Natural warning sounds may be the future in airplanes and perhaps in cars as well. A “slurp” when fuel is low works better than a monotonous beeping sound. In a dissertation at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden, Pernilla Ulfvengren has studied how warning sounds function, how we associate sounds, and how new sounds can be designed.
In the cockpit of an airplane there are a large number of warning units. If something happens to the plane, some twenty alarms may go off simultaneously, with lights blinking and a number of different beeping sounds signaling at high volume levels. These alarms are necessary, of course, but they can also confuse the pilot when there are too many of them to keep straight and remember what each one means. This problem has been known for some time.
With this in mind, Pernilla Ulfvengren embarked upon her doctoral studies. Designing alarm systems is in the field of cognitive engineering, technological research adapted to how the brain apprehends different types of information. The design of computer interfaces is another area in which cognitive engineering plays a major role.
Jacob Seth-Fransson | alfa
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