HAMMLAB is IFE’s simulator-based research facility for studying human behaviour and performance in complex operating environments. We study human-machine interaction and crew collaboration, and integrate the knowledge gained into methods for safety analysis, new designs and support systems. This way we help industries ensure safe and efficient operation.
HAMMLAB serves two main purposes:
- Enable realistic studies of human behaviour and performance in interaction with complex industrial systems.
- Provide a realistic environment to develop, test and evaluate prototype control centres and their individual systems.
To ensure industry relevance we engage professional operating crews in our studies and evaluations.
Results from studies performed in HAMMLAB provide new knowledge into basic challenges for individuals and crews, such as factors affecting complexity in emergency scenarios. Topics such as the collaboration between automation and humans, teamwork, operating roles, the use of procedures, alarm systems, support systems, and different human-machine interface solutions are studied. This gives input to safety analysis as well as designs and support systems to optimise human performance. Results are used by instructors, plants, vendors and regulators and as input to national and international standards, guidelines and regulatory frameworks.
HAMMLAB provides principles, methods, designs and prototype tools that are relevant to nuclear, petroleum, power and various other industries, and to research and training simulators.
HAMMLAB includes two full-scope nuclear power plant simulators; a control room where professional crews operate the simulated plants; and a gallery from where our experiment team controls the scenarios, observes crew behaviour and evaluates performance.
IFE’s Virtual Reality Centre is located next to HAMMLAB, enabling studies that include collaboration between control room staff and field operators. Adjacent rooms provide options for studies that include additional functions external to the control room, e.g. a technical support centre. IFE’s Cyber Security Centre and FutureLab complements HAMMLAB with additional exploratory research activities.
Data collection and performance assessments
During scenarios we record video from multiple cameras; audio from individual microphones; trend plots of relevant simulator variables; and timestamped list of operator actions, inserted malfunctions, and alarms & events from the simulation. We can also record physiological data such as eye-tracking and electrical brain and heart activity. Finally, we collect subjective data from the participants through questionnaires and debrief-interviews.
Subject-matter experts evaluate different dimensions of crew performance on-line during the scenarios and can refine their ratings later using HAMMLAB’s replay features. Advanced tools for performance assessment and scenario replay allow for in-depth analysis of operator and crew performance.
HAMMLAB’s research and development teams are multi-disciplinary and include people with education and experience in power plant operation, interaction design, industrial psychology and computer science.