Julian Abich IV, PhD, Sr. Human Factors Engineer, Quantum Improvements Consulting
Dr. Abich holds a Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation with a specialization in Human Factors, a B.S. in Psychology, and two certificates in Design for Usability and Instructional Design for Simulations from the University of Central Florida. He has 15 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 training applications across the Department of Defense military services and various industry customers, including Fortune 500 companies. Continuing to take a user-centered approach, his current work focuses on the application of HF/E and M&S to design and assess the usability and effectiveness of training systems using various traditional and emerging technological platforms, such as augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality. He served on the UCF faculty from 2013-2017 and continues to support the Modeling and Simulation and Human Factors & Cognitive Psychology graduate program as a Graduate Faculty Scholar. He continues to serve the research community through his national and international publications and presentations, as a journal reviewer, and is the Program Chair for MODSIM World conference 2022.
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. 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. In support of the U.S. Air Force’s Pilot Training Transformation (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 for this 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.