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Jan. 6, 2023

E269 - Hindenburg's Heir - Airships are back!

This week on the show, we talk about how technology is finally good enough for an Airship Revival. We also answer some questions from the community about job titles, democratizing research, and some of our reading recommendations to start off 2023.


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Transcript

Welcome to Human Factors cast your weekly podcast for Human Factors Psychology and Design.


Can you believe leave it's 2023 already? We're recording this live on January 5, 2023. This is episode 269. Nice. This is human factors. Cast I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby, starting with you on Happy New Year, Nick. I hope you had a fantastic holiday. It's great to be back. It is great to be back. Barry, I am so thrilled to see you here today with your bright and shining face, ignoring some of my inappropriate jokes I make right at the top. We got a great show for you you all. Tonight we're going to be talking about how the tech is finally good enough for an Airship revival. And later, we're going to be answering some questions from the community about job titles, what we think about democratizing research, and some of our favorite reading recommendations. But first, we got some programming notes here. Hey, did you know that we have been doing an entire patreon refresh? We mentioned this briefly before we went on break, but we've updated some of the role titles to be a little bit more, I don't know, exclusive alluring. But we've also clarified a lot of the benefits going on with our patreon. I think there's some roles that historically haven't really had a whole lot of extra benefits for the cost that was associated with them. And to remedy that, we've been sort of adding in some of these additional benefits. Human Factors Cast Academy is one of those new benefits, and that's an active development. That's where we're sort of developing courses behind the scenes. You subscribe as a patreon at a certain tier, and you get access to all that resource. That's not just classes that we put together, but that's like actual resources that we come across in our day to day. We're just throwing everything up there available for you as something that you have as a reference. So now is a great time to become a patron. If your New Year's resolution is, hey, I want to support a small independent Human Factors podcast that is encouraging pro social science communication in the field of human Factors, then now's your time. Barry, what's up at twelve two? In twelve two? We're still back in 2022. So we've got the 2022 recap where we go over some of the statistics and what people have been listening to, some of the most popular episodes, and generally just a general good look back into that. 2023, though, is looking quite cool. I've got some interviews lined up in January. We'll have the look into 2023, and there's going to be some really cool interviews coming in. So they're all just being organized and finalized as we speak. So, yeah, quite excited about that. Can I just say that I'm proud of you for what you've done over at twelve two. You've really broken into a lot of new, different types of media. Video being one of them, shorts being another one of them. I'm just proud of you. And I don't say that enough, it's your fault. Because if you had to raise the standard over here so high, then I would have felt I had to do it. But no, you pushed out there. But no, I appreciate that. Yes, I am proud of you, Barry. And now let's get into the part of the show. I'm so excited for it's.


Yes, this is the part of the show all about human factors. News is today's story all about air ships. Air ships. Air ships. Air ships. What's the story? This week? We're going to talk about chat GBT. Now, this week we talked about the tech thanks to Nick finally good enough on airship revival. So in the early half of the 19 hundreds airships were seen as a huge advancing technology able to carry huge weight over long distances. But the huge crews needed and the slow speed was seen as a major problem. Then with the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 and advances made during World War II in aircraft technology, they pretty much consigned the airship to history, with the exceptions being around advertising and sightseeing, however lighterthanair. LTA research based in Mountain View in California thinks it's time for a revival and they are working on a new generation of airships. The company believes that airships have the potential to be used in humanitarian relief missions due to their ability to stay alive for long periods of time, their long range, and their ability to carry significant payloads. LTA's. Pathfinder One airship is 120 meters long, 20 meters in diameter, and is expected to carry around four tons of cargo. In addition to its crew water, ballast and fuel, the Escheet will have a top speed of 65 knots and a sustained crew speed of 35 to 40 knots. Pathfinder Warning is made with carbon fiber tubes attached, attached to titanium hubs and has an outer covering made of three layer laminate of synthetics. The airship also has twelve electric motors for proportion and is controlled by a fly by wire system. Additionally, Pathfinder One is equipped with LiDAR sensors and a weather radar system. So Nick, what are your thoughts on being able to take an airship to conference next year rather than just a flight? Let's go. I'm so excited. Let me tell a little anecdote that I didn't have planned for this, but at one point during a Halloween season, a group of us, in fact one of the original hosts of the show, Billy He, put together a group and we all kind of dressed up as steampunk characters. And as part of this we had to create a backstory. I was an airship captain, so I'm a little bit partial to this. So I mean, you can see where my love for this comes from, but I love this. This is awesome. Can we be the first human Factors podcast to broadcast live from an airship. I would love to do this for H FES 2023. Let's reach out to leadership to see if we can do it, but only if we could get the Human Factors cast logo on the side of the air. Oh, that's it. That's it. Oh, man. How expensive would that be? Barry, what are your sort of thoughts around this? So I think it's purely from the airship bit alone. I think it's brilliant. I do think there is something quite majestic and awesome about the way that airship you've got fast jets, you've got hot air balloons, that kind of directionless, they're just wafting the wind. You've got all different helicopters and stuff, but they're all really manic. We just need to get to where we're going. We need to do it quickly and there and then whereas airships themselves just it's not like a hot air balloon. They've got motion in the right direction, they go and crack on, do what they're doing, and they get there quite sedately. But they are big, sort of almost ponderous machines. So from that perspective and what we've heard in the article about the way that they're using new technologies, the whole fly by wire system I think is really interesting and the impact of that will have for safety and things like that. But I can't help coming back to you. This is where my bucket of pessimism gets through and I love this story is why truly, what is the cost effective use case of these? And I think this might be what we need to sort of get into a bit for me is what value does this give you over a jet, over an airplane, over other different hot air balloon? Why is it good? What added value does it give you apart from just being really cool? Yeah, I got you covered. I can't wait. Teach me sustained operations. That's the key here. With a helicopter or an airplane, without needing to refuel, you don't have the ability to do sustained operations. Also with an airship, you can also use it as sort of a central command base almost in a lot of ways. If it's in the sky, kind of positioned where it needs to be, you have access to see what's going on below you. Right. And I think that's why this company here is looking at sort of using an airship in a humanitarian aid use case. Outside of that, let's talk through a couple of other use cases. We'll come back to the humanitarian aid because it's a really interesting one that carries a lot of interesting human factors considerations, for sure. But let's talk about some of the other things that we can do with airships. Right, so you mentioned it in the blurb advertising. You see a good year blimp across every football field, every game. It's part of the show. You get an aerial view from the goodyear blimp. It's front and center. Everyone in that stadium can see that blimp flying around aerial advertising. Right. With the cameras on board and stuff. I would imagine it's a lot more of a stable platform than, say, a UAV, something with propellers on it that obviously will have a certain amount of vibration and things like that. And we know that UAVs at the moment still have a relatively short period in the air when they want to do stuff. So yes, as a platform for photography and for just being visited, once you got the Human Factors cast logo on the side of it, everybody will know about it. Right, exactly. And you're right. I mean, even with helicopters, there's still some vibration there, although the camera systems on board, those are typically compensated for it and they usually don't have a whole lot of issues and can take a lot more, I guess, unique pathways, let's say, and faster pathways than something that is slow and sluggish. But I think there is still if you need a stationary camera on something, that brings me to my next point. Surveillance and mapping, right. Let's say you can equip it with cameras, other sensors. It can be used for mapping, environmental monitoring, surveillance. Like I mentioned, just looking at various things and I think from the perspective of intelligence, what's to say that you couldn't park this at the border of a country, in the airspace of the bordering country, and just for months, like, just park it there? It's not really subtle though, is it? No, it's not. I mean, I didn't say it's technical. No, but I think this is because most people sort of look at this and think of and certainly I did, as you got military application in the grand scheme of things, I think not, because there are just too many different platforms that do what it could do better and it's just a big target. But with what you're saying around being at a control center, around some sort of relief or some sort of civilian based coordination, then that has a lot of value in it. Right. You could have the USS Mercy of the sky, essentially, right, where you have this floating hospital, for lack of a better term, some way to cart folks up there. But then that also gets around the issue that the Mercy has, which it's coastal bound, where this could fly inland and park wherever it needs to, depending on what disaster is happening from a military perspective. Yeah, you're right. It's not going to have too many military purposes, but in terms of surveillance, communication, transportation, even in situations where perhaps something needs to be off the ground for a prolonged really what we're getting at here is that prolonged flight where a helicopter could do it. Is it going to be as cost effective as it's the whole speed, accuracy, cost trade off that you'd get with a helicopter versus an airship. Let's bring up some other use cases here. Telecommunications. We kind of brought up that mobile command center perspective. But think about this. What happens if this type of technology could be affordable to countries that have sort of the inability to create traditional infrastructure? What if you put a Blimp out there that was a central communications hub for that area and that was their infrastructure? That would be kind of cool. Transportation and entertainment I'm going to combine here because no one's going to use these for transportation. I think it would be cost inhibitive to do so and time inhibitive to do so. Right. The prolonged sustained operations of being able to get somewhere is there. But it would take you days, weeks, months, as opposed to airplane trip. People do go on cruises. That's the point I was going to bring up about entertainment. So if you treat them like cruise ships, then the destination isn't necessarily the location isn't necessarily the destination, but the mode of transportation is. You could build these cruise airships which would be rad. I'd be super excited about that. I think it goes without saying. But scientific research could potentially be an application here, right. You have studying the Earth's atmosphere, conducting experiments, even in microgravity, if we can get them up that high. So I mean, without the need to sort of have some sort of sustained propellant, right? I think that's the key. There agriculture, so crop dusting, irrigation, pest control, especially in countries that don't necessarily have that infrastructure that I was talking about earlier, environmental monitoring, we kind of talked a little bit about. I'm looking at a list, if it's not completely clear. I didn't come up with all these myself and I'm bringing in the relevant ones. Some of these are not great, but in terms of construction too, in terms of these places that are kind of off the grid or harder to get to, you could land an airship out there and just start building something when you don't necessarily have a cargo ship that can get out there. You can bring all of these materials up on an airship and bring them out and that can be sort of the method of getting a lot of resources to a place that has traditionally no infrastructure for transportation right. Instead of rail or road. And I guess in many ways where time isn't necessarily a critical factor or, you know, the timing well in advance, it must be fairly efficient way of doing it because once it's sort of because you'll have a certain level of momentum and it's not powered by an ion engine or anything like that. But if you can go basically long and slow and you know, you need to get a whole raft of infrastructure without much ecological or climate damage or even things like if you got into an area that maybe is noise sensitive and things like that. Just the ability for it to almost waft in land, deploy a whole bunch of capability without having to have all the damage to the infrastructure on the way in, but still build something quite substantial. Right. And we are talking a lot about like what if, what if, what if. Here's a specific example of where this could really be a good example of how this could be used. Right, so think about the traditional panels of transporting like renewable energy sources, solar panels, wind turbines, putting them in remote locations, middle of the desert or really windy spots. Now, that might be a little tricky for airship to do. However, if the conditions are right when they're landing, they can wait outside and come in or land just outside that zone and move them in. So you could have in these really remote areas, you have this renewable energy that it's there that you don't necessarily have to transport again via truck on the roads, which you have. I don't know if you've ever seen this here in the States, you see it quite frequently, but there's these trucks that carry the blades to these wind turbines and they're massive. They're massive. They're like three or four buses long. And so as you're driving on the street, not only is it dangerous for everybody around them, but it's very costly mistake. If you make that mistake, load it up on an airship, bring it out there, you're good. Right, and if you're going to do the wind farms at sea yeah, exactly. That's another way of potentially getting them up there as well. Although I think a boat might be more efficient at that point. But it depends how much risk take you. Yeah, I guess it does. And it depends on what resources are available, all that stuff. Anyway, I think we've gone through a lot of different use cases here. Let's talk about some of the human factors applications because again, I think we should look at this through the disaster response sort of lens, the humanitarian aid, just because it is sort of an example that this specific company wants to look at. And really what this could be used for is damage assessment, coordination of those recovery efforts. So for hurricanes, earthquakes, those types of things, we can talk about the broader hema factors application, but I want to look at it through that lens. So where do you want to start? I talked about a lot of use cases and we're just now starting. So I want to get into the engineering of it, really, because this is my bread and butter stuff where I get quite excited. So I started to dive into right, well, what sort of interface? It's all fly by wire, so we're taking the latest technologies that you can have on any sort of jet aircraft or rotorcraft and be able to bring all that sort of stuff in. Brilliant. And really that should be just chuck it in and let it go because it's not fast, it's slow. So actually the whole user interface bit of it should be easy. Yeah, you agree for the most part. I think when we get to the what makes it unique, that is where there's going to be some deviations here. Yes, generally. So in theory, what we should be able to do is take current copy technology and throw it in from a user perspective. Almost everything else is gravy at that point. We can make that happen. However, and before we jump into the unique bit about what makes it unique that way is well, actually, do we need any sort of user interface at all, given the speed, given what we're doing with it? Should this just be either all remote control or just completely autonomous? No and no, I think there should be no, there should definitely be an operator on board, especially for some of these mission critical. I think you have especially in situations where something can change quite rapidly, new pieces of information you need to be able to talk with crew. That is where it's going to be crucial that you have an onboard pilot. But I think in some cases, like you were saying, with the remote distribution of green energy, that can be automated fine. I don't have a preference there, but I just think it opens up. So going back to the humanitarian operation idea, I do think that there needs to be crew on board because I think we're down with that. But there is an opportunity here for an operator to be on the ground and saying, rather than saying, right, move it forward a bit forward a bit forward a bit down, they should be able to control it remotely and just dock it or bring it in themselves. A bit like you have on quite a lot of large machinery now where you have the ability to take the remote control out of the cab and do some remote operation. I think this is asking for similar things somehow in a way that I haven't quite devised yet. But you can just imagine saying, okay, we come into you, use your login to your phone app and bring us in, or something of that nature. I just think that there's a whole load of ways that we could do with this to make it really cool, but I think that gives us a segue into why it's unique. Yeah. So let's talk about some of the attributes that make this thing so unique. Right. One of them is the volume that this thing takes up. Right. You mentioned this could be like a cargo ship in the sky and the size of this thing is just over the specific one is just over the size of one football field, one American football field, and that is quite large. If you think about in terms of things in flight, you have planes that are not that big. Are there any planes that are that big? I'm sure. There's got to be at least one, right? The zone snow. Okay. Yeah. I'm just thinking like there's very few aircraft that are that large. And when it comes to navigating those things, you can think of the goodyear Blimp as a good example. You're navigating sometimes in the middle of a city above the buildings at a safe distance. But you can imagine in a situation where humanitarian need is needed or humanitarian aid is needed, coming into a city and needing to drop supplies or transport people up and down, there's going to be some other considerations there from navigation perspective that are not necessarily present on other aircraft. You're not going to have a helicopter that large, that's for sure. And if it operates in the same type of way that a helicopter operates, that's just something that you have to think about spatially in relation to your surroundings. Now we brought up the slow speed of these things many times, but I think one sort of critical aspect here that is going to be different is that it will take longer to develop the momentum to react to different things like weather systems. Right. It does have powered engines, whether those are prop engines or jet engines, it doesn't necessarily matter. It's just that the inertia that it takes to respond to something will take longer to do. You also have, like we talked about this, that's kind of where the benefit of these things exist, at least in my mind. And with that you have the issue of crew fatigue, right? Classic human factors issue where those on board either need to be taken care of or have shifts. So there's this whole other aspect to crew resource management that we now have to think about. For folks on board these flights, what do their roles entail? How do they birth the people up on this? Do they even burn them on board or do they birth them somewhere else? Do they I don't know. What kind of recreation do they have on board for the livelihood of these people, this crew? When the flights aren't two to 3 hours, it's like days. You got to start thinking about it like a like a naval deployment rather than a, you know, short flight. And then maintenance. There's probably some different maintenance schedule compared to other aircraft where one rip in the blimp here might not be so great. So that's definitely got it in the office things, attitudes like Ford or foreign object debris, it will be different because obviously they don't necessarily land on the runway. But any sort of wash up is going to be going to be an issue equally with the training as well. The training is going to be, you would think, quite different to air crew and air maintenance crew. And things could normally transfer between types of aircraft because generally they've got an engine in the back or they've got some engines on the wings. They go and the principles are largely similar. I think that probably with an airship, it's fundamentally different, so you have to have a lot more unique training to get there. Yeah. And speaking of training, I think that really is a good segue into what happens in the case of, like, an emergency situation. Right. You mentioned loss of an engine, but what if we have Hindenburg 2.0 here? What kind of safety systems are on board? I don't believe they're using I don't know. I don't know about airships that much, folks, despite how much I've been excited about them. Do they use flammable gas? I can't imagine that it would be as flammable as the Hindenburg because they use what? Helium and that thing? Yeah, I think they're using helium in this as well. Okay. Because of what they're doing there, they're being able to seal it in a much better way because they're using Hindenburg. They literally use canvas to do it or doped cotton, as they doped cotton canvas. Whereas the DLTA version has three layer laminate of synthetics, including polyvinyl fluoride on the outermost layer. The middle layer is a loose weaver fiber tardant, a word I can't say fibers. And the inner layer is a polyester, similar to what they use on racing boats. It's allowed them to integrate, I guess, materials with more characteristics against things that we don't want. A firestorm. That would be interesting, wouldn't it? But also you've been able to use bodily metals and things to make it a lot lighter. So let's look at the emergency here, the emergency situations. Let's say there is sort of a critical leak in the shell. What do they call it? The blimp, whatever it is. They call it really scientific, but whatever it is, let's say there's a leak and they're dropping altitude. There has to be some protocols in place for how to respond to that. And you're not going to be able to have the same amount of distance that you would in, like, an aircraft. Right. Even helicopters, if they use their they lose their engines, they're still going to glide down. They don't just drop from the sky. The rotation still keeps them going, especially because they're still coming down. So there's a way to recover in either of those scenarios. Now, if you're over a heavy populated area or where this could damage potentially some things, you want to make sure you get out of that range. But what's the landing protocol for this thing? In an emergency situation, you're not going to go to the nearest airstrip, and then you have to think about evacuation from that. Is it just the parachute and you're out, or are there things that you have to secure on board, especially if they are heavy and could fall out? Theoretically, I'm imagining a crash in slow motion where you have a lot more time to determine what you need to do, depending on how big that puncture is. But what do you need to secure to ensure that the safety of those on the ground, right. If something falls out, I'd imagine anyway, that's just a consideration here. Emergency situations, I guess there's other emergency situations as well, which you need to consider things like so it's a fly by wire system. One of them, you lose your fly by wire, so you lose the ability to direct it. It turns into a big hot air balloon and literally at the mercy of the elements. It's things like that as well. So I guess the obvious one is to think about, as you saw, is fire, because there is a massive cultural issue here, because everybody, even though actually it's interesting, not that many people know about the detail of the Hindenburg disaster, but everybody's heard of the Hindenburg disaster because everybody goes, all airships Hindenburg. It's bad. But the Hindenburg happened before the start of the Second World War, and they were still using hot air balloons and blimps all the way through the Second World War for all sorts of air defense, for intelligence, reconnaissance, all these sort of things. It was still being used. It was only because of really the efficiencies and the development in fast air technology that sort of rendered them obsolete. But people still think about the Hindenburg and still think that an airship is just going to blow up because that's what airships do. So how much of a barrier just on that perspective alone? Because we know that once people get and we've talked about it on the show numerous times, I think when people have an idea in their heads that something is unsafe, then it almost doesn't matter how safe it is, people are just not going to use it. So what's it going to take to get over the Hindenburg? That's a good question and one that I don't know from a cultural perspective. Okay. Today, Barry, would you step into an airship? Yeah, could be cool. I mentioned at the top I want to do a podcast from an airship. I went on, there are people like us who understand the technology and understand what's going on. I think it's going to be very similar. Put that into context. I'm also more than happy to be on the first SpaceX mission to Mars as well and visit Dream. So that probably gives you an idea about my risk appetite, about this new crazy stuff. Let me counteract that by saying I would not be on a flight to the moon or Mars. I'd be on the 50th through 500th. I think that's more my threshold. But how are we going to be on the first podcast from Mars if you're not going to be there? Well, we'll do it like HFS where you remote and then I respond to you like 20 minutes later, and then you get it 20 minutes later and then the longest recording in the world. Anyway, so we digress. We do. But. I mean, you bring up a good point from my perspective. I don't know how many people would have hang ups in them if, for example, you had things like air tourism, cruises where you have sort of the experience of being on one of these things and floating above your favorite cities and you can look down and disembark or debark. Words are hard today, folks. But you get off and you see the city and then you come back on and you go to the next city. I think that could be as they become more commonplace as like a cruise ship in a port in a major city, you start to see higher adoption of these things. And I think there's enough people who understand what the limitations of the Hindenburg were and where the tech is at today to understand what the difference between the two are. Right. I think


I don't know. Bad example. But I was going to say we didn't stop going to space after some of the after Challenger. We still use space shuttles, but that wasn't the public. So it's kind of like you have to but we don't stop using aircraft after airplane disasters there on a day by day basis. The biggest cause of accidents in the world is automobiles, right? Yeah. We all jump in a car every day because our September is just totally different. Now when it comes to culture, there's some interesting things going on here that I'm wondering how we're going to play out in everyday scenarios or not everyday scenarios. And like these disaster relief scenarios, let's say that. How do different cultures view airships? Is there going to be some inherent, I guess, like, oh, our saviors are coming from the sky. Literally saviors coming from the sky, heavenly saviors. Is there any sort of imagery that that sort of has an impact on people? If so, is this something that we want to do in humanitarian aid efforts for those cultures? Right? Probably not. We probably want to try to do it a different way if it's going to have that big of an impact. I just don't know. These are questions that I have. Not necessarily I'm just opening cans of worms here, but the presence of one of these airships too. Will it cause more panic? That's another question. It's like, oh, they're here, the mercy is here. Is that going to cause more panic or is it going to cause relief? Is it going to be a site that is, I don't know, like relieving to see or just a sign of an omen? I don't know. That's definitely a way that I guess we in the human factor domain can help deliver that. Because as we've said before, the side of this of an airship is a massive blank canvas. So is there opportunities there to be having messaging on the side of it, either static or dynamic? So when you're coming into somewhere, I think the amount of cultures it would affect and think of that heavily save you thing is probably quite small because most countries now are connected one way or another. You're right to. Think. But if they're being cut off and they don't know it's coming or what the state of the world is, et cetera, et cetera, some people might see it as maybe other countries take advantage. And so it's an invasion coming in because they're in distress, because they're in need and all that sort of stuff. So the ability to use this as a big messaging platform to say, we might not be able to come directly down and help you, but here are things that you need to do, this is what we're here to do. And a big red cross on the side of it type of thing as well. Yeah. Or you could have, like you said, the digital messaging on the side. I would love that either. Like loudspeakers coming down, everything is fine, we're here to help in the local language. Yeah, that's nothing's wrong with that. Anyway, do you have any other loose rounds on this one? This one is a fun one for me. Yeah, I think it's interesting and I think I look forward to hopefully following this maybe in six months time, twelve months time when they get onto build an Air doc and they're going to build another couple of versions of these, it'd be quite interesting to keep checking in with it, even. Maybe just in the one more thing or something, just to see where they're going and what they're doing. And maybe if we keep on pushing the fact that we're talking about them, we may actually broadcast from there one day. That'd be awesome. Yeah. Let them know that we're talking about them. We'd love to be a part of that exclusive Factors podcast. Yeah. Anyway, thank you to our patrons this week for selecting our topic, and thank you to our friends over IEEE Spectrum for our news story this week. If you want to follow along, we do post the links to our original articles on our weekly Roundup Center blog. You can also join us on our discord for more discussion on these stories. If you want to vote on what the story is for next week, we do post all those freely available to the public on our patreon so you can join us there. Vote. Even if you're not a patron, you can vote there and decide the fate of the show for next week. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back to see what's going on in the Human Factors community right after this. Yes, huge. Thank you, as always to our patrons. We especially want to thank our human factors. Cast all access. Patrons like Michelle Tripp, patrons like you keep the show running truly, like all your support really matters. Really, really matters. We do a lot of stuff over here, so thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hey, did you know that we also have a little community for everyone? We have a discord that we have. You can get involved talking with other human factors professionals from all over the world, get access to some of the resources we got our hands on over the last couple of years. We post websites in there all the time, discussions about a variety of things. Lately it's been sort of a discussion around undergraduate coursework and what might be good to augment your professional career in the human factors field. You can even chat with other people in the voice channel, although I've not seen that yet. Maybe you guys can be the first, I don't know. It's also where we conduct our lab chat, so we're very active in there, at least from the lab side. You can't see it, but we're active in there and we know it's an effective tool for getting stuff done. There's also career advice, and if you have questionnaires for your research that you want other people to take or get some thoughts and opinions on from other Human Factors folks in the field, drop them there. It's a great community. I'm really happy to be a part of it and really glad that so many of you have joined. So if you are interested in joining that little community of Human factors folks and non Human factors folks in there too, you can join us on our discord links in the description. All right, why don't we go ahead and get into the next part of the show we like to call It Came From. It came from. That's right. Switching gears. Get into it came from? This is where we look all over the Internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. So if you find any of these answers useful, give us a like wherever you're watching or listening to help other people find this type of content. We got three tonight. The first one here is by HF Woman on the Human Factor subreddit. I always like it when we get the Human Factors subreddit up in here. So this is what is your job title? I'll be graduating in summer 2023 and in the middle of job hunting. Curious to see what job titles people have. When I look up Human Factors and LinkedIn, the majority of options are in UX roles that focus on design and want a portfolio. Barry, what job titles have you seen out there? What job titles do you have? Well, my job title is quite easy. It's a magic director. Fairly generic, no, but I think you've got everything. How many of you might have actually had Human Factors in them? So at the moment, I call myself Human Factors Practitioner, just in very generic terms. Prior to that, when I was employed by other people, I was Human Factors scientist, human Factors Research scientist, and then I've been a technical human Factor scientist, technical human Factors Engineer human Factors Engineer human Factors Researcher what was I? Oh, then one of my favorite I was a technical specialist and then I was a technical specialist in brackets generalist, so I couldn't quite never work. Yeah, I know that was different, but actually in the grand scheme of things, what I would be looking for on the whole job hunting bit is basically anything that involves human factors and or user experience. UX with a bit of HMI, HCI maybe if there's more generic, more specifics that you're interested in, but anything with human factors and ergonomics and UX, I think are much more popular terms now than they have been in the past ten years. So anything on that? The only other bit on I guess I meant to mention on grades, so basically we can talk about junior, senior principal, senior principal, executive they're all kind of dependent on what the company does and how the company bounds them. So a principal, human Factors engineering one company will not be the same. It might sound the same, look the same, but they won't be the same in a different company because they'll have bounded them differently in some way to suit there. Well, just to give you a good excuse to pay you less largely, but yeah, so that's just a thing on grade boundaries as well. Yeah, for me, I'm not going to go through every job title I've had. I'll talk about sort of a common one that I have and then one with Human factors in it and then one weird one. That's kind of the approach I'll take here. So the common one that I have, that I see everywhere is senior User Experience researcher that's the title that I have right now. I think of myself as a Human Factors practitioner as well, Barry. Like I practition human Factors when I do my job and the podcast too, so I practition Human factors, I'm a human Factors practitioner. In past jobs, I've had the title of human factors engineer. You've mentioned scientist practitioner. I've seen all those variations. The one that I held was Human Factors Engineer. And then the weird one was UX UI Specialist. That doesn't really have what does that mean?


Yeah, it does really vary the gamut there in terms of does it have human factors in the title, does it not? What you're going to be looking for, at least in the job description is the mention of human factors. And I think that's the important thing is if they understand that you, as a human factor, trained in human factors and conducts human factors science, that type of thing holds a master's or PhD from an accredited university with the focus in human factor psychology or engineering, HCI or similar. Those are the types of roles that I think that you should look out for. Those are good ones. Yeah, nothing really else much to say on that one. Barry, any closing thoughts? No, I think that's just if you can stick with the human factors element, you will generally find human factors jobs, I guess, should do what it says on the tiny yeah. All right, this next question here is one that infuriates Me by Fluffy Winston. On the UX research, they say, what do we think about democratizing research? There's a big push in my company and industry in general about democratizing research. I was wondering, what is your take and experience with democratizing research? There's some additional context there, but Barry, taking research and giving it to other folks or allowing other folks to do it, what do you think about that? In principle, I'm going to be slightly contentious and say I think it's a good thing, because if it's done properly, then it brings more people into the fold, it makes it less pretentious, and it opens up your methodologies to other people understanding how it's done because they're participating. However, that's not what this is about. Democratizing research is a drive by people to take away expertise from research and for it to be people thinking that anybody can do it. And why do we need researchers anyway? Let's all democratize it and just get people to throw their own thoughts without any structure, without any thought, without any serious, rigorous methodology. And that's why it's one of these things. I think I stand by what I said. I think it's a great idea in principle, but actually, if you're doing it properly, then it needs supervision, it needs direction, needs support. That's not what, really, they're trying to push for here. They're trying to save money, and we'll get worse products because of it. Yeah. When we talk about democratizing research, that to me, is basically taking the research job and allowing other people and other roles to do it by empowering them to do so. I don't think that's right. I think you should have a researcher that moderates. But to Barry's point, you get input from plenty of people involved at every step along the way. That is where we really strive. I think we talked about this a number of different times on the show of We Are the People pleasers. We bring everybody together in one room and try to hash it out from a perspective of everybody coming to the table with different ideas, thoughts, opinions about something. And we take that and we develop a methodology that's going to be suitable for the needs of the product. Keep research with researchers, democratizing. It's the same of like, a product manager would not let you manage a product. A developer would not let you code. As a researcher, I'm not going to let you research. I will involve you in the process, certainly, but leave that to me. That's my thoughts on it. Tons of hydro. Yeah, I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that. All right, so last one up here reading recommendations by Itchy Whisper on the UX research subreddit. Barry, I put this in here for a very specific reason. It's because we got called out. Did you see that? Call out? Do we get called out? You got called out. This is your redemption arc. So I was wondering if anyone could possibly recommend any good reading material that I could look into. Barry, you mentioned this the other day on the show that there are a handful of books that you could refer to, and you didn't mention what the name of it was. In fact, I didn't even catch that until you mentioned the name of it. And then I picked that book up for myself because it was missing from my library. So why don't you mention what that book was first, and then you can mention your other fun stuff here. So my go to book for pretty much everything in terms of methods is the Human Factors Methods a Practical Guide for Engineering and Design. And it is really done like that. And it's by Stanton salmon rafty Walker, baby. And Jenkins. I've got the second edition. I think they're on something like the fourth or fifth edition now, which I haven't looked at to see how it's been refined. But it's just one of these books. If I have it on the side, I would have it easier to hand. But I recently reorganized the cabinet where everything is. But basically it's one of these books that you, for me, you'll pick up, and it's full of all my postits all the way through. It's full of my scribbles of how I adapt things and things like that. It's my go to book on every single project I do. It's brilliant. There is a couple of different other books that I use, I guess contextually, but I've got new books. I've got new books that I think are absolutely fantastic, and I got sent them just before Christmas, and I've been able to give them to my team, and I'm going to hold them up. And it is h is for human factors and U is for UX. And they're done by Pamela Stauffran. Gay at bold, insight, and they've been done. They are children's books, small children's books that explain in words of one syllable that I can understand what Human Factors is and what UX is. And it's great. I've given them to my children to look at, and they're like, oh, we understand what you do. Now, my staff have given them to their parents and their parents now. Oh, that's what you do. I get it now. And they've just done it in such a way that is really nice, really good. They're available in the US for purchase in anywhere else, if you talk to them nicely, and they'll send them to you for a donation to charity. If you want to find out more about them, then get on my LinkedIn. And I've mentioned them there and various other people have mentioned them around these two. Absolutely. I don't know why nobody has done this before. It's absolute genius. Yeah, I've taken a look at some of the pages and I concur with that. Barry. For me, I have a couple that I really like to just recommend. There's the classic, don't make me think. I think if you're trying to just sort of understand the space, that's a good starting point. And it's one that I really like to throw out there just because it goes into philosophy a little bit about why you shouldn't make people think about the things that they're trying to do. And then this one is always one that I like, that's fun and that I recommend. It goes into dark patterns, but it's called Evil by Design by Chris Noter, and it kind of breaks down dark patterns by the Seven Deadly Sins, and how it appeals to those sins and how humans are wanting to partake in different things because of the methods that are employed in these dark patterns is really good. Plenty of examples. Highly recommend it. All right. So the other one that I didn't mention I meant, too, because I didn't mention it in the other one and forgot to do it, was Human Factors and Economics in Practice, which is around Improving System Performance and Human Well Being in the Real World, which is by Stephen Charic and Claire Williams. That 2016. Again, more contextual about why and how you apply things rather than specific methods of search. But again, really well worth a read. So, yes, hopefully all the things I got called out for now, I've now repented. And, yeah, I think your redemption arc is good. And those are our book recommendations, I guess. Just start your year off right, get one of those books, I guess. I don't know. We don't have affiliate links or anything for them, so I mean, we should, but I don't know. If you need help finding them, let us know and we will point them to your point in the right direction by posting some links for you. All right. Now, it's just one more thing. Barry, what's your one more thing? So my One More thing is we actually talked about space travel earlier, and I want to go back to my Christmas present this year. So my big Christmas present from my wife was a Challenger space shuttle. And it's huge. It's massive. It took me I had the idea that I was going to build a liquid. You know, when you have like a nice cake or a biscuit, you don't want to eat it all at once because you want to savor it. And this thing came in a massive box with 17 bags inside it. And it's got the Hubble Space Telescope and it's got the shuttle itself. And the Hubble Space Telescope fits inside the shuttle and you can take it out and then you can basically put new sails on it and the big solar sails, and they've both got stands for each one of them and the little name tags. So I was like, I want to do one small bag a day and do that. And I did that for two or three days until we had a day where literally we weren't going to do very much. And I sat and did the proverbial equivalent of stuffing all of it or stuffing all the chocolate into my mouth. I built the entire thing. It looks amazing. Yeah. It's years since I've sat down and done a big Lego model. Certainly they've done one as sort of intricate and I guess grown up as this one is, and it's reignited my love of Lego. And I want to get some more models and do some different ones because they're just brilliant. Wow. I'm so excited for you. When I saw that, I was like, oh, that's the perfect one more thing. Barry, you got to bring it up on the show. Yeah, I don't know if you were planning to bring it up on the show as one more thing before I said that, but I'm really glad you did. Either way. Let's see here. I guess potty training update. Here we go. You ready? It's just shitty pun intended. I'm hot with the puns tonight. Hot take puns. Wait, that was in the pre show. No one knows the context for that. I did some puns in the preshow. Hey, potty training. So it's been going actually pretty great, I got to say. My son is just getting it. He's getting it. He's getting it. The hardest thing for him to do is to understand that he can put things down and go number two and then things will be right back there. The number two is hard right now, but I think we got a handle on the other stuff. All things considered, he's doing great and it's new and stressful for both my wife and I and him. And there's been a couple of moments where we've just had those, like, oh my God, come on, just do the thing. Just do it. And it's frustrating for everybody, but at the end of the day, I think we all have, even him, have this mutual understanding that we're all learning about this process because I've been very open, my wife and I've been very open and talking to him. This is new for you. This is new for Mommy and Daddy, too. Really sorry. We're figuring this out, and I just think it's been a pretty crappy experience, let me just put it that way. Well, hey, that's going to be it for today, everyone. If you like this episode and enjoy some of the discussion about maybe flying in comfort, I don't know, I'll encourage you to go listen to episode 250, what's the deal with double decker airline seats? You go from cruising and luxury to cruising in this a comment wherever you're listening with what you think of the story this week. Are you a fan of Airships like I am? For more in depth discussion, you can join us on our discord community. Like I said, we got a whole bunch of Human Factors professionals in there dropping some good nuggets of conversation. Sorry, potty still in the brain. You can visit our official website. Sign up for our newsletter. Stay up to date with all the latest Humid Factors news. If you like what you hear, you want to support the show, there's a couple of things you can do. One, wherever you're at right now, leave us a five star review that is free for you to do. Really helps people who are looking at the show deciding whether or not they want to listen. It helps them make that decision for them. Two, if you have friends like Barry is my only friend. So if you have friends, maybe tell them about the show and tell them that, hey, these people are doing a great Human Factors podcast over here. They just talked about Airships this week. That was a ton of fun. This guy kind of lost his mind when he forgot how to say words. Or three, if you have the financial means to consider supporting us on Patreon, like I said, we are always updating those rewards. We just did a huge refresh trying to make sure that that value is there for the folks who support the show. As always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. I want to thank Mr. Barry Kirby for being on the show today. Where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about use cases for airships? Well, if you're going to talk to me about airships and other forms of air transport, then come find me on Twitter and other socials at fasciscore k. Well, if you want to come listen to this year's episodes of interviews with interesting human factors and human factors related to people. Then find me on twelve two the Human Factors podcast at twelve two. Podcast.com? As for me, I've been your host, Nick Rob Rome. You can find me on our discord server and across social media at nick underscore Rome. Thanks again for tuning in to Human Factors cast. Until next time. It depends.

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.