We presented “Games to Explain Human Factors: Come,
Participate, Learn, and Have Fun!!!” to a packed room of about
100 attendees from NSBE’s Pre-College Initiative Program.
Attendance was higher than expected, and we had to turn away
more than 60 people. We distributed about 250 “Love an Engineer” buttons, compliments of Virginia Tech, outside our session room. These buttons
were extremely popular and may have helped us attract some of the audience. Smith-Jackson, the first presenter, explained human factors, starting from a definition offered by Al Chapanis, and discussed required and recommended knowledge for the field.
The remainder of the session focused on human strengths and limitations that need to be accommodated in system design. Each strength and limitation was illustrated through audience involvement in a variety of activities and games, including multitasking, sound localization, attention to details, object localization, pairedassociate learning, perceptual adaptation, response competition, and responding.
We concluded with a “final exam” in which participants explained the activity they performed and how it illustrated human performance and how it related to system design. Kimberly C. McCants, a junior at Columbus Brookhaven High School with an aspiration to study psychology and engineering, was selected
as the “Hardest-Working Volunteer” by the participants and won the Champion Award. (Maybe Kim will be our Society president in 2047.) Numerous prizes – an MP3 player and accessories, radios, Beanie Babies, and candy – were awarded to Kim and the emifinalists. Other semifinalists included Phil A. Santil, Francesco
S. Tena, and Drickerson Saint Louis, juniors at Boston Latin High School in Boston, Massachusetts; Dung T. Dang, a junior at Fowler High School in Syracuse, New York; and Brenden T. Matthews, an eighth-grader at Cherry Creek Challenge Magnet School in Denver, Colorado.