a Bachelors of Science in Industrial and Product Design from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

In my free time, when I’m not playing in VR, I enjoy biking on mountain trails, making art, and taking photographs of adventures.