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HSI AWE Center

Applied Warfighter Ergonomics (AWE) Center


To empirically evaluate human-system performance issues in the equipment being designed for warfighters; to make recommendations to designers that will lead to improved system performance and warfighter safety.

Phase I

Goals. Build a center to assess human-system performance.


  • An observation room equipped with the following capabilities: one-way mirror; remotely controlled digital video cameras and microphones; computer monitor capture and operator activity recording equipment; and behavioral recording and coding equipment.
  • Eye-tracking system to record point-of-gaze and identify triggers of interest.
  • Equipment to measure physical and mental workload, stress, dexterity and reaction time.

Potential Applications. Conduct cognitive task analyses (CTA) with subject matter experts (SMEs). Record focus group and after-action report ( AAR) sessions. Observe warfighters operating a broad range of tactical equipment, including computer workstations, handheld devices and weapons. Test and evaluate human-system performance in a controlled laboratory setting. Evaluate man-machine interfaces and usability of hardware and software. Study the effectiveness and transfer of training.

Phase II

Goals. Extend Phase I capabilities to field environments.


  • Portable digital video and audio recording equipment that integrates with laboratory recording and coding system.
  • Portable computer systems to perform on-site analysis.

Potential Applications. Extend phase I applications to on-site field observations during actual operations. Observe and record individual warfighters and teams operating in actual tactical environments. Create highlight clips of important human-system interactions. Assess human-system interaction in realistic settings.

Phase III

Goals. Build an anthropometrics and biomechanics laboratory for evaluating how military equipment affects the ability of warfighters to perform physical tasks.


  • Static and dynamic measurement apparatus such as size, strength, kinematics, and range-of-motion.
  • Gait analysis, postural sway.
  • Video-based motion capture system.

Potential Applications. Evaluate military equipment to be carried or operated by warfighters. Make design recommendations based on empirical findings. Evaluate the integration of equipment with the warfighter. Identify equipment configurations and systems in which physical load or placement of load degrades performance or exceeds human capacity.

Principal Investigators

Professor Nita Lewis Miller, Director, Human Systems Integration, Naval Postgraduate School.
COL Larry Shattuck, Director, Engineering Psychology, United States Military Academy.

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