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Technical Tours

Technical tours provide attendees with an opportunity to see HF/E in action. The following tour sites have been selected by HFES members in the Austin area to showcase settings in which researchers and practitioners work. All of the tours ADA accessible.

Tours are open to registered attendees only, not guests or spouses. For those tours not sold out in advance, tickets may be purchased during the meeting. No waiting lists will be established; tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis on receipt of fully paid registration.

Note that tours that have not met their minimum registration by August 28 are subject to cancellation.

Tour T1 — Information eXperience Lab (IX Lab), University of Texas at Austin
Date: Tuesday, October 10
Price per person: $48
Maximum attendance: 15
Departure: 2:30 p.m.
Return: 4:30 p.m.
Tour time: 3:00–4:00 p.m.

The Information eXperience Lab is a research facility dedicated to the study of human interaction with information across a wide range of digital formats and devices. The notion of "information experience" is purposefully broad and encapsulates all possible facets of human interaction with information. The Lab provides iSchool faculty, students, research collaborators and clients with a state-of-the-art facility in which to conduct research on broadly construed human-information interaction (HII) research topics, including effects of fundamental human capabilities on HII, evaluation of user interface and interaction design, usability, and all aspects of user experience. How might information be best presented such that the target audience of that information can find it, understand it, and take appropriate actions based on it? Come join us as we try to answer this question.
 

Tour T2 — Toyota Manufacturing Plant, San Antonio
Date: Wednesday, October 11
Price per person: $53, lunch included
Maximum attendance: 40
Departure: 11:15 a.m.
Return: 4:45 p.m.
Tour time: 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Note: The travel time for this tour is 1 hour and 30 minutes each way. Please review the tour guidelines for specific clothing requirements and other details.

On this tour, you will hear and see what goes into the manufacturing of the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma as they roll off the line each day. The tour guides will take you through 2.2 million square feet of the facility. First you will be taken by the Body Weld Shop, where a team of computer-controlled robots use state-of-the-art technology to weld stamp steel pieces together. Next, you will move into the Plastics Shop. This is where critical components, including the vehicle bumpers and instrument panels, are made. Following, you will see overhead conveyors transport the trucks from Paint to Assembly, where the trucks begin to take shape. Throughout the tour, your guide will point out the foundations of the world-renowned Toyota Productions System, as well as give you insight to the line side processes of the team members.
 

Tour T3 — Stop 1: Human Interfaces – Human Factors and Usability Consultancy and Research Facilities; Stop 2: Design Institute for Health at the University of Texas Dell Medical School
Date: Thursday, October 12
Price per person: $45
Maximum attendance: 20
Departure: 9:15 a.m.
Return: 1:00 p.m.
Tour time: Stop 1: 10:00–11:00 a.m.; Stop 2: 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Stop 1: Human Interfaces (HI) is a full-service human factors and UX research consultancy located in Northwest Austin at the start of the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 2001, HI features state-of-the art research facilities and an on-staff research team with a breadth of knowledge in experimental design and statistical analyses for new technologies. HI's research spans a variety of application areas, including consumer products, enterprise platforms, and health-care design and innovation. HI partners with the Design Institute to explore user-centered research opportunities that foster health improvements through innovative design.

Stop 2: The Design Institute for Health at the University of Texas's Dell Medical School is a first-of-its-kind initiative dedicated to applying a creative design-based approach to the nation's health-care challenges. It is a collaboration between Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin. As a key resource reaching across the medical school's functions and projects, the Design Institute aims to meaningfully change health care by focusing on three initial areas: (a) a creative, collaborative model for improving health, (b) platforms to enable new innovations in health, and (c) a resource for design execution.
 

CANCELED — Tour T4 — Center for The Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston
Date: Thursday, October 12
Price per person: $53, lunch included
Maximum attendance: 40
Departure: 9:45 a.m.
Return: 2:00 p.m.
Tour time: 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Note: The travel time for this tour is 1 hour and 30 minutes each way. Individuals wanting to attend this tour who do not have a military ID card or CAC card need to provide a driver's license number, issuing state, and date of birth by October 2. Foreign nationals may use a valid passport instead of a driver's license.

The Center for the Intrepid (CFI) is a rehabilitation facility to treat amputees and burn victims. The capabilities of the CFI include state-of-the-world technologies designed to be used for rehabilitation, research, education, and training. Patients are challenged by state-of-the-art physical therapy and occupational therapy, demanding and challenging sports equipment, and virtual reality systems. They benefit from individualized case management, access to behavioral medicine services, and in-house prosthetic fitting and fabrication. The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment provides virtual reality training, the Motion Analysis Lab allows specialists to detect gait deviations not discernable to the naked eye, the Firearms training simulator reacquaints patients with their weapons systems, and the Flowrider integrates balance, core strength training, and excitement into the rehabilitation process. The CFI is an outpatient facility under the command and control of BAMC and specifically the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

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