Engineering for Efficiency
Article by Jason Erno
Led by Dr. Kevin Taaffe and former professional tennis player Dr. Dotan Shvorin, both from the Department of Industrial Engineering, the Human Performance Engineering Creative Inquiry team looks to use new industrial tools to inform and improve human performance.
Tools such as an electroencephalogram, a device that detects electrical activity in the brain, give researchers access to sensory information that can be used to identify the active areas of the brain, their intensity and their activation sequence during a specific activity. Creative Inquiry undergraduate researchers can now tap into brain waves and analyze them the same way an electrical engineer attaches a voltmeter to measure voltage. “There’s no class we take to cover this kind of cutting–edge technology. It’s so outside the box of traditional industrial engineering,” Kathryn Watson, a senior industrial engineering major, said.
Another goal of the research team is to improve the academic success of students diagnosed with ADHD. The team collaborates with Student Accessibility Services at Clemson to better understand the brain activity of students with ADHD. Then they use BrainHQ, a software developed by neuroscientists to increase the capability of certain brain areas, to evaluate brain function using ADHD diagnostic tools.
While the team works to improve human performance, they also work to improve their own knowledge, including Shvorin’s.
“The students actually lead me to be a better researcher by asking intellectual questions,” Shvorin said.
The Creative Inquiry project’s work will have a serious impact on training programs and health initiatives in the future.