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  1. Critical for the early diagnosis of genetic disorders, a Family Health History (FHx) can be collected in several ways including electronic FHx tools, which aid easy editing and sharing by linking with other information management portals. The user acceptance of such systems is critical, especially among older adults experiencing motor and cognitive issues. This study investigated two types of FHx interfaces, standard and Virtual Conversational Agent (VCA), using 30 young (between 18 and 30) and 24 older participants (over 60). Workload, usability and performance data were collected. Even though participants required less time to complete three of five tasks on the standard interface, the VCA interface performed better in terms of subjective workload and usability. Additionally, 67% of the older adults preferred the VCA interface since it provided context-based guidance during the data collection process. The results from this study have implications for the use of virtual assistants in FHx and other areas of data collection.
  2. Insurance loss prevention survey, specifically windstorm risk inspection survey is the process of investigating potential damages associated with a building or structure in the event of an extreme weather condition such as a hurricane or tornado. This process is performed by a trained windstorm risk engineer who physically goes to a facility to assess the wind vulnerabilities associated with it. This process is highly subjective, and the accuracy of findings depends on the experience and skillsets of the engineer. Although using sensors and automation enabled systems help engineers gather data, their ability to make sense of this information is vital. Further, their Situation Awareness (SA) can be affected by the use of such systems. Using a between-subjects experimental design, this study explored the use of various context-based visualization strategies to support the SA requirements and performance of windstorm risk engineers. The independent variable included in this study is the type of context-based visualizations used (with 3 levels: no visual aids, checklist based and predictive display based visual aids). We measured SA using SAGAT and performance using a questionnaire. SA and performance were found to be higher for the predictive display and checklist based conditions. The findings from this study willmore »inform the design of context-based decision aids to support the SA of risk engineers.« less
  3. The use of automation is prevalent in almost every aspect of modern life, and since its inception researchers have been investigating trust in automation. There are many methods of measuring trust. Given that trust means different things to different people and by nature is subjective, most methods are subjective survey assessments (Freedy, DeVisser, Weltman, & Coeyman, 2007; Jian, Bisantz, & Drury, 2000). Many studies have investigated how the reliability of an automated agent or the level of automation changes subjective trust in the automation (Dixon & Wickens, 2006; Du, Zhang, & Yang, 2018; Khasawneh, Rogers, Bertrand, Madathil, & Gramopadhye, 2019; Rogers, Khasawneh, Bertrand, & Madathil, 2017).
  4. Virtual reality offers vast possibilities to enhance the conventional approach for delivering engineering education. The introduction of virtual reality technology into teaching can improve the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum by supplementing the traditional learning experience with outside-the-classroom materials. The Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education using Virtual E-Schools (CA2VES), in collaboration with the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development (CUCWD), has developed a comprehensive virtual reality-based learning system. The available e-learning materials include eBooks, mini-video lectures, three-dimensional virtual reality technologies, and online assessments. Select VR-based materials were introduced to students in a sophomore level mechanical engineering laboratory course via fourteen online course modules during a four-semester period. To evaluate the material, a comparison of student performance with and without the material, along with instructor feedback, was completed. Feedback from the instructor and the teaching assistant revealed that the material was effective in improving the laboratory safety and boosted student’s confidence in handling engineering tools.
  5. Fully immersive virtual reality, with the unique ability to replicate the real world, could potentially aid in real-time communication. Geographically separated teams can collaborate using virtual reality. To test the viability of using virtual reality for remote collaboration, we designed a system called “WeRSort” where teams sorted cards in a virtual environment. Participants performed the task as a team of 2 in one of three conditions-controls-only condition, generic embodiment and full embodiment. Objective measures of performance, time and percentage match with master cards showed no significant difference. Subjective measures of presence and system usability also showed no statistical significance. However, overall work-load obtained from NASA-TLX showed that fully immersive virtual reality resulted in lower workload in comparison with the other two. Qualitative data was collected and analyzed to understand collaboration using the awareness evaluation model.