Bryan Reimer receives human factors innovator award

Author: Arthur Grau | Center for Transportation and Logistics

MIT Research Engineer Bryan Reimer recently received the Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). Reimer directs a multidisciplinary team at MIT AgeLab that explores human-centered topics across a range of emerging technologies. His team studies in-vehicle automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the mechanics of driver attention, among other topics. The team’s research develops theoretical and applied insight into driver behavior and aims to find solutions to the next generation of human-factors challenges associated with the automation of transportation. Reimer received this accolade partially because of the broad applicability of his research within the field of ergonomics and technology.

The Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award was established in 1970 by the HFES to recognize significant efforts to extend or diversify the application of human-factors principles and methods to new areas of endeavor. Reimer  accepted the award at the HFES annual meeting on Oct. 29 in Seattle, Washington.

“It’s quite an honor to receive a professional award of this magnitude and be recognized alongside human-factors leaders that I’ve revered, and who have shaped the profession,“ says Reimer. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues, who for over two decades have collaborated with me on this work. This collaboration, in combination with the appetite for innovation at MIT, I believe has positioned me to receive this award.”

Serving as the basis for the honor is Reimer’s innovative work founding and managing three industry partnerships. The Advanced Human Factors Evaluator for Attentional Demand consortium aims to develop the next generation of driver-attention measurement tools. The Advanced Vehicle Technology consortium seeks to understand how drivers use emerging, commercially available vehicle technologies, including advanced driver assistance systems and automated driving systems. Finally, the Clear Information Presentation consortium explores the impact of typography and other design features on usability in glance-based environments such as while driving or while using smartphones.

Kermit Davis, president of the HFES, says “The Kraft Award is one of our society’s top awards and honors an individual who has made major innovation in human factors and ergonomics (HF/E). Dr. Reimer’s work in automated and operator-assisted driving stood out because of its broad scope, extensive collaboration across diverse disciplines, and highly influential impact. His focus on this new area for HF/E not only expands the reach of our profession, but also addresses an important individual and societal issue regarding the interaction between humans and technology.” 

The AgeLab at MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and non-governmental organizations to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. The HFES is the world’s largest scientific association for human factors and ergonomics professionals, with over 4,500 members in 58 countries. Reimer’s work draws together traditional psychological methods with big-data analytics, deep learning, and predictive modeling. The receipt of this award illustrates how research across disciplines may yield significant results, both for the research community and society at large.

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