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Jan. 27, 2023

E271 - You're simply the best, taking a look at CES (2023)

On this week's episode of Human Factors Cast, we dive into the latest and greatest technology showcased at CES 2023. We also tackle some of the real-world issues faced by professionals in the field. From layoffs to toxic company culture, we explore the challenges faced by practitioners and offer strategies for effectively communicating with stakeholders and addressing unfeasible ideas. Join us for an engaging and enlightening discussion on the latest developments in Human Factors Engineering.


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



Oh, hi dee Ho. It's something. Episode 271. We're recording this live on January 26, 2023. This is human factors. Cast I'm your host, Nick Rome. I'm joined today by Mr. Barry Kirby. Hey, good evening there. Hey, good evening there. We got a great show for you tonight. I don't know what that was. You started off with Heidi Ho, so I thought I'd try and follow it up. I don't know, for some reason I was expecting. Hello there. We got a great show for you tonight. We're going to be talking about all our favorite stuff from CES 2023 and some of our favorite stuff in other ways, too. Later, we'll answer some questions from the community about layoffs in Human Factors roles, realizing company culture is toxic and how to handle stakeholders, denying ideas that are not feasible. But first, some programming notes. We recently went through a Patreon refresh is what we're calling it. Lots of other fun things going on behind the scenes at Patreon. We clarified some benefits, added some benefits to some things. In fact, Barry in the preshow just graciously offered to add more stuff to Human Factors Cast Academy for our supporters at that tier. So there's a lot of fun stuff in the works over on our Patreon. So now is a great time. It's a new year, new you can become a patron, support the show. And yeah, it's a fun time. Barry, what is going on over at twelve two? So at twelve two, I finally set season five off and we have recorded our first episode. It's in and it goes live on Monday. Really excited about it. It's an interview with Stephen Shorek. And really, he gives a really strong and insightful view on where the discipline has been and where we think it's going. And he really throws down some interesting ideas and made me think quite a lot, so much so that we went well over the hour that we usually do. And yeah, I can't wait for that to drop on Monday. It's going to be really good. Is this your longest episode yet? I don't know if it's the longest episode, but length, times, quality, it's probably well up there. Good. All right, well, while we get into this part of the show, you're all here for,



yes, it's Human Factors News. This is where we break down the latest and greatest in the field of human factors. Barry, what is the story this week? So the story this week is the best of CES 2023. So the popular tech publication End Gadget covered the CES 2023 event early this month, marking a real return to form for the publication and the tech industry as a whole. As many council plans for the event in 2022, the team reported that show was busy enough to feel like a true return to form, and it was evident that the tech industry is still thriving. One of the highlights for the event for Ngadget was their annual Best of CS awards program. This year marked the first time in three years that they were able to base their judgments from a full slate of in person, hands on experiences. They handed out a dozen awards this year, including the most prestigious Best of the Best. The awards aimed to capture the products that they believe people will still be talking about weeks or even months after the show concludes. From wireless TVs to an electric Ram concept truck, which I thought was really cool, to $1,000 stand mixer. There were plenty of noteworthy products on display. Engadget also made sure to separate the wheat from the chaff, avoiding products that are nothing but vapourware or again, attention for being, well, dumb. Don't worry, we are going to talk about them as well. So we thought it was a great idea to take a look at the event to provide informative and educational look at some of the tech whilst highlighting the importance of human factors engineering and ergonomics. So Nick, when do we go to CES and do the Ergonomics awards? I would love to do that. If we get enough patrons, we can do that. We don't apply to become like a media thing to do all things. I'm positive we could get media passes to this thing. It's travel and lodging and all that stuff that would really out of pocket. Yeah, we're a media outlet. We could get press passes to this, no problem. I love CES. I think it's one of the underlooked conferences for human factors professionals. It's not a traditional consumer electronic show and it's like a trade show and so it's not a conference in the same way that you might use to exchange information about academic study, to exchange ideas in that type of way or to get ideas from science academia to industry. It's something totally different where you get to see what new ways in which people are pushing in a lot of cases HCI sort of at the edges of the fringe as we'll see here. Some of these are kind of way out there towards the bottom of our list, but some of them are really impactful to people's lives. And so I always love covering CES. We actually haven't done this on the show since 2020, so it's exciting for us too. Like always, some of the tech is very cool and some of it's very weird and we'll get into it. But Barry, what is your sort of initial reaction looking through this list of stuff? Like, what do you think? Yeah, so I mean, concept early market ideas shown to us all, just to be able to next to each other and what's not to like? I mean, we've been to a couple of things here in the UK. Like they have the Gadget show, they have the Gadget show live, which we've sort which we've been to. I took my team around because of exactly what you said. It's a good time to see what is out there in terms of new interface designs, what we're looking at, where's the technology going. And what I really like about it as well is we've been through a couple of really difficult years where lockdowns and things like that, but it's fantastic that people have still got that drive that will to expand the thinking and come up with some cool, some slightly weird, some downright odd, but still come out there with some willing to throw them out there and say, look at this. Isn't this different? Isn't this great? So I love these type of shows. I think we should be going tomorrow them. And you sort of mentioned some of our own conferences. We should be having zones and areas that brings all this stuff into that and smashes them both together in some way. Maybe that's a challenge for us this year or something. But yeah, I think we need to dive into some of these things and tell people what we found. Yeah, well, we found them Engadget, sort of put the list together of their best ones. So I think it's a good place to start. We did pull in a couple of other ones that weren't listed on Engadget. They kind of do the best. And we wanted to look at some of the interesting ones. We'll say interesting, and so those are kind of further down in our list. We did kind of alter this list a little bit, too, from the original article, because some of it's not necessarily human factors related, like TVs, laptops. Come on. Anyway, so let's get into it. So I think this first one here in terms of accessibility, they were looking at the best accessibility technology, and L'Oreal Hapta is what came out of this their pick for best accessibility, which is essentially an assistive lipstick applicator, which has sort of the stabilizing effect to help people apply lipstick. And this is really interesting because it's using a gimbal system that's basically letting those without finger dexterity or strength to move the lipstick gimbal and apply it to your lips. And so this is a pretty cool product, actually, if you think about it. Right now, beauty is accessible, although I have a point on that in a minute. But what do you think about this? I think it's really neat. I mean, as much as I don't necessarily think that everybody needs to wear makeup all the time, it's the idea that the found I mean, I don't know. Have you ever tried putting lipstick on yourself? So we've all had to go and generally whenever I've tried to put it on for like parties or whatever it's an art form, isn't it? Clearly people who use it learn from an earlier rate and through repetitive use. And so you can just imagine that people who want to use it but can't, for whatever reason, be that hand risk, generally, motor issues would feel that they are being left behind or being left out. And so to have something like this that uses technology that is katie been around, because it's similar technology to where people use steadicams and things like that, to then come and use it to do something like this when you think, why would you spend so much money and effort putting in doing a lipstick applicator? But the amount of people who wear lipstick is clearly massive. When I first read it, you read the first line, you're like, how is that going to work? But then when you read into it, it's really clever and yeah, I like it a lot. It did actually make me think as well, what's the next step for this? Yes, so you've got this, but actually is there a medical stroke, surgery stroke, that sort of application? Then I was like my mind was just going pop, pop up with different sorts of ideas. So, yeah, I liked it. I thought it was really neat. And it sort of shows that people are now thinking, I guess we would almost turn them as sort of more edge cases in terms to use the demographic. But people are absolutely there because I think the edge is quite big. Yeah, you leapfrogged my point about expansion to other makeup applications and you went straight to other I didn't see your notes, but yeah, I was thinking expansion to makeup applications, not something greater. So you just got to leapfrog that. Anyway, I do want to bring up a good point here, though, in terms of affordability of accessibility devices. And this is one hundred and fifty dollars to two hundred dollars is what they're looking at for the retail price. And it's a conversation to be had about the accessibility of accessibility devices, or affordability, I should say, because ultimately, if you're designing for population that can't use this thing, then you need to take costs into consideration. All things considered, one hundred and fifty dollars to two hundred dollars is relatively affordable for something like this. Especially if it like, I don't know, I'd spend $200 on my self esteem. That'd be an easy spend. And so I think the price point is right for this. Although what does the demographic look like for folks with those hand finger dexterity strength issues? Right. And then beyond that, what does this look like for folks with limited hand and arm mobility to where they can't move their arm in certain ways? Like they can't lift up their arm to get to their mouth or something like that? Right. That's kind of the next step for me is like, how can you make a robot that will do this for you? Well, yeah, I was just thinking, how do you integrate it with AI? So going back to what I said earlier about if you're not very good at putting it on it does it properly for you? Yeah. Let's get into this next one. You want to read this one, Barry? So the next one was for Best gaming product and Sony have got this one with their Project Leonardo. So Project Leonardo is the first piece of gaming hardware designed specifically for people with limited motor control. We're getting a bit of a theme and apparently it helps look pretty neat at the same time. According to Ngadget so it's a controller kit that will work out the box with PlayStation Five, given that it's Sony offering two circular game pads lined with swappable buttons, third party accessory ports and other customizable inputs. The controllers, they live flat on the table and can be mounted on a standard tripod. And they could be paired with the dual sensor to turn all three devices into a single game pad, offering flexibility for players depending on what their needs are. To build it, they partnered with advocacy organizations including Able Games and Special Effect, just like Microsoft did with the Xbox Adaptive controller. And then project. Leonard represents and they claim another positive step for accessibility tech in video games, a market that's filled with surprises and primed for growth in 2023. So it's really interesting, you look at the picture of this and it looks odd. I think it's basically like effectively a couple of discs or circular gamepads as they call. But it's that customizability to meet whatever needs you have to make it work properly. So personally, I think this is a really good thing that we're starting to think about who it is that is using it and not just trying to push us down to because we've all played with these game controllers. That you have to learn what all the different buttons are, where they all are, people that come up with new initiatives such as the shoulder buttons, and then you get more and more controllers. So this feels like one of the first break where you actually make your own the gamepad to suit you rather than you having to suit the gamepad. A truly human factors approach. What do you think, what do you feel about it? I really like it. And designing for customizability, it's a skill, right? You have to think about the types of people that would use this product and then how they might want to customize it and especially when it comes to making gaming accessories accessible. I think this is a good approach and I'm happy that they partnered with various organizations like they said here in the article. But I think one thing for me is how does this compare to other options like Microsoft's option? Right? So Microsoft has a bunch of different peripherals that kind of have various interaction methods and you kind of configure those peripherals where this seems to be and it seems like this has the option for those where you can plug them into it. Yeah, right, which is great, right? But I think that the base you have sort of these pads that you can interact with in a variety of different ways. And what I really like about these is that they go beyond video games. These could be manipulation mechanisms for other HCI devices. That in itself is reason to watch this space. I'm going to skip ahead just a little bit. This also won best of the best, but since we're talking about it now, let's just talk about it, right? So they thought this one best of the best in terms of all of their Engadgets best. And so it's fun to look at from that perspective as well. And I think there's a lot of potential here and just the fact that it was designed with these folks in mind, flexibility in mind is comforting, right? I don't know how or I guess what peripheral is going to peripheral set is going to be preferred by a larger community. Microsoft has been out there and one of Microsoft's sort of key points is that their kit is $100. And talking about the affordability of accessibility, again, that is a huge thing. And so if Sony can meet them and the other part of this that I want to touch on is are these interoperable with the other set? Can I put a Sony piece and a Microsoft piece together or are they locked into their own ecosystems? Because what if one works better for me and the other one doesn't? I don't know, I just think that that might be something they could collaborate on. I'm guessing I could probably almost tell you the answer right now, but that might be just me being cynical. But you do miss a really good point there. Because if this is going to become a thing, which it clearly is, I think Sony entering this market is really good because it will push Microsoft as well and the other providers out there because that's what a competitive market does. But will we then also now start maybe seeing an interface standard to allow the bringing together of different types of interface to allow you to customize it to be a perfect controller for you? Maybe? Who knows? I would love to see that because we're starting to see that with the phones, right? Instead of, I think what was apple was just sued in the UK for having their own proprietary system and so now everyone's going to be using USBC and that's a standard. So that type of thing with input methodology, that'd be great. Anything else with this one or should I move on to the next? I think just to qualify your last comment, I think it was in the EU that they were sued because we were stupid and left the EU. But that's a different time, right? Got you. All right, thank you for correcting me. All right, the next one here, valencell blood pressure monitoring prototype. So this one is interesting. And it's a PPG. And so if you're familiar with PPG, we have a human factors minute on that. It's a fingertip clip. But the interesting bit about this is that it's using algorithms that combine the user's age, weight, gender, height, all this stuff to create a blood pressure measurement without the need for calibration, which is really interesting when you think about it, and accessible when you think about it. I think that's a theme of this year in a lot of ways, and this has been around for a while, but I think being able to have this type of thing available to clinics and hospitals alongside a version for personal use if it gets approved by the FDA, is going to be huge. So having a blood pressure monitor PPG, instead of having to do the cuff yeah, I think that it's a really massive step. It's something that's quite close to my heart, actually, because I've been working on a project now for about the past 18 months that does something not with fingertip, but does something and does something similar. But the idea that a lot of people don't like getting the blood pressure taken because of the curve and the way it cuts off the blood supply, and you can have sort of reactions to and it can be quite painful, et cetera, et cetera. And it takes time. So to be able to do this really quite quickly, because you're not doing that calibration, though there's a couple of issues, I'll come back to you with that. But the principle of it, I think, will be really good, particularly for, like I said, more ongoing use, but also when you need to get rapid, it doesn't necessarily have to be totally accurate, but you need to understand the ballpark. So trauma care, emergency care, things like that, maybe in assisted living and that sort of thing. My problem with the calibration to a certain extent, and we saw this through the pandemic where we thought we had really good blood oximeters. So measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood. There was loads of issues that came up through the COVID period where, depending on the color of a person's skin, you were getting because they use optical sensors to measure blood oxygen levels with the darker shades of skin. You were getting false readings because the calibration hadn't been done properly and people didn't realize it was an issue until it was too late. And essentially what happened was people with darker skin tones were getting lower sorry, were being shown as to having higher blood oxygen levels than what they actually did. And so we're getting into serious health issues. So with things like this, because of that issue I've had, it really rammed home that we need to make sure that this idea of quick, easy wins, I'm sure there will be thoroughly, thoroughly tested to make sure that the non calibration doesn't inadvertently cause issues that it's not meant to, but all that aside, this sounds brilliant. Yeah, from a usability perspective, I'll just throw in I recognize I haven't let you get a word in edgewise yet, but from a usability perspective, I have a real issue with sensors that go on fingertips because you literally then can't do anything else with them, so they can get knocked off, et cetera, et cetera. You can lose them. Right, I want to show it up now. What do you think of them? No, I mean in terms of usability, you're right. But the whole point here is that this is supposed to be quick. You put it on for 2 seconds and you got a reading for 5 seconds, or whatever it is. But you're right, I mean, there's algorithmic bias that absolutely needs to be taken into account, especially if you're looking at this combination of data from various sources, like age, weight, all this stuff. I think you're absolutely right. The potential to be more accurate, but also can go really wrong if we don't get it right. So, yeah, let's get it right. That's all I have to say on that topic. Well, the reason I was saying about the fingertip was we look at this task based on what we do at the moment, which is to take a reading at a moment in time. Whereas if we had it in a way that was said not in a fingertip or something that you could leave on for longer, which is continuous, you get more continuous measurements because there is issues that come out with people who get stressed. You go and get your measurements taken, blood pressure, you're automatically stressed because you get your blood pressure taken, which elevates your blood pressure. And that's not great. So if you could do a more continuous method then that it lends itself to more accurate reading. Yeah, it'd be cool to see that. But yeah, the device currently doesn't look like it would support that. It looks like it would fly right off, but I can definitely see it somewhere down the line. If you have somebody who's in a hospital bed or something, just clip it to their finger. Like the O two monitor, just build it all in one. But that's a conversation for another time. All right, let's get into this next one here. Is this me reading? It's me because you had the last one. So this one is about best mobile or tablet tech. And it's not a piece of kit as such, it's a standard. It's the WPC Qi two charging standard, which is obviously we all know what that is, right?



Yeah. So remember what MagSafe is when Apple put MagSafe charging onto the iPhone, so you don't actually have to plug it in anymore. You can put it onto a device and just through basically the magnet to it, it can transfer power to your phone so you don't have to plug it in. It's simple convenient and actually means you can have your case on while you're doing all that sort of stuff. So at CES 2023, the WPC, which actually is the Wireless Power Consortium, has released details on this new standard, this Qi Two, which will bring similar functionality to the busy other handsets. Now, you'd sort of think that on the plus side, that this is really good because it means everybody can take advantage of this magnetic power profile. So you can basically charge all your phones, not just Apple phones, but a lot of people would be thinking, well actually that's great, but other people do stuff that Apple do and it'll just be a poor implementation. But Apple is actually part of this consortium. So whatever happens to this to become a standard mag safe, effectively, it should be good. And that's going to arrive on retail devices in Q Four of this year. So it's really quite an exciting thing because as you alluded to earlier, there is these issues around Lightning cables, USB C cables, micro USB cables, all these different charging devices. Whereas this, it will just be a standard that anybody can put your phone onto any charging platform and it will work there's. Already starting to get some of this. I got a set of earbuds the other day and I can put that onto my charging unit and they'll charge wirelessly, which just saves so much hassle from how to finally came and plug it in and all that sort of stuff. And did I mention I've got a new car on your new car? Well, that's right, yeah. But that has a magazine platform in it that you can just put your phone onto and charge and it just takes away some of that conflict. So I think the ability to make this ubiquitous and to the right standard throughout the industry is a huge step forward. What do you think? I think standards are good. We have a lot on this list that I want to get to. But speaking of your car, I'm going to move this one up here. This next one here is best transportation tech ram 1500 bev concept. So basically what they're looking at here is a battery powered pickup concept. But one of the key things here is there's animated grille emblems taillights badging has integrated movie projector. I know Barry is looking for one of those AI assistants that respond to voice commands both inside and outside the vehicle. So the shadow mode that Barry is super excited about, he can tell us more about a little bit about that. But it trains the truck to follow along behind its dismounted driver from a safe distance. Essentially, they're thinking about using this feature on job sites where workers would otherwise have to get in and out of the truck for short drives. So it's kind of a cool concept. Again, this is best in transportation tech. Not much more to say here. What do you think, obviously, it's following on from the Tesla truck, isn't it? It's Ram's answer to that. And like you say, a lot of it, you could argue, is fairly standard in this field. But this idea of the shadow mode is something that I think is, I think is quite unique and quite clever. Not necessarily for this Ram truck, but you could imagine having almost any vehicle that you need to understand where you're at and follow your commands, be that from, like a big, I don't know, digger or something like that, all the way through to having to maneuver aircraft around an airport, through the tow trucks. If it works, and it works well, that, I think, is such an exciting concept to make work. But then from a human factor's perspective, you don't want to get that wrong. You do not want to get that wrong. If it's shadowing you, like, sort of two inches from your back, you stop and it doesn't stop into, oh, that could get things. But I saw that now with all of the truck. I think it looks quite cool. And all your stuff in it, I think is cool. But that is exciting. Yeah, that is cool. And then I almost cut this thing out and then Barry said, no, the shadow mode. The shadow mode. We got to talk about the shadow mode. You're right, it is cool, because when I first read this, I didn't realize that it was talking about a person outside of the car standing and the truck is following them along where yes. You got to get it right. You got to get it right here. Do you want to get into this next one? Yeah, because you're talking about once a curtain. I thought this might have been on that list, but we talked about the best robot of drone, which is Ki Luna. So basically, this comes down into the robot pet category. Historically, they've been all right, but not very cute, not very endearing. Whereas Luna, this futuristic companion from Ki, with his big puppy dog eyes and wiggling ears, has the adorable thing locked down, as they say. It can screw around your living space without running into wall. So it has that sense of proportion about where it's at. But apparently they suggested real magic is in its expressiveness. They suggest it's impressive what you can do with a small display, four wheels and two ears. But it's also got, from a tech perspective, it's got loads and loads of sensors allowing it to respond to voice, gestures and touch, and it's got games and it makes it into a decent companion. They're suggesting using it for Stem tools for kids, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah, it sort of fits into that thing of, it looks cool, but it's possibly not quite my bag, though I did have little creatures that you used to get to talk to each other and that will come back to me. At some of the point. But anyway, you have all these sort of little toys, great, but it doesn't pull many strings for me. What about unique? Why do you think it should have stayed in here? I just want to say that robots and human robot interaction is a huge subfield within human factors, and I think cuter robots mean greater trust, and that's just something to keep in mind here. When you think about robot robots interacting with not only adults but children, too, I mean that's you have to think about that. If children are growing up to trust robots in a certain way, you better make sure you get that right from a human factor's perspective, because then they're going to believe that all robots are going to be the same reliability, or all autonomous systems are going to have the same reliability, which may not necessarily be true. It needs to be able to qualify some of those responses that say not all robots can happen this way. I just wanted to bring that up. They're conversational actors, and it certainly seems like they're trying to get to that. The next one up here is a smart mixer by GE. So this one's a kitchen gadget, and I know Barry is looking at redoing a kitchen. I saw pictures on Instagram. So it's a high end mixer, comes with a built in scale, accurately weighs ingredients, comes with voice control, app connectivity, and offers kind of a step by step for recipes and adjust mixing speeds as needed. So that's kind of cool that it has all that stuff. It has a really steep price tag, but if you're into kitchen stuff and cooking, then I can imagine this would be quite fun to have. Yeah, I think it's saying for the price tag, it's just shy of $1,000, but the integrated scale, I think is cool. Voice commands, that has me a bit worried. If you got your hands in, trying to put some ingredients in and somebody behind you shouts super speed or whatever it is, and somebody starts mixing and you've got no hands left, that's slightly concerning. And then do we need an app? I don't know, but I think it'd be interesting to see this one get underway. I think possibly slightly over engineered, I fancy. Yeah, I agree too. All right, we got one more good one. And then we got some dumb tech. You want to read this last? Good one? Yeah. So this is in the wearables category, the German Bionic Apigee, and it's the next level. We talked about exoskeletons a bit, but this new exosuit builds upon the cray exoskeleton that showed off last year. And basically it's an exoskeleton that you wear around your hips and goes over your shoulders. It can basically help you do them physical tasks and physical lifting tasks without putting too much strain on your body. So it can offset up to £66 of load to the lower back per lifting motion, reduces fatigue, and overall helps with walking assistance. It's the lightest exoskeleton that they produce to date. And what is also quite neat is it constantly gathers data about what's going on. And so it can provide you feedback about how you're using it. And if you're doing something that you shouldn't necessarily be doing, so it's like a non stable or non assisted movement, then it will actually alert you to realize that you're doing something that you shouldn't be. They are currently pushing out into warehouses and commercial settings, so you don't expect to have it in your house anytime soon. But it looks cool. It actually looks like something it looks like something you'd wear. It doesn't look clunky. It doesn't look it looks like something you'd be quite happy to walk down the street with. So you have looked at this, Nick. What do you think? Dare I say it's a sexy piece of kit. You wear this, you feel like a superhero, I'd imagine. Yeah, no, it's cool. I don't have much more to say that hasn't already been said. I would say go take a listen to some of our coverage around Ergo X, especially the ones that we did in 2018, where we sat down and talked to Chris Reid about Exoskeleton. We nerded out. And it was cool. It was a cool conference. Everyone was getting into their Exoskeletons in a conference room. It was kind of fun. But I love seeing the technology come to fruition. I mean, we know that this has been a huge point of research, at least in human factors, about how do humans integrate Ergonomically with the Exoskeleton suit itself. And I think looking good is half that battle. All right, let's get into some dumb tech here. I'm going to talk about this one first because I don't want you to talk about this one. I want to steal the thunder here. So the aroma, shooter. The Aroma Shooter, it might take the crown here for the best of, at least in my mind. It's got the stupidest name and the most potential for, let's say, ill use here. So it uses solid state cartridges that come in a variety of flavors. And basically it's essentially a wearable aroma diffuser. And you're watching stuff on TV or your computer or in VR, and it shoots out aroma at your nose. Nothing super strange about that. People have been wanting to transmit smells digitally for quite some time. Smell a vision, but it also has some massive potential here for some weird third party integration. Let's just say that. I'm going to leave it there. Am and dad are watching. Yeah. I think it is one of these things, though it is almost like a bit of a Holy Grail at the moment, because it is one of these things we just can't do. And our sense of smell is one of the most sensitive senses that we've got. So if we could get that right, it would massively enhance our integration with technology. But it's interesting that again, we highlight this as the way it could be abused. I mean, can you imagine it being hacked? On the flip side of that, it actually giving you the smells of what you are watching. You're watching order the rings and you smell sulfur. There's going to be a need to turn this on and off and moderate the smell or adapt the smell or something like that. One of them, if you don't switch it off when you go into certain websites as well. But let's not go there the name of it that I haven't got right either. But the idea of being able to get that, get the smell, I think is exciting. But yeah, it's just not yet. You can pick any one of these other ones. So I'm going to go for the Pea pebble or as Whittings call it, you scan. So I think this is really interesting as well. It's a health monitor. You have a little pebble and you put it into your toilet and it monitors your p. So it's a urine monitor that helps you in theory, keeps an eye on bit of deficiencies, estrogen, PH levels and everything else that you can monitor through urine. And it presents findings through a handy mobile app, as they say, which is good because you don't want to be putting your hand back into that to go and pick it out and get in bluetooth every time, do you? Because that would be annoying. But again, it's been highlighted a bit dumb tech. But the principle of it is really good because just through urine samples you get to know so much about what is going on, going on with your body by what it's excreting. So the theory behind this I think is brilliant. The practical application of it, possibly less so what do you think? Because I know you've got a couple of country based concerns with this one. Well, yeah, there's some US based privacy concerns with data. There are certain states here in the states that can get people arrested because of stupid abortion laws and he might be able to solve that issue for anyway, you got to be careful with that. So it's stupid for that. But I agree that there's a lot that you can learn. The practicality for those that stand, you have to sit to use this thing. So that means every time and if you want to look at trends over time, that means you have to sit every time, which is not convenient for those to stand. Anyway, I'm getting into the whole Usability argument about it. It's a cool piece of tech. But again, there are many other things. We're running short on time. I'm going to get into this last one, which is just ridiculous when you think about it, but it's basically called the Skyted Voice Silencing mask. And it's a mask that you wear over your face. And I'm going to try to do this so that way I still have good audio, but you mask it over your face and so that way you can scream and talk in VR without disturbing the people around you. So like if you're playing a horror game and something surprised, you know, it just covers your mouth. Okay, I've lost it. All right, Barry, what do you think about this one? Let's get out of here. Yeah, great. Yeah, fine. Well, thank you to Engadget for our news story this week and thank you to all of you for selecting the story. And if you want to follow along, we do post links to all the original articles and weekly roundups in our blog. You can also join us on Discord for more discussion about these stories. Tell us what your favorite is. Drop it in the channel. 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. Patron michelle Tripp. Patrons like you keep the show running. Truly, we cannot do this without your support. By the way, did you know that we have some social media accounts that you can go and check out? We do have shorts out there. So if you don't have time to commit to the full show, you're probably not listening to this. You're probably skipping over it. So this probably doesn't even anyway, if you want to check out our shorts, we have those bitesized content. If you don't have time to listen to the full show, do that. We're short on time. Speaking of shorts. So we're going to get into this next part of the show. We like to call it came from It came from. All right. Yes, this is it came from we look all over the Internet to bring you topics the community is talking about. If you find any of these answers useful, give us a like wherever you're watching or listening to help other people find this content. All right, we got a couple of really good ones tonight. This first one here is by Caleb Colorado. Caleb Colorado. Wow. The human factor subreddit layoffs in Human factors. 12,000 from Google, 10,000 from Microsoft, 11,000 from Facebook. Seeing these tech knit layoff numbers has become worrisome for me. I'm getting ready to enter the industry with the talk of another recession probably hitting us. What do you think are the most safe or job secure recession proof jobs in Human Factors? Barry? I think, and this is only my perception that layoffs are more in the UX field than the broader HF field at the moment. There is a discussion there around, I think we've had it a while back around fashionable nature of UX, but fundamentally the recession proof jobs, nothing is completely recession proof, I don't think, but safe critical industries. So look at your air, your oil and gas, your nuclear defense, those places where they mandate the use of human factors and it's not just a nice to have would be where I'd be looking. Nick, what do you think? Yeah, we talked about this a few weeks ago. I thought it was worth revisiting just because I know a few who were hit with those layoffs. And I think you're spot on there with UX being sort of the more the industry that's affected more than human factors, although there are some human factors engineers that did get layoff from Google and Microsoft and so it's still worth talking about. But you're right, those critical industries looking at human factors, I think where human factors is absolutely indispensable, those are your safest bets. So there you go. All right, let's get into this next one here. This is by AG ABGI 237 on the UX Research subreddit when you realize the entire company culture environment has drunken the Koolaid. I had an experience where they were all convinced they were doing good work and solving really important and complex customer problems where they were not improving or driving any revenue for the business. The entire thing was being run at a loss and not producing anything. The complex customer problems were the customer problems were selling DIY equipment from paint brushes to bathtubs. What are other experiences of such strange and very toxic environments? I've seen this more than once and more than once in the past few years where people get fanatical around either a brand or they get really into almost for the best of reasons. They've cultivated an atmosphere that is really encompassing and all that sort of stuff. And it's almost really good leadership get really behind the idea of what it is. That what they're doing. But fundamentally what they're doing is broken. They haven't based on evidence. It's belief over fact. So yeah, I'd like to say it's a one off, but it does happen. It's one of these things and it's where some of the good products happen, actually. The things that you don't think are going to happen, it's one in a million. But yeah. So what you're saying is don't work for companies that act like cults. Is that unless you think it's going to be one that is going to succeed. Okay, all right. There's a couple out there that you could name a very sight of, very cool dish, but it succeeded. But actually the vast majority of them don't. Yeah, I've seen this happen where the whole company kind of gets groupthink around process or procedure or management style and it's incredibly toxic for the entire company, too. I've seen that happen and especially when they're not receptive to new ideas. That's kind of answering the question of where does these toxic environments happen? Not just with the product and believing what you're doing with the product, but the way in which you conduct business behind the scenes, too, can have a large impact on that toxicity level of being at a company. Anything else to add to that one, Barry, or should we move on? No, I think that's good. Okay, last one here. Is it common for product managers or product owners to shoot down any idea due to feasibility? This is by similarities on the user Experience subreddit. I was asked to come up with a solution for a certain part of a product. When I came up with a solution the rest of the UX team agreed on. When I shared it with my PO, she did not go for it because it would be, quote, too much extra dev work. Like every time I come up with an ideal solution, my product owner will just adjust it in a way that leads to a much more confusing UX, but overall is less effort for developers to implement. Barry, what do you think of this? Have you ever encountered this before? Only on a workday. Yeah. Welcome to the job. The one thing I would say is it's easy for us to look at this and say, don't they just know what we're talking about? But actually look at it from their perspective. And it's something I keep on having to kick myself to do all of the time, is why are they coming out with that? Always treat them like that, do a bit, use research on them. So look at it from their perspective. From their perspective, development time is expensive because they've got loads of devs and they know that they're a massive overhead and what they practice is the equivalent of voodoo because nobody else can do it. And really, you don't see the output of the UX problem of the user interface problem, of your user problem until the product hits the ground. Even though we'll be doing research and we'll be doing all the user trials and all that sort of stuff, it's really easy for other people to belittle their discussions. So they've either got a hard cost that they know that they know that the dev time is expensive, and if they can reduce that, they know they say books on their project. So really that means if you flip the thing on its head, that makes it our job. It's not only just to come up with a solution, but it's to come up with a really good evidence base. Not just I told you so, or I'm awesome, look at me. Are you employed me for my skills? Which you think would be enough, but it's not. We need to give them evidence. We need to give them solid reasoning. Now, it shouldn't be like this, but it is. And maybe it's a good thing, maybe it does keep us more honest, maybe it does keep us on our toes, but we do have to work harder to get our point across. And maybe it's a good thing for us. Nick, what do you think? Have you ever encountered this before? I know it's a rare thing. It's very rare. No, my snarky comment here is, oh, you must be new here, welcome to the field. But you're right, there are ways to work around. This one is like kind of showing why the design decisions would have some return on investment. If it saves users x amount of whatever, that's a good one to come in. Right. And also, understanding you're right. From the perspective of the engineers, what specifically is hard to implement about this thing? I think there's a good discussion that can be had there. Bringing everybody together and understanding everybody's needs working within constraints is one of the things that we are meant to do. Understanding why it's hard for a developer to implement is part of your job because then you can provide a solution that's going to work for everybody. You're the advocate for the user, but you're operating within the framework that you have established as your product. So just think about those types of things as you're trying to approach these situations with a product owner, you want to make sure that you're involving not only the product owner, but the developers at an early stage. So that way when you come forward with a design solution based on user research, that it is going to be feasible. Right. That's the whole thing. So anything else to add there? Should we just get into one More Thing? Let's just get into one more thing. Okay, let's do it. What's your one more thing this week? So my One More Thing this week is all about kitchen design. We have to be grown up and do so make grown up decisions. We're building an extension on the back of the house so we'll be building an extension on the back of the house else. And last weekend, so anyone else started to feel better, we went round a couple of kitchen showrooms where you go and talk to their people and one of them was brilliant because they turned around and told us that we'd have to learn about this thing called Ergonomics and how we actually fit within our kitchen. Now, Amanda, to give me a bit of a look, as if to say, don't say it, don't say it. Sit down. One of the things it did do for us, we ended up, I did some sort of task walkthrough walkthrough TalkThrough stuff around our utility room because we have a bit of a utility room converting what is currently our kitchen into this thing. And it wasn't until we started doing walkthrough TalkThrough about how we would use the kitchen appliances in there that we realized that the wall was in the wrong place, that the wall that we've got planned needed to move. And I only wanted to move it 25 mil in order to make it usable. But that was the difference between what we would have, which would be a poo a second, and being able to just move it, move that wall, because it's still in paper form, it's still just in plans. And so I had to rush an email off to the architect to say, the wall is in the wrong place. We need to move it back 250 mil in order to move a boiler, to be able to put an appliance and do this. So it was just really neat that actually, again, you don't switch the economics off to you. You don't switch off the fact that you do that. And actually, I was kind of kicking myself. But why? We didn't catch it the first time around. But I think with just the plans, you just overwhelmed. But this all sets us up for tomorrow, because tomorrow we're going around a couple of companies and actually having proper kitchen design sessions. So, yeah, I could turn my hair out by the end of tomorrow, but it's exciting. I think it's going to be fun. What about you, Nick? What's your one more thing? I like to partake in fast food every now and then. I'm sure some of you like to as well. It was prepared really well this one morning that I had a Carl's Jr. Breakfast burger, and I got to thinking, wow, this is so well done. I want to write a glowing review. And I thought, wow, there's only a tool that I could say. Write me a glowing review of the Carl's Jr. Breakfast burger. I swear this is not an advertisement, but I put it into chat GPT to write a review for it, right? And then I came back and said I've learned this fun chat GPT prompt where you can say, okay, use visceral emotional language, rewrite it using visceral emotional language. And what as follows is the review that I actually submitted to this. Okay. The Carl's Jr. Breakfast burger is an absolute culinary revelation. The explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth will leave you in a state of pure bliss. The patty is cooked to absolute perfection with a juicy and succulent taste that will make your taste buds dance. The seasoning is just right, elevating the natural taste of the beef to new heights. Each bite is a symphony of flavors that will leave you wanting more. The toppings are equally as divine, with the bacon providing satisfying crunch and the perfect amount of saltiness. The egg is cooked to perfection, but adds a rich and luxurious touch. The cheese is melted and gooey, adding an irresistible creaminess that will make your mouth water. The bun is a true masterpiece, with a soft and fluffy texture that melts in your mouth. The slight sweetness perfectly complements the savory toppings, making for a truly harmonious taste experience. In short, the Carl's Jr. Breakfast burger is a true work of art. It will tantalize all your senses and leave you in a state of pure gastronomic ecstasy. Damn it, I almost made it through. Whether you're a burger lover or just looking for something new, this burger is a must try experience that you won't regret. And that's it for today, everyone. If you like this episode and enjoy some of the discussion around CES, I'll encourage you all to go listen to the last time we did CES, which was episode 152, which was a digital detox. CES 2020 pix and screen time for children comment. Wherever you're listening to what you think of the story this week, for more in depth discussion, you can always join us on our discord community. Visit our official website, sign up for our newsletter, stay up to date with all the latest FEMA factors news. If you like what you've here, you want to support the show? Leave us a five star review and replace everything with visceral emotional language. When you do that, that is free for you to do. You could do that right now. Two, you can tell your friends about us. Say, hey, these people, they're talking about CES. From a Human factor's perspective, it's really cool. Listen to us. You knew that. Three, if you have a financial means to support us on Patreon, we'd love your money. But seriously, what we've do with your money is more important. And we put that right back into the show. We don't see a dime of that. In fact, I'm thousands of dollars in debt. So please help me. Help me. Help me. And as always, links to all of our socials and our website are in the description of this episode. Mr. Barry Kirby, thank you for being on the show today. Where can our listeners go and find you? If they want to talk about smelling Tina Turner references, you can find me across social media buzz of the score. Okay? And if you want to hear more interviews with Human Factors practitioners and experts in the field, then come and find me at twelve. Two As for me, I've been your host, Nick Roome. You can find me on our discord and across social media causing trouble with chat GPT at nick underscore Roome. 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.