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Feb. 10, 2023

E273 - A Third (Robot) Arm Might be the Future of Human Augmentation

This week on the show, we talk about the Human Factors Engineering implications of giving humans a third arm. We also answer some questions from the community about the HFES Conference and HFES Healthcare symposium, dealing with stressful stakeholder meetings, and what to do if your Sprint Planning meeting suddenly gets shifted to 5 in the morning.

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this is a very exciting episode forreasons that you'll find out about injust a minute if you're listening thisis episode 273 recording this live onFebruary 9th 2023 this is human factorscast I'm your host Nick Rome joinedtoday by Mr Barry Kirby hello and greatto be back here and back from whereveryou've been Mr Blake arnsdorfhow's everybody doing hey Blake it's sogreat to have you back on the show uh wegot a great show for you all tonightwe're gonna be talking about howroboticists want to give you a third armand later we answer some questions fromthe community about human factors andergonomics conference and what thatmeans for you uh what happens in somestressful stakeholder meetings and uhwhat happens if somebody schedules yourSprint planning meeting for 5 a.m we'regoing to talk about all that and morebut first let's take about a couple ofseconds here to talk about someprogramming notes um if you arelistening to this it's likely thatyou've seen in our podcast feed thisweek that our human factors minutetrailer is live now it's out on March1st but you can listen to the episodes aday early if you subscribe to the feedso for all of you uh if you want tothere's a link in the description ofthis episode you can go follow it overthere human factors minute traditionallybeen a supporter only show but now we'remaking it freely available to the publicuh part of it anywayand then uh coming up soon FridayFebruary 24th we have the first humanfactors in ergonomic Society hfes TownHall of the season so that'll be a greattime come and join us come with yourquestions it'll be a good time but BlakeI have to know what have you been up tosince the last time we talked welcomeback manthanks for having me back on the showyeah it's been a long time it's beenalmost a little over a yearum but yeah just kind of finding my waythrough what I want to do with my careerand making different changes and movesuh kind of moving a little bit moretowards design and development frombeing a user experience researcher for alittle while but not a whole lot itfeels really good to be back heretalking with you all about human factorsthingsum and I'm really excited just to do alittle Bantry with you guys it feelsgreat to have you all in one place uhBarry I have to know what's the latestgoing on over at 1202so at 12 or two we've still got theinterview with Stephen shark up thereand in that he gives us another view ofhis career with some really interestingand cool Reflections on some of thethings that um he's got up to and what'skind of shaped and molded his careerum and one of the most interestingthings for me was where he turned aroundand saidum rather deliver a report he wrote aletter to the managementum and that was just that was justphenomenal I would never have the goodto do something like that I don't thinkor maybe I would know that I've had theexample but we also broadening our reachso we've now got a dedicated Tick TockInstagram accountsum andum we're trying to push some morecontent so the shorts we're trying toget to be a bit more professional andum a bit more Dynamic so we put moreeffort in in the background basicallyI'm learning how to do this editingstuffum so we've got some really excitinginterviews coming up as well so some ofthem uh in um all scheduled two of themcoming up in the next month uh two ofthe most exciting ones I think I've doneyeah I was very excited about Steven'sinterview being really good these two Ithink might even just be even that onestep higher I'm very very excited oh Ihave to know I have to know you can typeit in in this like chat that we're alllooking at no one else I know all rightwell thank you Barry let's get into thepart of the show everyone's here for[Music]that's right it's human factors newsBarry what is the story this weekso this week roboticists want to giveyou a third arm so what would you dowith an extra limb and before the socialmedia melts down please remember this isa family-friendly showum we've all seen in jobs that requirean extra hand from surgeons performingcomplex operations to braiding long hairthat's not to mention soldering why isour carpentry trying to put togetherthem fiddly joints and let's justconsider supporting what we do now whatcould you do better or differently likeSpider-Man's Doctor Octopus or whatwould a 400 pianist be able to achieveof a gymnast with four armssuch scenarios may seem like sciencefiction but recent progress in roboticsand Neuroscience makes extra roboticlimbs conceivable with today'stechnology the research group atImperial College London and theUniversity of Friedberg in Germanytogether with Partners in Europeanproject Nema uh figuring out whethersuch augmentation could be realized inpractice to extend human capabilitiesthe main questions the team isaddressing include whether the humanbrain can control extra additional bodyparts and what neural signals can beused to do so the researchers believethat extra robotic limbs could be a newform of human augmentation improvingpeople's abilities and expanding whatthey can do with their bodiesthe study differentiates three levels ofhuman augmentation with the third levelbeing the least mature technologicallywe're offering users an extra degree offreedom without taking away Mobilityfrom any other body partthe researchers working on both invasivebrain machine interface implants andnon-invasive methods to pick up brainsignals including EEG and EMG signalsproduced by musclesso Blake the million dollar questionhere what would you do with your thirdhandI'm think I'm most concerned about likewalking through doors with a third armand just getting stuck not being able tomove through it effectively but like allkidding aside this seems pretty insane Ilove the idea of Like Music Creationchanging especially like from the pianoperspective being able to like makepianos with two extra octaves orsomething like that but when I startedthinking about that particular conceptit's almost like a human evolution typeof thing where now you've introduced acompletely new limb or completely newset of Limbs how does that change andaugment our entire environment how doesit change your day-to-day life haschanged jobs there's just a lot of coolaugmentation that can happen and likeproductivity a Skyrocket people beingable to do that third thing that theycan't normally do but ultimately for mewhat I'm most stoked on is the neuralcommunication part like does that reallyprovide a medium for doing differentthings controlling things with your mindwe typically don't do like Computing oranything like that outside of just likea third arm uh but that's kind of myinitial take on it it's really cool itseems really out thereum but I'm really excited about theNeuroscience behind itand I mean like from from the mentalcapacity can we even handle that ashumans can we handle knowing where athird arm is right to be clear reallyquick to be clear you were talking aboutthis is an audio medium and just in caseit was misunderstood you were talkingabout people who played pianos earlierright not not the other thing all rightso uh there might be just a little bitof outside influence that happened bythe way with the selection of this storyBarry uh butbut my first reaction to this story isthis would have been an amazing thing tohave when my son was an infant becausethere's just so many things that youneed to do as a new parent that you justneed an extra hand for whether it's youknow you're holding you're holding babyand you need to I don't know get out awipe or something and you're like tryingto one hand it and you're just relyingon the weight of the wipes to like grabgrab it from the the container and youknow if you had a third hand to holdthat thing down or to actually grab thewipe with and you could use your otherhand to hold it down or you know tochange a diaper and and a whole otherthings while you're doing a diaper youknow like or if you're even referencinghow to do something as a new parent youcan hold your phone with a how-to thingright here and it's just permanentlymounted there and you're like readingstep by step and you're you knownavigating through it while your actualtwo hands are free but beyond that we'lltalk about some of the mental capacitythings with with respect toum how to actually control these thingsa little bit later but that was just myinitial thought is like how how is thisgoing to work Barry what are yourinitial thoughts on thisI think I'm in the same boat as both ofyou that no it's fantastic it's the themind boggles it's it's amazing and wheredo you stop if we can get an arm rightwell they're talking about like extralegs andum you know extra fingers and you knowcan you get an extra you know what morecan you uh do and what could the Mindcope within in in making this sort ofstuff work because to get Anam workingshould it then it's onlyum to if you conquered all the hurdlesto get you there it can be much furtherto get you get you elsewhereumbut on again on them serious point isI'm very much in with Blake here I'mreally interested in in the in thiscontrol aspect how do you make this andthis no pun intended how do you makethis truly truly hands-freeum because normally when we have thissort ofum third arm we see it with likesurgeons don't we and it's it's remoteremote articulation whereas this is whatwe talk what we're talking about ishaving that in something an extra usefuluh capacity so I'm really excited todive into this into this discussionbefore we do that we had you've actuallyreached out on social media Barry to seewhat people in the community are sayingdo you want to read one of these just interms of another application that wecould potentially use technology likethis foryeah really critical I I did um I didReach Out massivelyum uh that might have you know persuadedum I did the influence maybe a littlebit where the subject came from tonightbut I wanted to highlightum a comment by Rob Putin who's alecturer here in the in the UK and hecommented on LinkedInum the a really really high-tech andcritical use of thisum something that we all struggle fromis when you've got that itch in themiddle of your back it would just beable to get it for youum so and I I mean that to be honestthat was one of my first thoughts aswell when it was there uh when he saidthank God if you've got Niche on it's onyour back I mean I mean who wouldn'tspend the billions of pounds that he'sgoing to take to develop this technologyto uh to have a back scratcher yeah Imean it can it can bend in ways thatyour your regular arms can't and sothat's got to be worth something rightlet's talk about I mean we could goanywhere with this honestly and I Ithink we're kind of all in the same boatof like wanting to know how this neuralconnection works right so let's talkabout how you control this thing uh orat leasta little bit more about how you mightcontrol this thing so for for from whatI understand there's two different waysin which you could right you could lookat uh either a traditional braincomputer interface where it isinterfacing with your brain the invasivetechnology right soum that might be one way that you'rethat you're looking at it's kind of thephysical control neural signals going inand controlling these things there'salso non-invasive technology that can beusedum you know things like EEG and signalsfrom your brain that are just passivelycontrolling not passively you'reactively controlling it based on whatsignals what signals work what signalsdon't but those are the two ways inwhich we can control this thing uh Idon't know Blake what are your thoughtson control of this thingI feel like the the like of course likethe the business answer is like how dowe make this accessible to a lot ofpeople so like giving some kind ofwearable that allows you to measure EEGor any signals coming off your bodycould be amazing but I think what endsup being the interesting problem is thedegrees of freedom you get from the twodifferent modes of being able to controlsomething so I'd say the applicationwould have a lot of impact on how you'regoing to want to control something likethis because one thing that I didn'teven think about until I was listeningto y'all talk is there's like a a giantthing here for Prosthetics so replacinglimbs that used to exist and thenleveraging you know existing neuronalconnections for thatum so in that case maybe something youwant something a little more invasive sobecause it's acting as a limb dependingon how the tech Works versus having athird arm at your jobgoing back to like the the surgeryexample from earlier using a wearablecould just make it so you're you knowonly using it at work taking on and offand all that kind of stuff so I thinkthe control mechanism is really aninteresting thing here and how you canactually you know what can we get awaywith with least the least evasivetechnology and then what how do we superpower that by being a little moreinvasiveyeah I mean that'syou fight a whole bunch of thought ofthat because you're right if you if youtake that prosthetic approach that'swhere they're they're adapting alreadyexisting signals already existingmovements and Transplant them into ininto the into the technology and thatjust shows the the magnitude of the taskthe fact that not only are we gonna haveto create a a control interface butwe're going to have to do it in a waythe the brain can control it and it'sgot to be able to control it I mean thebig one of the biggest issues we'regoing to have here is latencyum It's gotta you know as soon as youhowever you imagine that work is doneit's got to be done hasn't it you knowyou you don't sit there and say lift myarm and then you know your arm lift liketwo minutes later it has to becontrolled so how do we make sure thatlatency goes down which then leads youdown back down to wellI can't see how it wouldn't be aninvasive control because every othernon-invasive control I've seen has beenan interpretation you have to think in acertain way you're trying to create abrain former aren't you rather thanthinking right I need to grab thisum it's going to almost be that thatum you know goal-oriented uh thing Iwant this to happen not I must lift thearm and make it articulate in some waysoI keep on going back to uh The Matrixum are we literally going to have tohave that sort of almostplug-in I mean okay maybe not quite asinvasive As the metric Matrix one butsome sort of plug-inum to make that happen and then almostthat then takes you to the uh the otherpoint you made Blake is if this issomething that you wear for workum would you a want to take it off and Bhow would you take it off and what isthe risk involved in suddenly thinkingoh I've dropped something I've got youknow if you've got that third arm butthe third arm isn't there anymorebecause you're just taking it offbecause you're at home and you don'tcatch that cup of tea which you thoughtyou'd be able to or whatever it is youknow yeah uh there is probably a massivesafety case there aroundhaving Limbs and not having limbspurely down to how you're controllingthemum not so much because of the havingthem there in sales but becauseum you've got to be able to distinguishbetween I have it or I don'tum and be yeah I think there's there's alot of stuff there which I think couldbe really fascinating you're going downthe safety rabbit hole and I meanthere's there's a ton of other safetyconcerns but I mean there's a ton ofother safety concerns not only am Ithinking about do I have this thing onor not because I've only put it on forwork but I mean even having this thingon if it pinches a body part becauseyou've operated it in a way that's notthe way that you wanted it to and it'sbehaved in a way that you haven't wantedit to there's all these considerationsfrom that perspective but then whatabout some of the long lasting impactsof you know wearing this thing in aplace thathumans haven't evolved traditionally toaccommodate so if you're wearing thisbig heavy thing on your backpack is theweight distributed properly to allowyour body to accommodate for that areyou going to have some long lastinghealth effects with uh with respect toyou know the way that you move andthings like that from having these extrarobotic limbs off of your bodyum you know beyond the physicalcomponent is there going to be like Imentioned earlier enough mental capacityfor us to actually operate these in asafe way on the job uh you know if it'ssomething that we've like you knowimplanted into our infants at Birthwhere they have this control mechanismand we put little tiny baby robot armson them and they can learn to use thoselike their normal limbs as they've grownup then I think we're capable of doingthat and understanding what is possiblewith this third arm capability it allowsus to move and operate in different waysbut if we don't have that training or orexperience growing up with this thirdlimb what does that actually look likein an operational environment you knowis is it going to be safe and reliablefor those who are inexperienced with itas well as those who are experiencedwith it and is it going to basically beuh durable in in cases where I don'tknow maybe you're operating dangerousMachinery with it uh and is it going topull you into that dangerous Machineryis there going to be like some somequick release mechanism that if you getit caught in something it's going toquickly come off you know and then whatdoes that do for you obviously you won'tfeel pain hopefully not but like whatwhat how what does that feel like tothen try to perform a task and not havethat thing there I just have so manyquestionswell again I mean that whole feelingthing I mean we sort of with with remotelimb application we tend to wear hapticsdon't we so when you when it when itpressures something you get the pressureon yourum on your own hand so you kind of knowwhere you're at this that just doesn'tapply because it's a third limbum and the more you sort of go down thisrabbit hole it's it's quite amazing theother thing to you sort of mention thesafety bit around if it pinches yourbody what happens if it pinch issomebody else's and how do you get thatfeedback and now if you grip somebodyelse you had or something like that aswell that's umthat's not good it's an ethicalconsideration thereoh I mean it could it would be justproviding you feedback right like Icould see that like even in the case oflike if we were playing somebody's leglike being able to provide you knowactuation back to you that you'vestepped on somethingum but you don't really want to behurting people either and so that thatdoes seem pretty dangerous in some waysbut for I don't know about y'all thisreally again with a lot of thistechnology seems like very steppingstone like like I don't I don't seethird arms being the the end here I Iwould actually see like this is morefocused on the being able to control alot of autonomous things in yourenvironment uh through whatever kind ofneuro haptics that are going on so liketake the take all the limbs off of youeventually and you're controllingmachines in an entire Warehouse orsomething to that effect yeah and thatthat really does open up the humancomputer or the brain computerinteraction in all this again myquestions are mostly around capacity forhumans to understand what they're doingin a situation where you're plugginginto an entire system right do you havethe brain capacity to manage an entiresystem of various Machinery to perform atask uh and and where do we limit thatscope of of control because that scopeof control is going to be reallyimportantum for just our ability to do somethinglike just take okay I'm going to bringit back to the arms really quick imagineyou have two extra arms on your back andyou're playing a piano okayit's for me uh even having someexperience it's hard enough to play withtwo hands to really practice at it youknow for some people they're savants andsure whatever but you know for forothers it's it's just enough to try toget your hands to work in coordinationnow add two more to that and thecomplexity doesn't double it quadruplesor you know it's it's some sort ofexponential Thing by adding in two morethings to control becauseplaying a piano is exactly like thisalready you can start with one hand andplay a tune then you can add in yoursecond hand and play you know theaccompaniment and then you add in yourfoot with sustain pedals and so you'renow controlling three different thingsthat control different aspects of thepianoif you add in two more limbs that aredoing different things I guess I'm kindof convincing myself that it's possiblebut it's a lot to think aboutso the the flip argument I give to thatis you've got rather than think of apiano think of an organum like like a church organ or somethinglike which has got you know some of thebig ones have got like four keyboardsum as that means you could be playingand literally you have to choose whichones you're going to play you could beplaying all fourum and and that would produce a such adifferent type of musicum at that pointum but yes I mean the it's just thatI think once you work out how you aregoing to control one because we it's aconstant refrain isn't it but actuallythe brain is underutilized massivelyum you know it's got loads of capacityand stuff we just don't really trulyunderstand and we're evolving to do itum the uh the digital natives of todayum could control way more digitally thandigital immigrants and older Generationsbecause it's an evolutionary thing so nomatter what happens now it might seemquite fantastic now in 10 years timeI'm thinking 10 15 years time this isgoing to be completely normal and we'regoing to have evolved to use it I meanlook at a basic gaming controllerthere's so many more functions on therethat people can easily adapt to you knowyounger Generations easily adapt to nowI struggle to use them all because I'mof that slightly older GenerationUm so you know these things evolve so Ithink once they come in as you said Ithink this is a stepping stoneum they see you know it's always thefirst to Market type of thing how are wegoing to use it how are we going to makethe most of it but it'sit is still really exciting I meanactually for your piano thing itwouldn't necessarily be another hand onthe keyboard it would be the thing toturn the page of you yeahand I want to comment on two things onethe the the video game controllers thingokay I was gonna give my son like SuperMario you know jump left and right andthat's basically I have with somethrowing in there toohe's like fully playing Hot Wheels gameswhere you're not only maneuvering thecar left and right on the track you'regoing forward you're going backwardsyou're doing drifts he's doing driftsand he's three years old he's also okaynot only that but that you can use thesecondary stick the right stick tomaneuver your vehicle in midair forjumps where you're like going off a rampand then you have to turn the car upsidedown to land on a magnetic track he'sdoing all that at three and I'm like Iwas gonna give this kid Mario to startwith and he's like just it's way beyondthat already yeahthe second piece I don't remember whatmy comment was I'll get back to itI'm sure it was amazing what do youthink about the to pick apart theBlackberry roundum it being you know widely availablesomething that's going to be widelyavailable I mean there's got to bemassive social implications for thisbecause if this appears at your localtechnology store it's not going to becheap is it so I mean there's got to bewhat are the social impacts of this ifyou've got this third um fourth armwhatever it is you know an extra footand you can run quicker or whateverwhatever it is does that mean thatum is it just a toy or is it going togive you more capacity and capabilityit's going to make you more employablebecause you bought it and thereforeum it becomes it comes basically adifferentiator because you can afford tobuy buy a funky Gadgetwell that's almost what I was thinkinglike do you for certain jobs do you nowhave to be certified to use this devicein a workplace setting how does thatchange like the education system or Johnon on job onboarding and there thereseems like there's a giant you knowdesign Chasm there of onboardingsomebody to how to use one of thesedevices for a job especially if we'retalking about these things they're alittle bit more serious like being asurgeon working in construction puttingtogether automobiles versus like beingin your own home and being able to useit so I would imagine it it kind ofchanged a lot of things from theemployment perspective which I knowthat's like a giant you know thing thatpeople are already dealing with with theAI perspective on thatI remember what it was I was gonna jumpin with a joke about one uh one manbands complaining that their jobs arebeing taken Now by robotic arms but Imean along along the same line of jobrequirements right this this opens up awhole additional aspect of of jobsbecause well it opens up new jobs tobegin with because you have to havetechnicians and Engineers to maintainand repair these robotic arms theserobotic limbs you also have to haveum you know updated skills like you weresaying Blake like you have to upgradethese skills to to operate these roboticLimbs and so is there some sort ofcertification that says I can use one ofthese on the job uh and then there'salso you know opportunities fordevelopment and manufacture of theselimbs obviously but thenwhat happens if you get those jobs thatare automated by basically recordingsomeone's inputputting a robotic limb and justrepeating that input right likerecording macros and having an arm dothose jobs do we need people to do thosejobs anymore if we just have a powersource and somebody's initial inputmaking that thing happen I don't know itopens up a lot of questions from jobrequirements perspective what is goingto be required for jobs and it's thesame question I have around AI too rightwe've seen a lot of different toolscoming out recently Chad gbt andGoogle's Bard now coming out too manyother competitors as well to Ai andit's going to be a training thing can weget enough people to understandwhat these tools Ai and robotic armsincluded can be used for and are usedeffectively foruh and is it like you were saying is itgoing to be one of those things that isgoing to be limited to access to thosewho have money and it's going to makethat divide even further right becauselike AI is an easy one to point to rightnow to be able to afford an AI I meanchat GPT is free right now but they'regoing to start charging for it and so ifyou're not able to use that you'reyou're immediately put into Spanish likenot only owning a calculator if you'retrying to do work in math and soare you going to be lesser quote unquoteat your job because you can't affordthese thingsit's yeah there's a lot of questions Idon't know I've just opened up a can ofwords herewell you see I mean it's one of thesethings isn't it I think the theevolution of Technology always changesjobsum no matter what happens but and Ithink the way that you mentioned itearlier you know there's going to be awhole bunch of new jobs open up withthis there's going to be maintenancethere's going to be you know what whatnew roles does it open up by the factthat you've got the ability to have thisyou know extra arms Etc et cetera wethere's so many science fiction moviesout there where you know you've gotextra limbsum you know it's almost a perfect courseinum in this sort of stuff and it justnaturally happens sowith all the things that have evolvedand it's been doing it for like betweenhundreds of years they some jobs willclose down some you know you will needless people doing mandelic workum you know manual labor will becomeless intensive because one person can doso much more but then you you each gbtexample I think is quite good they youknow it's it's open source at the momentGoogle's piece will become um opensource or relatively cheap andaccessibleum so that makes you know we've seen iton this show that we can have that extracapabilityum because of the use of AI and ithasn't stopped us from doingum it doesn't take them out it's allowedus to do more not less and I kind ofthink that this sort of Technology willgo down that route because employerswill see that this allows morecapability so they'll you know it's abit like you know a pilot doesn't buytheir own well some do buy their ownairplane but an airline plan thatdoesn't bother by their own airplane youknow the employer buys the airplane thepilots learn how to fly themum and so this could be a similar typeof type of thingum but bringing it right back to todesign and developmentum the other the other thing that I wasthinking about is what does theaesthetic of this look like because isit a does it look likea hand so is it like a is it like youknow like a fake skinned hand is it aum a more mechanical lookingum like almost gears and you know almoststeampunk yeah that that type of thingum that's really weirdum but the um for those audio listeningNick's got random bands the hands handscoming out of random parts of his bodyum the uh but yeah so is it somethingthat's going to look a bit moremechatronic or is it something that'sgot to look a bit has it got to looklikeum a a skinum like what do you thinkwell I was wondering about that toobecause like in if if anybody like takesa look at the article that's linked likethey show a example where somebody'slike replacing a space station or fixingsomething on a space station it looksvery mechanical looking however likewhen we're talking about leveraging youknow neuronal capacity and thinkingabout like well what's going to beeasier for somebody to understand how amachine works or using something thatlooks like their own hand or their ownarmso for from my perspective maybe the armis the way to go uh just because it itcould potentially give you a betterpoint of reference for when you startthinking about how this thing works orwhat it can do that we're not reallystuck in that like okay I need thisextra limb to do this action for me it'sas simple as like pick that up or giveme that thing off the shelfum but Nick what do you think How wouldhow would you have this designed so I'veI've thought about this a little bitbecause I'm not super happy with theillustration on the original article andI mean there's um you know they they dokind of have this back to further expandon your point they have a backpack withtwo arms sticking out of it that arekind of right behind your arms andthey're kind of rotated they're they'rerobotic in nature I don't knowum I think the easiest thing to operatewould probably be an analog close towhat we have and that's just my myinitial thought right an analog to ourarm connected at our shoulder joint uhand and basically the only thing thatmight be different in the case ofimplementing some of these like roboticarms you haveum I don't know you haveAI systems on board whatever thing is onyou that is going to allow for theinterpretation of your input so there'ssome sort of third mechanism in inthe form of an artificial intelligencethat is interpret interpreting yourinput and producing the output intorobot arm speak so that way it programsa place for it to go and do all that andall this has to happen really quickly sothat way if you do have those thoughtsof like pick that thing upum it's got to deconflict between whatyour intent is with your arms with yourcustomfleshy bits you know versus the roboticbits uh is are your fleshy bits gonna dothat are your robotic bits gonna do thathow does it deconflict those thingsum what's going on which one is going totake this one I'm doing this with myfleshy bits and doing that with myrobotic bits and how does all that workso there's got to be automated systemson board but the way I'm thinking aboutthisto begin with I I'm imagining thistechnology being used very uhconservativelyand maybe almost like we see it in thisillustration where it's some sort of exosuit or exoskeleton that allows us tooffset that weight and help us inenvironments in which case we have to docomplex tasks where we hold multipleobjects and items and they might just bea pair of Helping Hands to begin withand then we advance that relationshipwith the way in which we interact withthe robotic bits later on but I thinkthat's the Evolution for me is youattack these onto an exoskeleton exosuitwith you know the thenon-invasive brain reading to start andthen the evolution is something down theline where we have multiple Limbs andyou know we just change out our pairs ofarms like what does that mean culturallyI don't know that's something else thatI want to get to before we wrap up herebutum speaking of wrapping up let's let'sdo one more round of thoughts and thenwe'll we'll get out of here Barry whatwhat are your kind of closing thoughtson uh arm stuffso I'm giving the um the depths ofscience that we have fleshy bits androbotic bits I think the terminology isjust on pointum I think the I there's two bits thatI've gotall around question robotic we got ityepthere's a lot of um uh videos around atthe moment where they do the experimentwhere you have the the fake hand and thereal hand and the hit the fake hand withthe hammer and the real hand thinks it'sgot uh it's getting the uh the the thethe the reception of that so that's onething I think we the E our brains willbe easily confused without really goodtrainingum the the other bit I don't knowwhether you get it out in the States butI'm hopefully people get it if anybody'swatched Inspector Gadgetum oh yeah oh yeah yeah good that's okaygood cultural referenceum is this just going to end up likethat where basically it's like go go getyour hands or go and you know as you sawsaid the the development of that is thehands go away and it's it's just thetool that you're trying to use so ifyou're a mechanic it it's like the drillthat's it's how you operate the drillfrom that point it's how you operate thecontainer for for holding the um thebolts that type of thing so yes I thinkum as we said right at the top this isthe start of something I think I'm bequite impressiveBlake what about you what are your finalthoughts on thisit I think the the third arm thing likeI said a couple times is like a startingplace and really where I'm excited orinterested in is how does this allowbecause Nikki brought a really goodpoint like what if we gave this to kidswhat if we gave this to kids and itstarts really expanding their capabilityto use their brain more than we're ableto do now or give it to adults that noware able to like expand and use moreneurons in their brain than they've everused before how does that change howpeople think how does it change howpeople interact with the world aroundthem or interface with each othertechnology so I really am excited to seehow does this impact our brains becausereally that's the underlying sciencehere is like what's going on with theneuroscience and as neuroplastic as thebrain can be it would be insane if wecould use you know two percent more ofour brain and see what comes from it butyeah yeah I mean for me it's it's moreof the like Society cultural norms typeof questions that I want to this is thepart where I open up just a bunch of canof worms where we don't address itbecause we're gonna go to a commercialhere in a second butbasically like some of the classiccyberpunk questions do you modifyyourself do you do you modify your bodywith these bits like do you likeintegrate this technology uh do youintegrate with the technology do you doyou get the technology to be able toJack into a you know BCIum you know basically there's there'sobviously all these privacy concerns canyou get hacked can you you know whateverbut there's also disparities withrespect to access to this stuffum from socioeconomical status you knowclassic cyberpunk stuff but alsowhat does this mean in terms ofum being able to use these limbs formalicious purposes is it going tosuperpower criminals we don't know andthen lastlyuh what does this do from a culturalnorms perspective and values does thischange how people view other people whouse this stuff am I going to thinklesser of you because you use tworobotic arms are you gonna think lesserof me because I use two robotic arms andI've chosen to do so because it augmentsthe way that I think and augments theway that I interact with the worldso that's it thank you to our patronsand everybody else who voted on thestory this week and thank you to Barryfor his influence on the story this weekthank you to our friends over at IEEESpectrum for our news story if you wantto follow along we do post the links tothe original articles on our weeklyroundups and our blog so you can alsojoin us in our Discord for morediscussion on these stories and muchmore we're going to take a quick breakand we'll be back to see what's going onin the human factors Community rightafter thishuman factors cast brings you the bestin human factors News interviewsconference coverage and overall funconversations into each and everyepisode we producebut we can't do it without youthe human factors cast network is 100listener supported all the funds that gointo running the show come from ourlisteners our patrons are our priorityand we want to ensure we're giving backto you for supporting us pledges startat just one dollar per month and includerewards like access to our weekly q andA's with the hosts personalizedprofessional reviews and human factorsminute a patreon only weekly podcastwhere the hosts break down uniqueobscure and interesting human factorsTopics in just one minute patreonrewards are always evolving so stop bypatreon.comhumanfactorscast to see what supportlevel may be right for you thank you andremember it dependsyeah we'll need to change that oncehuman factors then it goes live uh but ahuge thank you to as always to all ofour patrons we especially want to thankour human factors cast all accesspatrons Michelle Tripp uh let's talkabout human factors a minute for asecond I brought it up at the top butagain it's going to be live it's gonnabe public uh for public consumption onMarch 1st early if you subscribe to thefeedum but total right now currently for ourpatrons we have 166 episodes out therethat'll be on a slow drip for all of youuh listening to it publicly but thetotal time we we have three and a halfhours just about of human factorsminutes out there in the world threehours 29 minutes and six seconds averageuh play time is at a minute and 15seconds so you're actually getting alittle bit more than a minute in eachhuman factors minute I'm really excitedfor you all to experience this this hasbeen a long labor of love Blake and Istarted it back in what 2019 orsomething and since then there's been alot more voices and people involved inin the project than just Blake andmyself in fact we brought Barry on alittle bit into the production of thatso that way he's a voice and Talent onthe show as well beyond that there'smany people that work in our lab asvolunteers who author these humanfactors minutes they go out they do theresearch they bring all that stufftogether and combine it into one topicthat we bring to you in one minute everyweek so I'm super excited for this thingto go live I just cannot wait for youall to get it into your ear holes uhfrom all the hard work that we've allput into this so with that let's getinto the next part of the show we liketo callthat came from itcame fromI see Blake Blake's laughing becauseI've never changed the visual eventhough I complained about itforeveranyway anyway let's get into it camefrom uh this is the part of the showwhere we search all over the Internet tobring you topics the community istalking about if you find any of theseanswers useful give us a like to helpother people find this content it reallymean a lot to us if you did that allright this first one here is uh is fromthe human factor subreddit this iscorrect bull 8862uh let's see here they write hfesconference is this a good place oh sorryhfes conference slash hfes Healthcare isthis a good place to network and line upinternships and jobs I feel like this isa this is a uh it's like asoftball so uh Barry what do you thinkyesit absolutely is uh the only thing Iwould say though is something I'velearned uh the hard way you need to putthe effort in you need to put the workin to make sure that youum you know who you're gonna go and talkto that you you actually go and do itI've done it before you go toconferences and go all right we'll talkto these all these people and then youknow you get nervous imposter syndromewhatever it is that comes into play youdecide to go and hide in the corner ordo what I do go and find the corner ofthe bound drink red wineum the you if you want to go and talk topeople work out who's going to be theremake your list make sure you know getyour top 10 the people you want to goand talk to and go and do itum so make your network plan you can'tif you're going to make the most of ityou can't just rock up and um and hopeit all happens Hey Barry quick quickfollow-up on that not everybody has apodcast where they can say hey do youwant to be on my podcast and talk therehow do you do that I don't know that'swhy I started a podcast so I couldabsolutelyum I mean it's one of these things it'sactually going to be the topic of my ofmy um opening conference speech thisyear is about Communications aboutwelcoming people in because we go I meanI remember going to one of my firstenormous conferences sat with a bunch offriendsum a bit younger than I am now going ohlook you've got the really importantpeople giving speeches up up on the topI could never hope to speak and they'reasking they've daring to ask a questionof the expert on the stage and askingdifficult question whereas now I'm thedifficult person asking the questions oryou know giving the presentations andyou sort of forget what it's like to bethe person down in the audience thinkingthat they dare not go and talk tosomebody because they think they're toobig and uh big and important so I'mgoing to try and put the challenge outthere too hey make sure you you know youcan go and talk to all these people butalso on on the presenters on on us tomake sure that we are open to be uh tobe spoken to so but you've small talk Imean how how do you do small talkum or as you do it don't bother and justgoUm and just go and say hium most people are more welcoming thanyou give them credit for and if they'renot well quite frankly they don'tdeserve to know youI couldn't have said anything bettermyself that's really really great advicelike what about youso I I think we're all gonna agree hereso I'm gonna try and take a like aperspective on how you can approach thisand get the gold mine that it is out ofit I think Barry made a great point oflike knowing who you're gonna go talk toone approach I've taken before isreaching out to people before I go to aconference and asking about thingsthey're going to talk about if they'reif like the presentation rosters up orlikealso like knowing who of my friends orwho of my network group is going so thatI feel like I have a buddy that I can gotalk to and you know always be in agroup of people the other thing to lookout for is like are there events thatare specifically geared towards goingand interacting with people are therelike interactive workshops are therehappy hours are there like openingspeeches or dinners or whatever becausethat can be a great place to like dayone go meet a bunch of people and youknow try and you know make a friend thefirst day the other thing that I thinkis super valuable about conferences thatI see in most are the you know mockinterview views or like job fair typethings they have those can be superuseful because like there's less barrierto entry of like oh I don't know thisperson I'm nervous to talk to themthey're a rock star and ux or humanfactors or whatever this is more of likego get the Reps in of interviewing andmaybe something works maybe somethingdoesn't but you'll learn a lot in theprocessyeah uh I jeez guys he's like taking allthe good stuff I basically yes uh theseare great to go toum and I'd highly recommend anyone go tothese in person just because going inperson you beyond the the whole planningwho you want to talk to and reaching outto people beforehand you also have theopposite end of interactions that youweren't expecting you run into peoplewho you're like hey I didn't know youwere working on this thing and you havethose discussions in the hallway after apresentation you go to these discussionpanels and somebody brings up a reallygood point that you didn't think aboutand then it Sparks an idea you sparkcollaboration between and it's just likethese ideas are just flying atconferences andlike Barry was saying it can beintimidating to like you know brainstormwith somebody else who may know morethan you and it's okay to be humbled inthat way and say oh I just didn't knowabout that that's great that you'vealready researched that thing that Ijust came up with but also you know it'slike that that might spawn furtheradditional uh ideation and collaborationbetween you and another person and it'salso possible that you might be workingon something totally distant from thetopic being talked about but have a wayin which that topic can be applied towhat you're working on or vice versa andthat's another form of collaborationthat you can do and so it's just likeyes there's everything everything justgo uh and the healthcare Symposium iscoming up soon in fact we'll have somecoverage not sure what exactly yet butwe will have some coverage this year sothat's greatum yeah I don't knowthat's all for this question let's getinto the next one here this one's astressful stakeholder meeting thisFriday by Jammers nine seven eight sevenon the ux research subredditthey write I have a meeting coming upabout research processes and templatesI've been using general research Opsrather than specifics of all the studiesstudies being run uh this individualI'll be presenting to is known for beingblunt cold and very critical I've seenthem during other presentations and theyessentially cross-examine people andleave everyone leaves the meetingfeeling worse than they came in doesanyone have any tips on how to managestakeholders like this Barryyou knowI don't know what you're doing so rightI'll give you some advice and I adviseyou not to take it so right the one wayis just take it if you know what they'relike you know it's going to be you knowit's not personal just just let it washover you and it's their problem notyoursunfortunately I can't take that advicebecause I don't like letting people toget away with that I see no reason atall why anybody should be allowed to getaway with beingbeen so expletive at that point towardsyou when you're just trying to do yourjob so I have two approaches to to itreally one of the one of them I call itoutum and suggests that um not in a nastyway not anything like that but along thelines of I don't think necessarily weneed to be thatum argumentative that defense whateverit is that they're beingum you know we we could maybe counterthings in a slightly friendlier uhmanner uh whatever the other one I quitelike doing and it depends how much Iwant the job to continue and whateverbut I just go reflective if they'rebeing blunt cold and critical then I'lljust I'll just reflect it back at themand sometimes it's a good way ofum there's no I thinkyeah 50 50. um if you're doing that somepeople actually take that and go oh Isee what they're doingum they're oh is that what I'm do ohright okayum or they'll just get really sort ofhow dare you be like that with meum and then somebody else will point outis oh it's just like to the same samepeople in the room sothe problem with doing that is if ifwith any of them approaches you kind ofgot to be vaguely confident in yourposition because otherwise it's notnecessarily good for employmentlongevityum if they particularly if they're ifthey're senior um I've seen itunfortunately go wrong for myself on acouple of occasionsum but fundamentally I don't believe itshould happen and I wish everybody feltempowered to call it out it's not alwaysit's not always like that you can'talways do itum but you should be able to I wouldlike to thinkso how do you guys keep hold of yourjobs as opposed to doing the way that Ido ityou Barry I think thatit's one of the it's a hard it's a rockand a hard place especially like if youin the US or I guess globally if youlook at the economy like it's hard tosay some of these things like you shouldfeel like you're empowered to call thiskind of stuff out at work because it'sit's probably not a place that you wantto be working if that's not addressed bysomebody else and like you've got agroup of peers that are just letting atoxic individual at a senior level makepeople feel this way however I do thinkthere are a couple things to like take astep back and look atum from my like time being a designerand a very short stint of trying to be astand-up comedian I have a really thickskin and I think it's an important thingto have if you're in the ux designCommunity or like even if you're aresearcher too because you half presenthard points sometimes it can be reallydifficult with different stakeholdersum so one thing to try and do isseparate it from taking it personally ifyou know this person is going to actthis way do your best to look for actualobjective feedback that you can use andbe questioning about it like make surethat you can actually walk away withsomethingum one interesting case that I hadbecause I I'm not great at being supercombativeum in group settings but I will alwaysgo up to somebody afterwards and try andhave a discussion of what just happenedto that room and I've found more oftenthan not some people don't know thatthat's the way they're coming off andthat's the way they're making peoplefeel so if you if you like can bring itup in yourself to go talk to the whoeverafter the meeting and get a better senseof do they really understand whatthey're doing to peopleum I'll give you four four warning thiscan backfire too and just be an entirelyworse conversation and make you feeleven worse and you to Barry's point youmay lose your job because you lose yourtemper but it's just like try to take itwith stride and like give the person thebenefit of the doubt even if they don'tdeserve it and just kind of like seewhat you can do from taking it as alearning experience having aconversation a growth opportunity foryou bothbut that's definitely an easier saidthan done type of tacticyeah I you guys again took my answers Ithis the downfall of going last but Ihave never dealt with anyone like thisbefore sounds uh like a totally uniqueexperience that I have no idea how toanswer this questionum with this type of personality I thinkthere's my advice would be to bediplomatic about itum you know try to take The High Groundif you do call them out be diplomaticabout it right don't let them know butbe professional right don't if umthere's the other piece of likeunderstanding where they're coming fromuh and they likely have similar goals toyou to make the product processprocedure whatever it is that you'reworking on better that should be auniversal goal shared between you twoand so they're they're coming at thisfrom likely a place of trying to makethat thing better and they're justtrying to add value even if they comeoff as abrasive and so you know eithertake what they say to heart or don'tthat's I think where they're coming fromand yes there's a lot to be said aboutdelivery especially from three people ona podcast because we all understand theimportance of communication noteverybody does and it's a really toughplace to be when you're encounteringthat compa combative uh sometimespersonalityum so you know just they are and andthat's that's one strategy right callthem out and say hey look I know we havethe same goals and then question them ontheir beliefs why why did you say thatwhy did you why do you believe that tobe true and that will often cause themto introspect and change their ways uhtotally entirely and that's sarcasm toobutsometimes it works sometimes it doesn'tlike Barry said 50 50. all right let'sget into this last onethe company move Sprint planning to fivein the morning suddenly this is byeasy-going Spyros uh on the userexperience separate told myself I wouldnever die on this or I would die I woulddie on this hill and not go 5am isridiculous but I don't have a job linedup to leave yet any advice for what todo or am I the one overreacting Barrywhat do you think about 5 a.m stand-upmeetingnope that's not well no I'll qualifythat right so my general answer is thisis a if the Sprint and the project is umongoing so it's it's that's the way youthat your company works and what they'retrying to do is to pull you back to his5 AM start time which isn't a 5 a.mstart time it's a 4 30 start timebecause by the time you get yourselfsorted out you prepped for your ifyou're doing it properly you need to doyour prepum you need to know what you're doingwhat you're contributing Etc et ceterasowhen are you going to bedum five o'clock is ridiculousum soI sort of haveum where we went to the Past core hoursI'd like to get in at five o'clock inthe morning um occasionally becausethat's my quiet time between five to sixo'clock when I get inum if I've gone into my office it's likesort of seven but I try to encourage therest of my team not to get in until likeat the early 7 30 8 o'clock because I'vegot time then to prep my day and withoutany interruptions and then I can work atmanaging everybody else and do all thatsort of stuff I think it's unreasonableto have meetings out outside of sayeight or nine to five because everybodyworks out of some sort of flexible hoursthat's when you know people are going tobe and that's when you should bescheduling meetings for the oneexception I would say because I've seenI've seen it and done this before ifyou've got a short-term goalsomething that you need to achieve thatis time-bounded nothing more than a weekum or maybe you know a fortnight at apushI've run projects where I've hadeverybody in at five o'clockum early days and you've worked longdaysbut that was for very specific reasonsvery time-bounded to meet a criticaldeadline that was not my faultum but it was you know we were talkinglike very very important stuff to hit soat that point yes you can do it and dothat and you can then commence you knowyou reward the staff at the end of ityou know you're buying themum early morning breakfast at the jobyou're taking them out toumfor beverages after after the Sprint'sfinished and you're heavily rewardingthem for saying you did a great jobthank you very much short time boundedemergency exercises only but no if youstart to do that to me then we wouldn'tbe working together very longlike what what are you are you fiveo'clock man could you could youum nail that yeah this is a tough onefor me in some waysum but that ultimately if it's like youdon't want to get up at 5am for the jobthat you have go find another job likeif it's just not that interesting itdoesn't get you that excited that that'ssomething you want to do awesome does itsound unreasonable probably unlessthere's like some need to work with aninternational client and that's kind ofwhat you maybe didn't sign up for whenyou started or like you you know teamsdifferent time zones there's someonewhen it works it overlaps very wellgreatum but on the other end of it like I'vehad jobs in the past where I was finewith being like at work at 4 30 or beingready to go at 5am for various meetingsthat I couldn't have otherwise that itwas just an interesting project or likepiece of tech that I was working on butit definitely feels unreasonable here uhespecially if this was not anexpectation set like on your onboardingthere's not a great reason it's hard totell from like a really small Redditpost like why this is done but I don'tknow if you do if you feel like you'reyou don't want to do that then you'renot overreacting and just may not be thejob for youbut I don't know Nick would you want tolike have Sprint planning at 5ammaybe I mean look here's the thing I'mgoing to take kind of the oppositeperspective hereum you do what's best for the team andwhile I wouldn't like to do a 5 a.mmeeting nor would I like to do a 10 pmmeeting uh I do those because I workwith folks in Indiaum and I want to make things convenientfor them when I meet with them and sothere's instances in which you are theodd person out if I were to work withsomebody in the UK and they were to meetat my 8 A.M their day's overlike their day is already over by thetime I've come around and woken up soit's like do I wake up early and work ontheir time frame so that way we can allcommunicate on a daily Sprintordo I complain about it and say no we'regoing to meet it at your 2PM so that wayI could is that right is that don't dothat conversion right where I'm going tomeet at a later time your time so thatway I can you know sleep in a little bitso I'm I'm of two minds of this you knowthere's did you sign up for this and isthis expected that you're going to beworking with a distributed team if sothen I think that's fair that they'resetting it at 5am as most of the teamokay with that uh but do what's best foryour team you know if you can find ahappy medium where you're meeting not atfive but maybeseven and it's still early enough forthem to actually get stuff done duringthe day you have to look at the TeamDynamics too so that's that's where I'mat I don't think it's necessarilyunreasonable I just think this post islacking context I just wanted to getinitial thoughts there all right lastpart of the show one more thing no heneeds no introduction but uh Blake sinceit's been a while let's hear one morething this weekuh I'm cheating so it was really awesometo be back on the podcast but it wasalso awesome to like uh get to meetBarry in a in like a more fun contextthan just like in a meeting so this wasgreat uh the other thing that I'm reallyexcited about and I haven't been excitedabout something you know career-wise ina long time is I'm working on developinglike educational material aroundaccessibility in ux and so I'm reallyfocused on how do I create stuff thatallows you know people that aretransitioning careers or even careerprofessionals uh so learn about how tobuild you know ax practices into theproducts they design the software theydevelop and all that kind of good stuffso that's something I'm really excitedabout right now but Barry one more thingwell I I got to meet you I mean this iswe've I've kept your seat warm now forover 12 months actually uh um interactso that's awesomeum the other thing I'm excited to do nowis with my sort of awkward I've had toget invites to um to give talks on humanfactors by by sort of almost randomorganizations and random people which isamazing that's what I've seen on myLinkedIn that that I'm gonna become umpresident of something other and um andthey want me to do it but I'm findingactually that's really difficult youknow we we struggle to Define thingslike human factors within our ownCommunity to doing it for like schoolchildren and and all this sort of stuffthat I could see this being quite achallenging year but I'm equally excitedum so it's I might be uh a repetitivething might be on the on post shows tocome uh is right I'm going to be givinga talk to these people how do I getthese people excited and I'll expect theaudience and everything to um people arelistening to help me get out of thishole that I've done for myselfthat that is some perfect uh post showcontent there uh yeah I'm cheating herebut I got to be on a podcast with bothof you together so that's really awesomeuh also I've been working a lot thisweek and I don't know if you've everdone this where you fit a whole weekinto a day a whole week's worth of workinto a single dayum but I've done that several times thisweek and it's just it's a it's a lot andI'm happy to decompress and have anoutlet to decompress and it's this isjust a reminder for everyone listeningto go hydrate and give yourself some metime that's that's all and that's it fortoday everyone if you like this episodeenjoy some of the discussion about uhwhat you could do with a third armthat's uh p PG friendly I'll goencourage you to go listen to episode262 where we talked about robotic bootsthat you could slip on over your littleuh slippers or your Crocs commentwherever you're listening with what youthink of the story this week for morein-depth discussion you can always joinus on our Discord community visit ourofficial website sign up for ournewsletter stay up to date with all thelatest human factors news of course youcan always go and subscribe to ourlatest podcast human factors minute thatcomes out next month if you like whatyou hear you want to support the showone you could do this right now stopwhat you're doing just leave us a fivestar review say uh those those boys onthat podcast they're pretty nice uh twoyou could tell your friends about us andthat actually helps the show grow quitea lot or three if you have the financialmeans to and want an access of all thehuman factors minutes that we've made todate you can always consider supportingus on patreon as always links to all ofour socials and our website are in thedescription of this episode I want tothink Mr Blake arsdorf for coming on theshow hanging out with us again where canour listeners go and find you if theywant to talk about uh I don't know uhrobot arms you guys can always find meat Don't Panic you X across social mediaLinkedIn is probably the best or YouTubeand Mr Barry Kirby where can ourlisteners go and find you if they wantto talk about how to pronounce pianistuh but we all know that what uh wordpronunciation is not my strong pointum but anyway you can find me acrosssocial media okay if you want to listento some interesting interviews withamazing infected professionals man goand find me on travel to the humanfactors podcast at guysfor me I'm your host Nick Rome you canfind me on our Discord and across socialmedia at Nick underscore roam thanksagain for tuning in to human factorscast until next time

Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

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