Dr. Julian Abich, Sr. Human Factors Engineer, Quantum Improvements Consulting
Dr. Julian Abich IV is a Senior Human Factors Engineer at Quantum Improvements Consulting. Julian holds a Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation with a specialization in Human Factors from the University of Central Florida. He has over 11 years of experience applying human factors & ergonomics (HF/E) principles, modeling & simulation (M&S) approaches, and instructional design methodology to the assessment, prediction, and improvement of human performance. This work spans across usability & user experience, human-computer interaction, human-robot interaction, human systems integration, and training. Continuing to take a user-centered approach, his recent work focuses on the application of HF/E and M&S to assess the usability and effectiveness of training systems including augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. He served on the UCF faculty from 2013-2017 and continues to support the Modeling and Simulation graduate program as a Graduate Faculty Scholar. Julian advocates for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) outreach efforts by encouraging public support and fostering interest within these domains.
Usability and User Experience Evaluation of Six Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Displays for Pilot Training
Not all virtual reality (VR) technology is the same. The general concept of VR is consistent across all head-mounted displays (HMDs), but the specifications can vary between these devices, such as the resolution, field of view, physical weight, comfort, etc. To utilize these devices for training, regardless of application domain, it is necessary to understand how these specifications facilitate the acquisition or enhancement of knowledge, skills, and abilities. The domain focus for this evaluation was on US Air Force pilot training. Previous research shows that VR can be effective for training psychomotor skills, enhancing spatial-abilities, and supporting procedural knowledge acquisition, all of which are applicable to pilot training. The Air Force’s Pilot Training Transformation (PTT) program is intended to build on lessons learned from its predecessor, Pilot Training Next (PTN), to further develop student-centric training at the point of need. One lesson learned was to take a more user-centered approach when designing immersive training devices. In support of the Air Force’s PTT program to deliver the most effective training, a hybrid usability and user experience evaluation was conducted on the latest commercially available VR devices to determine their best fit for pilot training. Participants for this evaluation were Air Force instructor pilots that had a mix of previous VR experience. The goal of the evaluation was to systematically compare six different VR HMDs, in the context of takeoff, flight, and landing, and identify which one provided the most suitable user experience and would be most effective for training Air Force pilots. While one HMD was favored, ratings differed on key elements such as near/far focus, comfort, and simulator sickness. The research presented here will describe the developed methodology and measures, results of the evaluation, and recommendations for what the participants identified as requirements of the technology to effectively train pilots.