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Discussion Starter #1
Since I'm 'testing' the B-1 and the X-33, I've thought a lot about the interaction between man and wristwatch. On my search for background information I found myself on the website of the "Institute For Ergonomics".
For years already, ergonomics have been recognized as a major factor in improving the interaction between pilots and aircraft, automatics system in particular.
Apparently studies have shown that pilots react relatively fast to 'tactile' information (which proves they're usually asleep I guess ;-) ). And that's where the wristwatch comes in the picture. The tests have been performed with a device worn around the wrist, and providing information by vibrating.
A bit like a mobile phone in your pocket I guess. Sounds like a good idea I think. Why not make the alarm of a wristwatch vibrating?
The article is already 6 years old, and apart from the 'stick shaker' I'm not aware of any vibrating feedback in the cockpit yet, but these things need time, so who knows?
Here's the full article should you be interested:

Institute for Ergonomics Newsletter Autumn 2000
 

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The Fortis Alarm Chronos do vibrate. Feelable. They have been criticized for the alarm being not overly loud, but what I actually do like is the decent alarm combined with the vibration on the wrist.

(which proves they're usually asleep I guess ;-) )
Not only Pilots...
But as you mention it, I'll ride it out:
Over the Atlantic, A340. A 5-year old enters the cockpit and watches the pilots at work. Time passes... after 10 minutes the captain adjusts his sunglasses. Time passes... another 10 minutes later the first officer asks the boy: "Hey, boy, do you want to become a pilot when you're big?" Answers the boy: "Nooo, not me, but my brother that lazy sod!"
 

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Apparently studies have shown that pilots react relatively fast to 'tactile' information
Which is one reason why "all glass cockpits" aren't necessarially the work-load savers they have been made out to be.

Older cockpits had hard-wired switches and the switch levers were different shapes, some had triangular heads, some cylindrical, or dome headed, etc, the pilots could feel which switch he had his fingers on and could change modes without looking at the various panels. (This is what "tacticle" information means.) Most of the Copilot-Gunners in the old A model Apaches could do just about everything without looking away from their head-down gun-sight.

Newer "all glass" cockpits have "soft" buttons surrounding the large multi-function displays. These buttons are all the same shape and change function with the the screen.

Stick-shakers were originally introduced to replicate the feel of flying after the use of powered flight controls became widespread. In the old days, when cables connected the stick and pedals to the flight controls, changes in the airflow over the control surfaces would be transmitted back the the pilot(s) via the cables. When hydraulics replaced the cables, the pilot was isolated from the "feel" of flying, and artificial means to warn the pilot(s) of impending disaster.
 

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Hi Ron -

I thought that pilots' reaction to tactile infomation was that they realized the stewardess was not interested when she slapped. :)

But in terms of vibrating alarms, makes sense to me. I recall one of the James Coburn films (In Like Flint, I think it was) where he had a watch that would wake him by having a small rod distendopposite the crown that had two prongs on it and it would wake him from a death-like sleep (hey, it's a Hollywood action film from the 1960s) by oscillating. He wore the watch on the inner side of his wrist, however...

JohnF
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Fortis Alarm Chronos do vibrate. Feelable. They have been criticized for the alarm being not overly loud, but what I actually do like is the decent alarm combined with the vibration on the wrist.

Not only Pilots...
But as you mention it, I'll ride it out:
Over the Atlantic, A340. A 5-year old enters the cockpit and watches the pilots at work. Time passes... after 10 minutes the captain adjusts his sunglasses. Time passes... another 10 minutes later the first officer asks the boy: "Hey, boy, do you want to become a pilot when you're big?" Answers the boy: "Nooo, not me, but my brother that lazy sod!"

:-d :-d

When I was a few years younger, I used to spend most of my ample free time, renovating and redecorating my house. I've heard my daughters ask me more then once: "Daddy, are you working today, or off flying"!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Which is one reason why "all glass cockpits" aren't necessarially the work-load savers they have been made out to be.

Older cockpits had hard-wired switches and the switch levers were different shapes, some had triangular heads, some cylindrical, or dome headed, etc, the pilots could feel which switch he had his fingers on and could change modes without looking at the various panels. (This is what "tacticle" information means.) Most of the Copilot-Gunners in the old A model Apaches could do just about everything without looking away from their head-down gun-sight.

Newer "all glass" cockpits have "soft" buttons surrounding the large multi-function displays. These buttons are all the same shape and change function with the the screen.

Stick-shakers were originally introduced to replicate the feel of flying after the use of powered flight controls became widespread. In the old days, when cables connected the stick and pedals to the flight controls, changes in the airflow over the control surfaces would be transmitted back the the pilot(s) via the cables. When hydraulics replaced the cables, the pilot was isolated from the "feel" of flying, and artificial means to warn the pilot(s) of impending disaster.
Exactly. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for the explanation.
 

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one down side on the vibrate alarm (at least on the G-Shocks) is that the vibration is not that strong so you will have wear the watch tight in order to really *feel* vib alarm
 

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Hi Ron -

I thought that pilots' reaction to tactile infomation was that they realized the stewardess was not interested when she slapped. :)

But in terms of vibrating alarms, makes sense to me. I recall one of the James Coburn films (In Like Flint, I think it was) where he had a watch that would wake him by having a small rod distendopposite the crown that had two prongs on it and it would wake him from a death-like sleep (hey, it's a Hollywood action film from the 1960s) by oscillating. He wore the watch on the inner side of his wrist, however...

JohnF
You're showing your age... :) I too remember that watch. Thought it was pretty cool back then, still do. As my hearing is permanently altered due to a musical career in my earlier years... I don't even hear the high pitched beeps of most digital alarm watches. I think a vibrating alarm is a great idea.
 
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