Human Factors Research Group
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The HFRG has been involved in understanding human factors in manufacturing for over 20 years. In particular, our research aims to optimise manufacturing systems for individuals and teams, as well as industrially-produced products for end users.

Our work has informed the development of advanced technologies which have been implemented in OEMs and SMEs.

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing 


Our research is underpinned by long-standing expertise in Human Factors, with a multidisciplinary team drawing from industrial design, engineering, psychology, human-computer interaction and computer science. 

Examples of our work include:

  • research into virtual reality systems for reducing cost in automotive design processes;
  • supporting the collaborative work of co-located and distributed engineering and design teams (through technology and organisational interventions), developing and testing haptic feedback for improving spatial understanding in virtual environments;
  • understanding multisensory virtual environments for health and safety training;
  • testing virtual training environments for automotive service and assembly tasks;
  • investigating trust in virtual reality;
  • and developing cloud-based systems to support design and manufacturing activities.


Sensory illusions using low-cost haptic devices to enhance spatial understanding for engineering design

Title: Sensory illusions using low-cost haptic devices to enhance spatial understanding for engineering design

Funder: EPSRC - EP/N00549X/1

Total value: £239,566

Start to end date: 1 December 2015 – 31 August 2017


This project will research the use of strategically-positioned, easy to wear, vibrating devices for improving engineers’ understanding of 3D spaces in virtual environments. The system will use low-cost technologies and support day-to-day engineering design work.

Currently, the majority of engineering design is conducted on desktop systems. These do not allow engineers to experience the 3D spaces they are designing, thus limiting design success in applications with human users, such as component access routes for assembly and reach investigations for a manufacturing line.

Engineering for users currently relies mainly on physical prototypes, which are expensive to produce and may not reflect current design intent due the time taken to build them. Digital human modelling, in which CAD representations of humans are used for ergonomics investigations, offer some benefits but are not suitable for complex motions and do not provide subjective responses. Design solutions can be viewed and experienced in virtual reality such as CAVEs, but depth perception in virtual environments can be inaccurate, leading to rejection of this technology by engineers, or unsound decision-making. Moreover, CAVEs are expensive and gaining access to them can be difficult for engineers conducting everyday design and analysis work.

This project will determine whether a small number of worn haptic (sense of touch) devices can improve spatial awareness in virtual environments.

HFRG members:


Key publications: 

Lawson, G., Roper, T., and Abdullah, Z.C. (2016). Multimodal “sensory illusions” for improving spatial awareness in virtual environments, In Proceedings of the European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics 2016

EPSRC grant details

Sensory illusions1

Sensory illusions2

LARTE - Live Augmented Reality Training Environments

Title: LARTE - Live Augmented Reality Training Environments

Funder: Innovate UK – 101509

Total value:  £308,643

Start to end date: 2013-2015


LARTE Project was initiated to investigate and challenge the effectiveness of traditional training and learning environments and methodologies, creating new configurable - dynamic environments that will transform the way engineering staff are train and developed.

The goal of the project was to develop a prototype software solution, to prove out the ability to create Virtual and Immersive training environments that support the learning of infrequent tasks. These environments could become commonplace in industry to accomodate increasing customisation in future widescale manufacture. The project brought together the Human Factors research skills of The University of Nottingham with the visualisation technology, expertise of Holovis and the extensive data and use case provided within manufacturing and service environments of Jaguar Land Rover.

HFRG members: 

Project partners:


Key publications: 

Borsci, S., Lawson, G. and Broome, S. (2015) Empirical evidence, evaluation criteria and challenges for the effectiveness of virtual and mixed reality tools for training operators of car service maintenance. Computers in Industry, Volume 67, February, 2015, pp 17 -26 (

Borsci, S., Lawson, G., Jha, B., Burges, M. and Salantri, D. (2016) Effectiveness of a multidevice 3D virtual environment application to train car service maintenance procedures. Virtual Reality, March 2016, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 41-55 (

Research Councils UK project details


CloudFlow: Computational Cloud Services and Workflows for Agile Engineering

Title: CloudFlow: Computational Cloud Services and Workflows for Agile Engineering

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 7 (NMP-ICT-FOF-609100)

Total value: €8,788,949

Start to end date: July 2013 – December 2016


CloudFlow the ambition to provide a Cloud Computing infrastructure based on existing technology and standards that allows SME software vendors to offer current and future customers (being it SME or bigger companies) new cloud services along and across the engineering and manufacturing chain - even vendor independent. CloudFlow covers Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), especially. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) including pre- and post-processing, simulation of mechatronic systems (Functional Digital Mock-Up – FDMU) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) including data archival.

Project partners:


Key publications: 

Borsci, S., Lawson, G. and Broome, S. (2015) Empirical evidence, evaluation criteria and challenges for the effectiveness of virtual and mixed reality tools for training operators of car service maintenance. Computers in Industry, Volume 67, February, 2015, pp 17 -26 (


European Commission: Computational Cloud Services and Workflows for Agile Engineering


VISTRA: Virtual Simulation and Training of Assembly and Service Processes in Digital Factories

Title: VISTRA: Virtual Simulation and Training of Assembly and Service Processes in Digital Factories

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 7 (ICT-285176)

Total value: €5,336,798

Start to end date: September 2011 – August 2014


Virtual training systems show a high potential to complement or even replace physical setups for training of assembly processes in and beyond the automotive industry. The precondition for the breakthrough of virtual training is that it overcomes the problems of former approaches. One key challenge to address when developing virtual assembly training is the extensive authoring effort for setting up virtual environments. Although knowledge from the product and manufacturing design is available and could be used for virtual training, a concept for integration of this data is still missing.

VISTRA aims at the design of a platform which transfers available enterprise data into a unified model for virtual training and thus enables virtual training of workers before the physical prototypes exist. A second hurdle for virtual training is the poor user acceptance, mainly related to dissatisfying interaction concepts. In this context, VISTRA introduces an innovative hardware set-up for game-based user interaction, which has been chosen to enhance user involvement and acceptance of virtual training. Another deficit of existing virtual training solutions is the incapability to simulate the physical behaviour e.g. of flexibles parts. Here, VISTRA will develop suitable techniques for the integration and real-time simulation of complex, flexible parts in virtual training.


Key publications: 

Gorecky, D., Lawson, G., Mura, K., Hermawati, S., Overby, M. L.
User-centered Design of a Game-based, Virtual Training System. In: Conference Proceedings. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE-2012), July 21-25, San Francisco, CA, United States, AHFE, 2012

Gorecky, D.; Lawson, G.; Mura, K.; Hermawati, S.; Overby, M. L.
User-centered Design of a Game-based, Virtual Training System. In: Conference Proceedings. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics(AHFE-2012), July 21-25, San Francisco, CA, United States, AHFE, 2012

Lawson, G., Hermawati, S., D’Cruz, M., Cobb, S., Shalloe, S.
Human factors research methods in the design and evaluation of applied virtual environments
 Publication at the Dutch Journal of Ergonomics

Hermawati, S., Lawson, G.
User-centred design of virtual training for automotive industries. 
In Ergonomics & Human Factors Conference, April 15 -18, Cambridge, UK, 2013

Hermawati, S., Dadashi, N., Lawson, G., and Wilson, J.
Ethical issues in developing a game-based virtual training system for final assembly lines in automotive manufacturers
.  Award winner of the Observatory on Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT

Hermawati, S., Lawson, G., D’Cruz, M., Arlt, F., Apold, J., Andersson, L., Gink Lovgren, M. and Malmskold, L. (2015) Understanding the complex needs of automotive training at final assembly lines. Applied ergonomics, Vol: 46, Part A, Jan 2015, pp. 144 (

LANGLEY, A., LAWSON, G., HERMAWATI, S., D'CRUZ, M., APOLD, J., ARLT, F. and MURA, K., 2016. Establishing the Usability of a Virtual Training System for Assembly Operations within the Automotive Industry: Human Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing Human Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing, Vol 26, Issue 6, Nov 2016, pp. 667-679

VISTRA deliverables 

VISTRA project partners

European Commission CORDIS: Virtual Simulation and Training of Assembly and Service Processes in Digital Factories


ManuVAR: Manual work support throughout system lifecycle by exploiting virtual and augmented reality

Title: ManuVAR: Manual work support throughout system lifecycle by exploiting virtual and augmented reality

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 7 (NMP–211548)

Total value: €9,649,244.00

Start to end date: May 2009 – April 2012


Manual work (MW) is a central and expensive component of manufacturing, assembly, testing and maintenance services in Europe. There are many industrial sectors that rely on the knowledge and skills of their manual workers, for example, satellite assembly, maintenance of nuclear reactors, operation of complex machinery, design and manufacturing of highly customised products. In these sectors, MW constitutes the core operations and it cannot be off-shored or automated. According to Eurostat (2008), there are about 19 million people involved in the high knowledge high value MW in Europe, mainly as plant and machine assemblers and operators. Considering the entire product lifecycle (LC) from design to recycling, the number of people related to MW is even larger.

The MANUVAR objective is to provide a systematic technological and methodological system to support high knowledge high value MW throughout the product LC. It combines the best potential of the lean and agile models with the knowledge and skill management in the product LC. The ultimate goal of MANUVAR is to go 'beyond lean manufacturing' in order to:

  1. increase productivity and quality and reduce cost of manual work in the whole LC ('lean');
  2. facilitate adaptation to product customisation and changes ('agile');
  3. Support efficient knowledge and skill management and bi-directional data and knowledge flows through the LC ('beyond')

HFRG members: 

Project partners

  • Technical Research Centre Of Finland (VTT), Finland
  • Fraunhofer Institute For Factory Operation And Automation (IFF), Germany
  • Netherlands Organization For Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Netherlands
  • Fatronik - Tecnalia, Spain
  • Institute Of Communications And Computer Systems (ICCS), Greece
  • Trinity College, University Of Dublin (TCD), Ireland
  • University Of Malaga (UMA), Spain
  • University Of Nottingham (Unott), UK
  • Tampere University Of Technology (TUT), Finland
  • Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I), Italy
  • IPA Total Productivity (IPA TP), Netherlands
  • New Strategies Of Maintenance S.L. (NEM S.L.), Spain
  • Tecnatom, Spain
  • Carr Communications, Ireland
  • Hermia Business Development (HBD), Finland
  • Association For Advancement Of Radical Behavior Analysis (AARBA), Italy
  • Cards PLM Solutions, Netherlands
  • Metso Minerals, Finland

Key publications: 

  • Liston, Paul M., Kay, Alison, Cromie, Sam, Leva, Chiara, D'cruz, Mirabelle, Patel, Harshada, Langley, Alyson, Sharples, Sarah And Aromaa, Susanna, 2012. Evaluating The Iterative Development Of Vr/Ar Human Factors Tools For Manual Work Work-A Journal Of Prevention Assessment & Rehabilitation. 41, 2208-2215
  • Liston, Paul, Cromie, Sam, Leva, Maria-Chiara, Helin, Kaj And D'cruz, Mirabelle, 2010. Manuvar Training: Supporting The Implementation And Design Of Vr/Ar Quality-Improvement Tools For Manual Handling Advances In Occupational, Social, And Organizational Ergonomics. 653-663
  • Krassi, Boris, D'cruz, Mirabelle And Vink, Peter, 2010. Manuvar: A Framework For Improving Manual Work Through Virtual And Augmented Reality Advances In Occupational, Social, And Organizational Ergonomics. 725-734

ManuVAR deliverables 

European Commission CORDIS: ManuVAR Result In Brief

DiFac: Digital Factory for Human Oriented Production System

Title: DiFac: Digital Factory for Human Oriented Production System

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 6 (IST-035079)

Total value: €3,617,542

Start to end date: May 2006 – Apr, 200il


A digital factory is a persistent community where a rich virtualized environment, representing a variety of factory activities, will facilitate the sharing of factory resources, manufacturing information and knowledge and help with the simulation of collaborative design, planning, production and management among different participants and departments.

The DiFac project (EU project number FP6-IST-5-035079 is a framework of methods and tools which is being built upon the theoretical foundations of presence, collaboration and ergonomics. The DiFac framework will support group work in an immersive and interactive way, for concurrent product design, prototyping and manufacturing, as well as worker training. It will provide support for data analysis, visualization, advanced interaction and presence within virtual environments, ergonomics analysis, and collaborative decision-making.

HFRG members: 

Project partners: 

  • Industrial Technology and Automation of the National Research Council of Italy ITIA-CNR, Italy
  • Mathématiques S.A MASA, France
  • Computer and Automation Research Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences SZTAKI, Hungary
  • Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation of the University of Patras LMS, Greece
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA-FhG, Germany
  • Technology Transfer System S.R.L TTS Italy
  • Ropardo S.R.L ROPARDO, Romania
  • V-Fab GmbH V-FAB, Germany
  • Metaio GmbH METAIO, Germany
  • Prima Industrie S.p.A, Italy
  • Pantelis Pashalidis & Sons S.A PPS, Greece

Key publications: 

  • Sacco, Marco, Redaelli, Claudia, Constantinescu, Carmen, Lawson, Glyn, D'cruz, Mirabelle And Pappas, Menelaos, 2007. Difac: Digital Factory For Human Oriented Production System Human-Computer Interaction, Pt 4, Proceedings. 4553, 1140-1149
  • Lawson, Glyn And D'cruz, Mirabelle, 2011. Ergonomics Methods And The Digital Factory Digital Factory For Human-Oriented Production Systems: The Integration Of International Research Projects. 23-34

Intelligent Manufacturing Systems

European Commission CORDIS: Digital factory for human oriented Production System


IMOSHION: Improving Occupational Safety and Health in European SMEs with the help of Simulation and Virtual Reality

Title: IMOSHION: Improving Occupational Safety and Health in European SMEs with the help of Simulation and Virtual Reality

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 7 (SME-243481)

Total value: €2,864,556.50

Start to end date: March 2011 – February 2014


The project IMOSHION (Improving Occupational Safety and Health in European SMEs with help of Simulation and Virtual Reality) is implemented by 10 partners from 6 European countries that have a common interest in improving working conditions in small and medium sized enterprises in the manufacturing sector. The project focuses on two aspects: On the one hand it collects existing knowledge and creates new information concerning OSH issues. On the other hand it wants to develop tools and techniques to raise awareness and improve OSH in SMEs.

HFRG members:

Project partners:


Key publications: 

FLOYDE, A., LAWSON, G., SHALLOE, S., EASTGATE, R. and D'CRUZ, M., 2013. The design and implementation of knowledge management systems and e-learning for improved occupational health and safety in small to medium sized enterprises: Safety Science Safety Science. 60, 69-76 

IMOSHION background information

European Commission CORDIS: IMOSHION


Cloud Manufacturing

Title: Cloud Manufacturing

Funder: EPSRC


UK economic prosperity increasingly depends on maintaining and further developing a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector that is based on sophisticated technologies, relevant knowledge and manufacturing framework, that has the ability to produce a variety of products faster, better and more affordable. High labour cost economies will require an infrastructure that can quickly respond to consumer and producer requirements, that will minimise the use of materials, energy, transport and resources while maximising environmental sustainability, safety and economic competitiveness.

We address these needs with a research programme centred on the concept of ‘Cloud Manufacturing’. The programme is a radical departure from the current philosophy of manufacturing ICT – it creates a framework for manufacturing entities to participate and contribute information and support services to the consumers and the users of the products.

The role of Human Factors within the Cloud Manufacturing project is to understand the requirements for user-centred design within this new paradigm. This includes understanding effective decision support within highly distributed manufacturing supply chains, HMIs for envisioning the matching of products to cloud manufacturing services, and new models of collaboration.


Key publications: 

Golightly, D., Sharples, S., Patel, H., & Ratchev, S. (2016) Manufacturing in the Cloud: A human factors perspective. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 55, 12-21.

Golightly, D., Sanderson, D., Holmes, P., Ratchev, S., Sharples, S. Design requirements for effective hybrid decision making with Evolvable Assembly Systems. European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, 2016.


Key contacts


Network Plus word press

PhD Students

  • Shakil Shaikh (2015) Interaction between physical and cognitive demands of operators in moving assembly lines
  • Davide Salanitri (ongoing) trust in virtual reality
Use-it-Wisley: Innovative continuous upgrades of high investment product-services

Title: Use-It-Wisely: Innovative continuous upgrades of high investment product-services

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 7 (NMP-FoF-609027)

Total value: €6,440,000

Start to end date: September 2013 – November 2016


In the past, customers invested in high cost, long service-life products. Today, they demand complex product-services capable of adapting to new customer goals and rapidly changing markets. The Use-it-wisely project will enable European manufacturers to operate successfully within this new paradigm.

The project will investigate a new business model that implements continuous product-service adaptation through a sequence of small innovative steps. It will demonstrate that product-service agility and extended service life realized in this way is more viable than large and infrequent upgrades in terms of cost, duration and environmental impact.

Use-it-Wisely will develop and demonstrate the adaptation platform consisting of the following three elements: (1) multi-disciplinary actors-product-service system model; (2) adaptation mechanism based on the knowledge and skills of all actors involved with the system; (3) interactive collaborative distributed environment, where the actors work out the adaptation steps. The scientific breakthrough will be achieved by creating and validating a holistic systems engineering structure that combines human-machine systems, product lifecycle management, business and organizational dynamics and lifecycle assessment.

The industry-led consortium is founded on complementary clusters in six key industry sectors: energy, machinery, space, office workplace, vehicles, and ship building. Use-it-wisely will enable new business for the manufacturers and their suppliers, subcontractors and open new opportunities for the customers. It will increase their competitive advantage by means of product-service agility, lower costs, shorter lead times, and reduced environmental impact. Finally, it will help to transform people’s knowledge and skills into product-service value thus strengthening Europe’s global competitiveness and securing domestic employment. With Use-it-wisely, the more the product-service is used, the better it gets.

Project partners:

  • Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus Vtt, Finland
  • Tecnatom S.A., Spain
  • Universidad De Malaga, Spain
  • Metso Minerals Oy, Finland
  • Rd Velho Oy, Finland
  • Thales Alenia Space Italia Spa, Italy
  • Advanced Logistics Technology Engineering Center Spa, Italy
  • Vastalla Srl, Italy
  • Volvo Technology Ab, Sweden
  • Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola Ab, Sweden
  • M. Moschatos - K. Stratis Oe, Greece
  • International Naval Surveys Bureau, Greece
  • Naytiliakes Metaforikes Kai Epikoinoniakes Epixeiriseis Seability Etaireia Periorismenis Euthinis, Greece
  • Institute Of Communication And Computer Systems, Greece
  • Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek Tno, The Netherlands
  • Gispen International Bv, The Netherlands
  • Berner Fachhochschule, Switzerland
  • C.C.I.C.C. LIMITED, Ireland
  • Hermia Business Development Ltd, Finland

Key publications: 

Langley, A., Patel, H. and Houghton, R. (2017).  Fostering a Community of Practice for Industrial Processes. Chapter 10. In: S.N. Grosser, A. Reyes-Lecuona and G. Granholm (Eds), Managing the Upgrading Dynamics of Long-life Assets -Engineering and Business Approaches.


European Commission CORDIS: Use-it-Wisley Innovative continuous upgrades of high
investment product-services


Evolvable Assembly Systems

Title: Evolvable Assembly Systems

Funder: EPSRC


Assembly of final products in sectors such as automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and medical industries is a key production process in high labour cost areas such as the UK. To respond to current challenges manufacturers need to transform current capital-intensive assembly lines into smart systems that can react to external and internal changes. There is a need for a radically new approach toward development of future assembly systems able to continuously evolve in order to respond to changes in product requirements.

The research delivers a new pattern shift in adaptable and cost effective manufacture that breaks with traditional approaches and is affirmed of the following foundational research challenges:

  • Product-Process System Evolution
  • Data Analytics; Knowledge Modelling
  • Emergence Engineering
  • Open Manufacturing

The contribution of Human Factors within this project is to understand how automation and decision-support in an evolvable assembly environment can be delivered in user-centred manner to deliver high performance collaboration between humans and automation/robotics


EPSRC Evolvable Assembly Systems - Institute for Advanced Manufacturing

Evolvable Assembly Systems
CATER: Computerized Automotive Technology Reconfiguration System for mass customization

Title: CATER: Computerized Automotive Technology Reconfiguration System for mass customization

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 6 (IST-035030)

Total value: €5,623,821

Start to end date: September 2006 – August 2009


Automotive enterprises are becoming more customer-centric to meet today's challenging market demands. Thus, mass customization adds industrial value to the enterprise in gaining competitive advantage. The automotive industry has furthermore become highly networked and requires improved communication on products and components in its B2B relations. In this context, CATER is tailored to bridge the gaps in existing ICT through an integrated system that caters to the needs of customers, manufacturers and suppliers.

There are three major aspects of the proposal. First, CATER is a design philosophy and showcases best practices of networked business. The goal of n-business is to achieve at mass customization over the Internet through coherently integrating manufacturing production automation with supply chain management and sales-service support into a collaborative web. A suite of innovative solutions for n-business will be developed in CATER.

Second, CATER introduces ICT innovations in various business processes. The innovations include: citarasa engineering, 3D do-it-yourself design system with virtual reality interface, teardown reconfiguration system, design history system, and integration of CATER databases within supply chain management.

Third, CATER demonstrates the need for a semantic driven system that ties together customers and designers. Customers are supported in their online customization of cars; their affective and cognitive needs are addressed to provide e-catalogues of design options. Designers, on the other hand, need to be supported in their design activities through teardown and design history management systems so that they can provide reliable and timely solutions. CATER-generated semantics provide a common vocabulary and platform that connects and integrates designers, suppliers and related stakeholders within a supply chain management framework.

HFRG members: 

Project partners:

  • Centre For Research And Technology Hellas, Greece
  • Centro Ricerche Fiat - Societa' Consortile Per Azion, Iitaly
  • Damai Sciences Sdn Bhd Ltd, Malaysia
  • Icido Gesellschaft Fuer Innovative Informationssysteme Mbh, Germany
  • Imartis Ag, Switzerland
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Sigma Consultants, France
  • Universitaet Basel, Switzerland
  • Universitaet Stuttgart, Germany
  • Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Vaasan Yliopisto, Finland
  • Volvo Technology Ab, Sweden

European Commission CORDIS: Researchers CATER to car buyers' needs

European Commission CORDIS: CATER project details

CoSPACES: Innovative collaborative work environments for individuals and teams in design and engineering

Title: CoSPACES: Innovative collaborative work environments for individuals and teams in design and engineering

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 6 (IST-034245)

Total value: €11,839,624

Start to end date: May 2006 – October 2009


The overall objective of CoSpaces is to develop organisational models and distributed technologies supporting innovative collaborative workspaces for individuals and project teams within distributed virtual manufacturing enterprises to establish effective partnerships, collaborate, be creative, improve productivity, reduce length of design cycles and take a holistic approach to implementing product phases. This will be achieved through enhanced human communication, innovative visualisation, knowledge support and natural interaction and will transform the current working practices to be more competitive in the global market.

CoSpaces proposes to validate these collaborative workspaces against three sectors:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • construction

However, the impact of this research will go beyond these three sectors due to the generic nature of the technologies. CoSpaces will undertake the ambitious challenge of developing the technical, organisational and human networks to build collaborative workspaces. This will be achieved through a systematic and integrated programme of RTD activities, dissemination, training, demonstration and exploitation activities.

HFRG members: 

Project partners:

Key publications: 

  • Patel, H., Pettitt, M. and Wilson, J. (2012). Factors of collaborative working: A framework for a collaboration model.  Applied Ergonomics, 43, 1-26.
  • Patel, H., Pettitt, M., Hansen, S., Wilson, J. (2010).  A descriptive model of collaboration to underpin a collaboration profiling methodology.  International Reports on Socio-Informatics 7 (1), 15-23 [online].  Available from:
  • Pettitt, M., Patel, H., Wilson, J. (2009).  Design guidance for collaborative working environments.  Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal 3 (3), 117-132.
  • Pettitt, M., Patel, H. and Wilson, J. (2009).  Design guidance for collaborative working environments.  In proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, Berlin, 15-17th February, 2009.
  • Wilson, J. R., Patel, H., and Pettitt, M. (2009a). Human factors and development of next generation collaborative engineering. In: Proceedings of the Ergonomics Society Annual Conference, London, 22-23 April 2009, London: Taylor and Francis.
  • Wilson, J., Patel, H., Pettitt, M., and Saikayasit, R. (2008). ADDS: Living labs for collaborative engineering. In J. Schumacher and V-P. Niitamo (Eds.): European Living Labs: A new approach for human centric regional innovation. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin.

European Commission CORDIS: COSPACES Innovative collaborative work environments for individuals and teams in design and engineering

SATIN: Sound And Tangible Interfaces for Novel product shaping

Title: SATIN: Sound And Tangible Interfaces for Novel product shaping

Funder: European Commission Framework Programme 6 (IST-034525)

Total value: € 5,133,867

Start to end date: October 2006 – September 2009


The main objective of the project is to develop a new generation of multimodal and multisensory interfaces, which provide natural and adaptive tools to support users, intentions and behavior, supporting free-hand interaction with virtual shapes.

They consist of:

  • multimodal interface based on fusion of force feedback, sound and vision for representing global and local properties of shape and material, which can be perceived statically or dynamically during exploration and modification of digital shapes performed by users through free-hand, unconstrained, robust and ergonomic interaction;
  • novel haptic and tangible interfaces allowing users to modify digital shapes through free-hand interaction which aims at exploiting users' dexterity and skills in physically interacting with materials.

The goal of SATIN is to study and evaluate the novel interfaces integrated into a new system for product design, which will be used by designers for modeling, modifying and evaluating digital shapes through free-hand interaction which exploits designers' existing skills, by mimicking their real operations on physical clay models.

The main objective in terms of technological advances and exploitation of results is fostering European leadership in the field of multimodal and haptic technologies, proposing a tangible and sound interface based on free-hand interaction which is not existing today, which can be used in various application domains like product design and, in perspective, in the medical field.

The project will contribute to advance scientific research in the field of multimodal interfaces, sound display of physical phenomena, and perception and cognition.

SATIN will promote the use of virtual prototyping in the conceptual phase of product design to a larger number of designers who operate in sectors where the leadership of high-quality European design must be maintained or even expanded by increasing efficiency and response time to market demand.


European Commission CORDIS: SATIN report summary

Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age

Title: Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age

Funder: EPSRC research grant EP/P001246/1

Total value: £1,003,590

Start to end date: 01 September 2016 – 31 August 2019


The Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age is funded by the EPSRC Manufacturing the Future challenge theme, addressing the area of Digital Manufacturing.  There is a particular focus on ensuring that challenges addressed within the Network Plus are driven by the current and future industrial context.  The Network Plus is bringing together core colleagues from the Manufacturing, ICT, Digital Economy, Design, Human Factors and Business communities to build new collaborations between leading academics and industry partners. It will:

  • Identify relevant elements from these existing activities to conduct international benchmarking and establish the UK lead in specific elements of relevance to Future Industrial Systems in the Digital Age;
  • Enhance cross-sectorial learning and fertilisation; and
  • Identify new, discipline-bridging, agenda-setting opportunities for feasibility studies leading to scientific insight and future platforms and funding applications from national and international funders.

Network Plus word press

Network Plus- Industrial Systems in the Digital Age


Key Publications

Lawson, G., Herriotts, P., Malcolm, L., Gabrecht, K. and Hermawati, S., 2015. The use of virtual reality and physical tools in the development and validation of ease of entry and exit in passenger vehicles. Applied ergonomics, 48, pp.240-251.

Lawson, G., Salanitri, D. and Waterfield, B., 2016. Future directions for the development of virtual reality within an automotive manufacturer. Applied ergonomics, 53, pp.323-330.

Salanitri, D., Hare, C., Borsci, S., Lawson, G., Sharples, S. and Waterfield, B., 2015, August. Relationship between trust and usability in virtual environments: an ongoing study. In International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 49-59). Springer International Publishing.

Hermawati, S., Lawson, G. and Sutarto, A.P., 2014. Mapping ergonomics application to improve SMEs working condition in industrially developing countries: a critical review. Ergonomics, 57(12), pp.1771-1794.

Human Factors Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham

Telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4040