Human Factors Research Group

PhD Students

Abdullah Alhuthali

Abdullah Alhuthali 

Applying Human Factors Approach in Emergency Situations.

Supervisors:  Dr Glyn Lawson and  Dr Sue Cobb

Research Problem: Conducting research on human behaviour in emergency situations is challenging for a number of reasons: ethical considerations rightly prevent participants being subjected to actual emergency situations; there are difficulties accessing survivors of real events; the validity of behaviour shown in many simulations is unproven.

Proposed solution: A Human Factors approach can be used to study human behaviour in emergencies as there are many unknown variables affecting the outcome of an emergency, such as the influence of building type and social factors. Thus, predicting human behaviour, with the aims of improving building safety, emergency procedures and training remains an important endeavour.

The proposed methodology: Talk through approach [1] which involves presenting individuals with hypothetical situations and asking them how they would respond with adding an influence of the social factors in to increases the validity of this approach.

Multisensory virtual environment to elicit the validity of human behaviour during a fire emergency.

This PhD is sponsored by:                           

  1. The Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia                           
  2. Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia
Yamen Badr

Yamen Badr

The Shared Public Space of Post Conflict: Researching the characteristics signifying the absence of civic public spaces in Latakia, Syria.

Supervisors:  Prof Tim Heath and  Dr Yan Zhu

Research summary
Yamen Badr is conducting a project research on the possibility of the shared public space of post conflict in the Arabic Middle East, where he is evaluating the urban policies controlling the creation of the contemporary public space in Syria. This project research is examining the contested nature of such a creation and production, particularly when considering the contested nature of urban policies, cultural patterns, religious spaces and conflict within the context of Syria.
Ayesha Batool

Ayesha Batool

Window view Preference in Buildings: Measure and Performance Evaluation.

Supervisors:   Dr Peter Rutherford, Dr. Sergio Altomonte, Dr. Timothy Ledgeway and Dr. Paul McGraw

Research summary

Windows are strongly favoured by building occupants for two most important attributes that they provide: daylight and a view out. According to the literature review by Farley & Veitch (Farley, 2001): “of all the benefits and psychological functions provided by windows the provision of a view appears to be most valued by building occupants.” Several studies have conducted research on understanding the impact of a view on human, task performance, attention restoration, restorative effects, glare tolerance, job satisfaction and general wellbeing and so on.

Despite the evidence from the scientific literature strongly suggests that window views can have a significant impact on the perceived comfort of building occupants, and on their health and well-being, little is known as to what are the underlying factors that influence view preference in a given environment. Similarly, no validated methodology yet exists to support a robust analysis and prediction of view quality and preferences. Therefore, the intended aim of this contribution is to propose a research aim, objective and methodological framework that can be replicable by other studies.

From a thorough analysis of the literature, the main research question on which this research is structured upon is the following: what influences view preference in a given environment?In response, the aim of this PhD research is to: identify, test, and measure (some of) the factors that influence, in a significant and relevant way, view preference in a given environment.The identification of environmental characteristics that contribute to view preference can have practical implications in promoting physical, physiological and psychological well-being.

Diana Benjumea 1

Diana Marcela Benjumea

Post-Disaster reconstruction in informal settlements and the associated resilient dimensions of place-remaking in Medellin-Colombia.

SupervisorsDr Peter Rutherford and  Prof John Chilton

Research summary
My research examines the organic resilient factors that give rise to grassroots responses during the process of place re-making after natural disasters in urban slums in Medellin-Colombia. A sequential-construct oriented approach commonly used in mixed-method research (i.e. qualitative and quantitative) was integrated, along with a multidisciplinary theoretical exploration - that go beyond conventional urban planning theories - on anthropological and sociological fields. Concepts such as insurgent and radical planning, community self-management, and community-place attachment guided the study to find alternative ways of understanding informal settlements and explore progressive and inclusive approaches to panning in informal communities after natural disasters.
Bilal Bugaje

Bilal Bugaje

A Systems Approach to Sustainable Energy Planning

Supervisors: Dr Peter Rutherford, Dr Mike Clifford, and Dr Yupeng Wu

Research summary

Research Summary: Sustainable energy is crucial to sustainable development.  Energy systems, as well as sustainable development, is complex. Models are used extensively to assist decision making on energy issues and policies, although all models by definition are reductionist.  They vary in their degree of holistic view (integrated-ness) and their complexity. However many of the models are complex in disaggregation of details, but not in the interaction among components of the model. 

A systems approach may be able to model (simulation) an energy system that is integrated to the dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic, environmental, and institutional) especially in terms of interrelation among components of the various dimension.   Characteristics of real systems that could be modelled include feedback, delay, non-linearity, and this could help anticipate "unintended consequences".


Joshua Duvnjak 

The Use of Personal Data in Automated Digital Manufacturing Environments 

Supervisors: Dr Robert Houghton, Dr Ayse Kucukyilmaz and Prof Sarah Sharples 

Research summary
My research revolves around the theme: the use of personal data in automated digital manufacturing environments. To study this, my project will involve a three-step process: discovery, design/development and evaluation. The discovery phase will include the studying of the current literature around trust in automation and further adding to the literature through experiments. The design/development phase will look to develop a solution that uses personal data to affect a user’s trust in an automated system. The final stage will look to use a technology probe to examine the effects the solution has on trust in representative manufacturing environments. 
Carlos Cáceres Inostroza photo

Carlos Caceres Inostroza

Human-Machine Interface Design for Future Industrial Vehicles. 

Supervisors: Dr Gary Burnett and Dr Brendan Ryan

Research summary

Considerable research is ongoing focussed on the design of the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for future vehicles - especially cars as consumer products for the general public.

In contrast, relatively little work has considered such issues for industrial vehicles that might be used in an organisational context, e.g. within mining, rail, construction, agriculture or in related sectors.

This PhD project investigate how to design HMIs for industrial vehicles with a focus on specific issues associated with human vision and perception/cognition in these contexts, analizing the potential for camera-based displays, head-up displays, augmented reality, etc.

The aim of this research is to enhance a drivers' ability to observe and comprehend the wide range of hazards present in the immediate working environment.  

Maria Calero Gonzalez

Maria Calero Gonzalez

Assessing Shared Decision-Making to Respond to Uncertainty in Industrial Contexts

Supervisors: Dr Brendan Ryan and Dr Dimitrios Chronopulous 

Research summary
Safety management in safety-critical industries has focused on lowering the risk of accidents by understanding what can go wrong and controlling for it through rules, standards, protocols, and so on. This does not leave much latitude for the system operators to make decisions. As complexity in systems has grown, so has uncertainty. Uncertainty makes it difficult to anticipate how a system will behave, and so rules and standards based on the predictability of the system are not enough to ensure safety. Efforts are being directed to design resilient safety systems capable of adapting to changing and unexpected conditions.My research explores how increasing the decision latitude of professionals at the sharp-end in decentralised structures may contribute to inbuilt resilience in safety systems in industrial contexts.
Furkan Canpolat

Furkan Canpolat

The Limits of a City: Investigating Rome to understand the future projection  of a city

Supervisors: Florian Wiedmann and Prof Tim Heath

Research summary
This research proposal has been inspired by one main polemic: Do cities have limits, and if they do - what is the new understanding of a city and city scale? That is, how far can cities expand horizontally, and how far can buildings be built vertically? The question is not only oriented in terms of the actual borders of a city, but also city in terms of its historical, socioeconomic and geopolitical scope. I will use Rome as a case study to investigate this question because it envelops all the noted issues, and also dates back to ancient times; it is a city that to this day remains Vatican City inside of it.
Pengyu Chen

Pengyu Chen

Architectural Design

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath Dr Qi Wang  

Research summary

The purpose of my PhD research is to review urban renewal policies in Shenzhen, to evaluate the quality of public space in different renewal projects in urban villages in Shenzhen, and to discuss planning control or the lack thereof that impacts the quality of public space in urban villages during the Shenzhen urban renewal process. 

To achieve this aim, the economic and social background of China will be discussed, focusing on Shenzhen. The focus then shifts to examining the quality of public space in a motivated selection of urban village, starting from 1980 to their present situation. Lastly, the retrofitting issue and quality of space in urban villages will be in-depth analysed as the main research question. 

Xiao Cheng

Xiao Cheng

Understanding the Evolution of the Urban Form of Traditional Towns from the View of Everyday Life: Case studies in Huizhou.

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath and  Dr Yan Zhu

Research summary
I propose to do an in-depth study of the development of urban configuration of traditional towns from the view of everyday life in the urbanization process presented in an urban-rural scale. The case studies will involve my hometown of Huizhou, the cultural region of several towns and small cities in south Anhui province, in the generalized city groups of the Yangtze Delta. These towns, with profound and stable cultural tradition, are typical models of the investigation and provide vivid examples to modern urban studies. My research will be the first systematic study of the production of space and the related problems in the context of towns, employing social-spatial theories and urban morphology.
Hang Du 1

Hang Du

Humanitarian Architecture and the Creation of Schools for Disadvantaged Communities in China.

Supervisors:  Prof Tim Heath and  Dr John Ramsay

Research summary

in the 21st century, more and more architects are involved in humanitarian aid to solve problems by utilizing their architectural design skills following the increasing number of crises. However, concerns about the responsibilities of architects and the evaluation of humanitarian architecture have increased as well.

The need for educational empowerment in the less developed areas cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from the importance of education in the development of human  resources/potential/capabilities which would further enhance future developments of these regions, the social consequences of a failure to provide education to the populace of these regions have been a source of great concern globally. Humanitarian architecture in relation to the provision of schools has great impact on these, however, there are also arguments about how to ensure the humanitarian architecture provided is contextually relevant and satisfy the local communities. The main purpose of this research to understand and improve the process of humanitarian architecture in China in relation to the provision of schools for disadvantaged communities. In doing so a number of critical research questions will analyse the successes and failures of the current system. The intention is to build upon this knowledge and to draw upon international best practice to propose an improved model for the practice of humanitarian architecture in China. The research will focus on selected case studies that present humanitarian architecture in China. 


Ahmed Ehab  

Upgrading the design typology of smart sustainable vertical urban Social spaces in Hyper density city (London) using BIM and VR technology. (Observing people behaviour in the sky- The form and use of smart sustainable vertical social spaces)

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath and  Dr Florian Wiedmann

Research Summary

The project aims to study human behaviour in vertical social spaces (Sky courts, patios, courtyards, sky parks, pedway and roof) in the UK (London) to manage the best factors affecting thermal comfort, motivate social public interaction, and identify the best places for seating areas and vegetation.  

On the urban scale the project aims to improve the pedestrian network on both the existing ground level, vertical streets and vertical public amenities. The project will analyse the potentials to create vertical mixed-use streets and study its impact on existing horizontal streets.

The research will focus on studying the qualitative analysis of vertical public realm in London. The open social public spaces as (Sky courts, patios, courtyards, and sky parks) that are disconnected from the ground create a new type of architectural qualities. These in-between spaces, between interior and exterior, can be really inhabited by the inhabitants/users of the building. 

The project will study and communicate the essential requirement for well-designed  sustainable public spaces in vertical hybrids and high-rise structures. The research will explore the design of integrating the Ground plan, Mid-level and Rooftop urban public spaces in the city and how vertical public realm could affect the form of the building to achieve sustainable dense living. The research will analyse how these spaces work and how successfully they could foster social interaction using observation and post occupancy analysis.

A Fowler May 2017 photo small

Abigail Fowler

Impact of New Data and Technology on Human Performance in Rail.

Supervisors: Dr Catherine Harvey, Dr M Wilson & Prof S Sharples

Research Summary
New assistive technologies are being introduced in rail to support increasing passenger numbers. These technologies change staff tasks, but their impact is difficult to assess. Overall PhD aims:• Improve our understanding of human performance in rail • Explore what data could indicate good human performance (such as observational, behavioural, or physiological) PhD Progress:Industry interviews are underway covering: current rail challenges; what new technologies affect staff; and existing personal data that could indicate human performance. 
The PhD is part of the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training and sponsored by Railway Safety Standards Board (RSSB), Network Rail and Rail Delivery Group.
Completion: January 2021.
Carlos E

Carlos Manuel Escobar Galindo 

Ergonomics and Human Factors in Laparoscopic surgery in Public Hospitals of Peru.

Supervisors: Dr Brendan Ryan and Dr Sue Cobb

Research summary 
Increasingly hospitals are using laparoscopic surgery for a variety of medical procedures due to the benefits for patients. Performing laparoscopic surgery may increase the physical and mental workload of surgeons affecting their performance because of the use of complex technology. Peruvian Public  Hospitals have issues related to  technology  availability and accessibility  , poor working conditions, and  lack of resources. The project aims to investigate the  ergonomic risk factors in operating rooms which may increase the physical workload of surgeons and affect their surgical skills. 
Maria Jose Galvez Trigo

Maria Jose (Marisé) Galvez Trigo

Design and development of a user centred multimodal interactive system to control educational robots

Supervisors: Emeritus Prof. Penny Standen and Dr Sue Cobb

Research summary
Previous and current research has proven that the use of educational robots, specifically in Special Education, is beneficial for students. This technology helps with engagement, which directly contributes to goal achievement, and with the development of social and collaboration skills. However, the uptake of educational robots in special schools is very low.This PhD aims to establish the main reasons for the low uptake of this technology, as well as to co-design a multimodal interactive system to allow teachers and their students to control and to interact with the robots. This process will be followed by an evaluation of the system aiming to establish whether this approach can help improve the uptake of educational robots in Special Education.
Jiahui Ji

Jiahui JI

Developing a contextually sensitive planning and conservation strategy for rural areas that surround important cultural heritage sites

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath  and Amy Tang

Research summary 

More than 80% of the cultural heritage sites are located in suburban or rural areas in China. In recent years, under the background of rapid urbanization, the city construction have increasing influence on the suburban and rural cultural heritage site, which arise more attention on the conservation of cultural heritage site. As the adjacent areas around the cultural heritage site, the surroundings are affected directly by the conservation of cultural heritage site inevitably.

In the process of conservation and utilization of cultural heritage sites, the space capitalization and cultural symbolization are changed to break the original closed and homogeneous surrounding environment, resulting to the unbalanced distribution of space and different characters of layout in surroundings.

Therefore, from the point of the production of space, this research will analyse the evolution law of space in surroundings under the influence of cultural heritage site conservation and summarize the primary reasons of space evolution from the perspective of space—social production—cultural heritage conservation pluralism, in order to provide a reference for the exploration of the rational planning and revitalization strategy in the surroundings of cultural heritage site.

James Khan

James Khan

Ultrasound haptic feedback for multimodal interaction with virtual environments. 

Supervisors: Dr Glyn Lawson and Prof Sarah Sharples

Research summary
The engineering design process is witnessing an ever-increasing shift towards 3D virtual prototyping in an effort to reduce cost and time in the product development lifecycle. As such, it is more crucial than ever to understand how humans interact with virtual worlds. In order to do this, the current research is focused primarily on how haptic feedback using ultrasound technologies can be used to complement and enhance user interaction within virtual design environments. This research will not only be applicable to engineering design, but also other areas such as training, entertainment and sales.  
Neeshe Khan

Neeshe Khan 

Novel approach to cybersecurity: Insider threat identification, intervention and mitigation

Supervisors: Prof Sarah Sharples and Dr Robert Houghton 

Research summary
Industry 4.0 has led to a fluent exchange and capturing of communications and data which has also created a new host of problems. Within cybersecurity a natural tension exists between the need to protect information and assets from theft, abuse or to cause harm (CIA triad) and the human element that utilises this technology to perform daily tasks. Despite various efforts to safeguard against cyberattacks, there is a need to undertake a multidisciplinary approach to devise new sociotechnical solutions that are human centric. Thus my research applies traditionally engineering models to tackle unintentional insider threat within cybersecurity as part of the Horizon CDT.
Zhipeng Kou

Zhipeng Kou

Vertical Public Realms: A New Spatial Typology for Contemporary Urban Challenges

SupervisorsProf Tim Heath  

Research Summary
A series of new urban conditions have emerged globally in the early twenty-first century that have been shaped by increasing urban populations, rapid urbanization, the shortage of land and resources, and enhanced urban densification. These have contributed to a redefinition of working and living urban environments and requirements for new urban public places to complement traditional spaces in many of our cities. Within the context of a multiplicity of urban spatial types, this research explores and examines the emergence of ‘Vertical Public Realms’ (VPR) to meet the needs of contemporary lifestyles in high-density cities. The research would define and classify a complex range of VPR types in order to systematically categorise the design of new urban spaces in high-density contexts. More importantly, the research would identify the issues facing VPRs in comparison to traditional public realms, and then develop and integrate ‘Placemaking Framework’ for VPR by analysing and evaluating the qualities of VPR., in order to make a contribution to the design and use of VPR.
Simiao LI

Simiao Li

Strategies for Promoting the Organic Integration of Industrial Heritage Districts and Modern Cities

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath  and Dr. Qi Wang

Research summary  
This research focuses on the strategy of Chinese industrial heritage district regeneration, aiming to explore suitable preservation modes in which industrial heritage districts are able to be assimilated organically into the modern city context. Successful relevant projects in American and European countries will be taken as comparative case studies for inspiration. And the study will go further and practical by analyzing particular projects to verify the feasibility of the strategies.  
WeiXuan Li

Weixuan Li

Using Virtual Environment in Emergency Management

Supervirsor: Dr Glyn Lawson and Prof Gary Burnett

Research summary
Conventional emergency management training is beset by a number of difficulties. The current study seeks to examine the manner in which VR-based training offers a solution to these issues. Moreover, this research aims to comprise a theoretical framework which can guide the implementation of VR technology in emergency management training.

Urszula Matthews

Detecting and influencing behaviour in transport locations. 

Supervisors: Dr Brendan Ryan and Dr Robert Houghton 

Research summary
This project will aim to characterise normal behaviour at transport locations. Understanding behaviour in this context could be at a micro level through analysis of gesture, expressions and other display of emotion, potentially through to a macro level analysis of movement and flow of people or crowds.  Establishing patterns of normal behaviour may open up the possibility of identifying and responding to examples of suspicious behaviours (such as people contemplating suicide on the railway or involved in criminal / terrorist activity).  The development of technology prototypes for monitoring of behaviour and/or influencing behaviours will be explored within the project. The research will also focus on the evaluation of new technologies in real world settings. 
Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller

Wireless sharing of autonomous vehicle sensors.

Supervisors:  Dr Glyn Lawson and Prof Stuart Marsh

Research summary
The aim of my project, is to investigate ways that sensor data can be shared across short range wireless connections between vehicles, in order to improve performance through multiple perspective analysis of traffic situations.
Ridwan Prasetyo

Ridwan Aji Budi Prasetyo

Non-intrusive technologies to measure real time pilot workload.

Supervisors: Robert Houghton, Prof Sarah Sharples and Elizabeth Argyle

Research summary 
My research will involve measuring physiological and psychological parameters in airline pilot workload and will include techniques such as fMRI, EEG, fNIRS and eye tracking. The aim of the project is to develop novel approaches for real-time and non-intrusive measurement of pilot workload to improve safety and performance.

Natthakit Phetsuriya 

Urban townscape quality to represent the urban heritage aspect of Chiang Mai Old City, Thailand

Supervisors:  Prof Tim Heath 

Research summary

The purpose of my research is to study Urban townscape quality to represent the urban heritage aspect of Chiang Mai Old City, Thailand. 

Chiang Mai, the capital of Lanna, represents a masterpiece of human creative genius in the field of urban planning which begins first and foremost with the selection of site is indeed an authentic human creation. As a unique creative accomplishment in urban planning displays its authenticity in the founders having the authentic knowledge and experiences until present. Now Chiang Mai Old City has announced to the tentative lists of World Heritage by UNESCO. However, to meet the world heritage criteria, Chiang Mai has finished in iv criteria which are about to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history. From that task, Chiang Mai heritage team has informed about the temples and all historical artefacts in the old city to UNESCO.

The gap of study is how other urban artefacts and an environment in Chiang Mai Old city induce people perception to recognize the image of Lanna.  My PhD research focuses on studying how people interact with the urban townscape in the historical area, cultural heritage and cognition to the authenticity of the historical environment. The research interests include environmental perception, sense of place, the identity of place and human behaviour. Furthermore, the research will relate with socio-cultural to urban fabric in the heritage area and responsive to its local people perception.

Natthakit Phetsuriya is a PhD candidate at The Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, UK. He has been being sponsored by Chiang Mai University Scholarship. 

Gowthami Satyavarapu

Gowthami Satyavarapu

Vedic urban patterns and their effect on human behaviour

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath and Dr Qi Wang

Research summary

The research aims to decode the archaic Vedic principles of town planning applied using the principles of Vastu Shastra, an ancient science which deals with the arrangement of geometrical patterns using laws of proportion. This approach will focus on deriving the possibilities of restoring harmony and balance with relevance to the present urban context. Secondly, the research also focuses on the timeline of Vedic principles their genesis, influences, evolution, experimentation and experiences in the course of time. This will help in accessing the genetic code of the urban structure based on Vedic principles. In addition to this the study will be illustrating various theoretical planning applicable for given physical setting and associated function. This would exhibit the approach of resilience followed by the ancient tenants of India.


Mahnaz Sharafkhani 2020

Mahnaz Sharafkhani 

Immersive technology-based strategies to improve aircraft passenger comfort.

Supervisors: Dr Sue Cobb, Dr Paul Tennant, Dr Elizabeth Argyle

Research summary
Research summary: Aircraft passengers’ physical activity levels are often limited during flight for extended periods of time, which can have serious impact on health, comfort, and passenger experience. Mahnaz’s research aims to identify aircraft passenger behaviour, postures and discomfort areas during flights and tries to improve aircraft passenger comfort by finding solutions to encourage passengers to move more while seated in the aircraft seat. 
Patrick Sharpe

Patrick Sharpe

Measuring the Flow Characteristics of Windows

Supervisors: Robin Wilson 

Research summary
A key part of the design of the ventilation system of a naturally ventilated building is the sizing and locating of windows. If the windows are too small, this may result in poor indoor air quality in the winter, and overheating in the summer. If the windows are too large, this may result in excessive energy use, occupant discomfort and increased costs. My research aims to characterise the performance of real windows under a range of environmental and design conditions. This would enable designers to more confidently size window openings, and improve occupant comfort in naturally ventilated buildings.
Emily Shaw

Emily Shaw

Future Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs) for Automated Vehicles

Supervisors: Dr Gary Burnett and Dr David Large

Research summary 
Vehicle automation is purported to improve safety, traffic efficiency and reduce driver stress, but can also disengage the driver from tasks related to driving. This issue will be critical to the success of automation due to situations where the driving task transitions between the human and the vehicle.This PhD aims to investigate how people ‘naturally’ communicate whilst completing a series of driving activities, including the hand-over of control between each other. The work will inform the future design of HMIs and develop guidance for future in-vehicle experiences, which can equip drivers to gracefully take-over or relinquish control of the vehicle when required/desired.
Rizky Silalahi

Rizky Luthfian Ramadhan Silalahi 

Work assessment in food-producing SMEs in Indonesia.

Supervisors: Dr Brendan RyanDr Sue Cobb and Dr Robert Houghton 


Research summary 

Summary of research: Food-producing SMEs in Indonesia have a very important role on the country’s economic.  However, they are low in productivity compared to other countries in the region, and attention to human factors and ergonomics aspects is minimal. Their manual characteristic of work makes their workers vulnerable to ergonomics-related problems.

Assessment of work-related problems in food-producing SMEs will give insight on work-related problems experienced by the workers and provide improvement. 


Samuel Swift

PhD title: Computational modelling of head and brain injury in vulnerable populations

Supervisors:  Prof Donal McNally 

Research summary

Safety engineering to prevent or mitigate against head injuries is largely based upon injury criteria or computational modelling that are specific to young adult heads and brains.  This has proved extremely successful for relevant applications such as seatbelt and airbag design and motorcycle helmet construction.  However, differences in brain mass and volume and tissue strengths greatly reduce the usefulness of such models when applied to current issues such as falls in the elderly and intraventricular haemorrhage in premature babies. 

The project will develop models that are specific to such vulnerable populations based on appropriate geometries and tissue properties with a view to their application to such interventions as the design and specification of hospital and care home flooring and neonatal transport restraint systems.

Christian Tamakloe bio HFRG

Christian Tamakloe

Applying personal informatics towards more worthwhile rail journeys.

Supervisors: Dr David Golightly

Research summary 
Christian’s PhD explores the role of personal data in supporting the use of travel time by rail passengers.  Research in the last two decades has shown that contrary to the conventional wisdom in transport studies that time spent travelling is ‘wasted’ or ‘dead’ time, this time can be and usually is beneficial to most passengers.  Channelling the Quantified Self movement, which epitomises the nascent global trend of technology-assisted tracking and analysis of personally relevant data by individuals of different aspects of their daily life for self-reflection, and in some cases, self-improvement, his research, undertaken in collaboration with Thales UK, seeks to develop an additional research toolbox for investigating how and why rail passengers use and value their time while travelling.  Ultimately, insights will be applied towards providing tools and operator services that will allow passengers to configure their trips to improve overall journey satisfaction. 
Angela Thornton

Angela Thornton

A Contemporary Understanding of Whole Brain Emulation and Mind Uploading

Supervisors: Dr Alexandra Lang and Dr Dimitris Papadopoulos

Research summary 

My research explores diverse public’s understanding and engagement with future developments in neuroscience and neurotechnology such as whole brain emulation, neural augmentation and mind uploading. While this is an active research area it is the province of experts. However digital technology is transforming what it means to be human, and its impact could be considerable. My public panel are now piloting a bespoke storytelling website. As well as collecting attitudinal data I am evaluating narrative engagement via transportation, engagement, and character identification. Self-report assessments of emotional response, imagination and attentional focus will be precursors to physiological measures of such parameters. 


Runhe Tian

The Renewal and Integration of Urban Lost Public Space

Supervisors: Prof Tim Heath and  Dr Florian Wiedmann

Research summary 

In today’s cities, there are many public spaces that are underutilized or that cannot meet the needs of people or urban development. In addition, there are also many abandoned or vacant spaces due to the poor incremental planning, which are ill-defined, without measurable boundaries and fail to connect elements in a coherent way, and therefore making no positive contribution to the surroundings or users.

Urban designers must work as ‘surgeons’ or ‘auto mechanics’ and repair these diverse broken spaces of the city to infill, modify and recycle the existing spatial structure. This research mainly focuses on the strategy of renewal and the integration of lost urban public space, aims to explore renewal models of lost public space and integration approaches to restructure the existing public space structure, so as to provide strategies for achieving coordinated urban public space development in China’s urbanisation.

Bethan Topliss2

Bethan Hannah Topliss

Evaluating Head-Up Displays within Vehicles

Supervisors: Dr Gary Burnett and Dr Sanna Pampel

Research summary 

Head-up displays (HUDs) can be used as an innovative method of presenting automotive drivers with information, while still enabling them to keep their eyes towards the road. However, the nature of visual demand in relation to HUDs requires further exploration so that HUDs can be ideally implemented in vehicles.

Initially, this PhD is aiming to quantify how visually demanding HUD imagery is, by identifying an acceptable amount of time for a driver to visually attend to HUD imagery whilst driving. The influence of factors such as HUD imagery location, and nature will also be examined. Ultimately, findings may be used to develop guidelines and methods with a view to improving the process of evaluating HUD designs. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the COGENT lab at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US (Virginia Tech) -

Xinyu WANG

Xinyu Wang

Supervisors: Dr Florian Wiedmann and Prof Tim Heath 

Ziyad Picture Big

Ziyad Yehia

Improving the design of indoor navigation aids for the blind using ideation cards.

Supervisors: Dr Gary Burnett and Dr Paul Tennent

Research summary 

Many blind or visually impaired (B/VI) people find indoor navigation to be a very difficult task. As navigating indoor spaces is part of everyday life, the challenges that B/VI face when navigating indoors can have detrimental effects on their confidence, independence and well-being.

In order to increase their mobility, B/VI people use a variety of navigation aids. Common examples include the white cane, human sighted assistance, and the guide dog. There are also augmentations to these common aids, such as sonar-based canes and `robot guide dogs’, as well as completely novel aids that do not fit these basic archetypes.

Although many aids and concepts are being/have been developed, very few are actually adopted by the B/VI community. It is hypothesised that the reason for this is that these new aids do not fully meet the needs of the B/VI community, and this research aims to solve this issue by developing a set of ideation cards.

Ideation cards are decks of cards that are used as prompts by design teams to help them to consider a wider range of issues than they normally would have. This wider consideration of issues is hoped to increase the suitability of designs, their adoption rate, and ultimately the quality of assistance that is provided to this deserving community.

Xuesen Zheng

Xuesen Zheng

To examine whether the re-use of abandoned industrial sites can meet the demands of urban regeneration in China

Supervisors:  Prof Tim Heath and  Dr Qi Wang

Research summary 
Xuesen’s PhD research is about the re-use of abandoned industrial sites in China. Functional transformation, which relates to the land use being transformed, from industrial use to civil use, has been seen as an important model for reusing abandoned industrial sites. This process involves altering old architectural elements and integrating new functions. The research tries to explore the ‘crossover’ strategy to adapt to the demands of urban regeneration in China.  

Human Factors Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham

Telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4040