Technical Tours

Technical tours provide HFES Annual Meeting attendees with opportunities to see HF/E in action at special sale prices!  All Technical Tours are open to all registrants and even spouses/guest attendees for only $25.  We encourage you to register today.

The following tour sites have been selected to showcase settings in which researchers and practitioners work. All of the tour sites are ADA accessible.  The exact timing of these tours will be available soon.   For those tours not sold out in advance, tickets may be purchased during the meeting.  Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis on receipt of fully paid registration.  Tours that have not met their minimum registration by October 9 are subject to cancellation.  Payments will be promptly refunded if there is a need to cancel any tour.  

To Register:  If you already are registered to attend the annual meeting and/or ErgoX and wish to add a Technical Tour, simply email with the name of the tour(s) you want to attend. They will add it to your registration and send you a revised confirmation/invoice and link for online payment remittance. New registrants add a tour as part of initial registration

Please note that the time your shuttle bus departs the hotel will be earlier (up to an hour earlier) than the start time of the tours as listed below.  Present your ticket and board your shuttle at least 15 minutes prior to departure (you will receive your ticket at the HFES registration desk on-site).  Shuttles may be located outside the Terrace Entrance of the hotel on T Street and Florida Avenue.  Shuttles will depart on time. No refunds are provided if you miss your shuttle.  Tour registrants will be emailed more information and instructions in advance.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Tuesday, October 24:  9:00 AM -  11:00 AM
Shuttle departs hotel:  7:45 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  11:45 AM

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for licensing nuclear reactors and for overseeing their compliance with all federal safety operating regulations. Its specialists ensure that US nuclear reactors are designed and operated in accordance with human factors design and operating principles, based on research and the findings of accident and incident investigations throughout the world. The tour will include the NRC’s operations center and simulator laboratory.

  • The facility is accessible to people with disabilities
  • The use of Photography/Recording devices in NRC space will be prohibited without the authorization of NRC tour leaders
  • Participants must furnish this ahead of time:  Photocopy of Passport, First Name, Last Name, Contact Phone, Citizenship, Company/Employer
  • Participants must present government-issued identification upon entering the facility
  • Foreign nationals must bring their passports to the facility

Aurora Flight Sciences

Tuesday, October 24:  9:30 AM - Noon
Shuttle departs hotel:  8:15 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  1:00 PM

Aurora Flight Sciences, a division of the Boeing Corporation, develops autonomous vehicles for operating in such diverse environments as space, underwater, and on land. These vehicles allow operators to conduct operations, such as inspection and monitoring of equipment that would be either impractical or unsafe for human operators. The tour will examine their hangar, Remote Operating Center and at least one flight simulator system. Personnel will explain how human factors issues are incorporated into the design and development of autonomous systems.

The tour takes visitors through three separate facilities, which ordinarily is quite a bit of walking. The tour is about one hour long; therefore, comfortable shoes should be worn. A golf cart and driver can be made available for those needing such assistance.

  • Participants will be asked to complete an External Visitor Request Form two weeks before the event, with their full, legal name, a contactable email, an affiliation (HFES is sufficient), and country of citizenship
  • All visitors will be required to present a government-issued ID before they are admitted to tour the facilities
  • Foreign nationals are welcome; however, they will need to provide proof of their citizenship such as a passport, resident alien card, visa, or Real ID

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Wednesday, October 25:  9 AM - Noon 
Tour Fee:  $75   SALE PRICE:  $25
Shuttle departs hotel:  7:45 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  1:00 PM

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, which supports state and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). The FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC), is the nation’s premier federally owned and operated highway research and development facility. Located in McLean, VA, TFHRC coordinates and conducts an ambitious program of innovative highway research and development to address critical needs of the national highway system. Through its three research and development (R&D) offices- infrastructure, safety, and operations- along with the Exploratory Advanced Research Program, FHWA engineers, scientists, and human factors experts conduct applied and exploratory advanced research in vehicle-highway interaction, nanotechnology, and a host of other types of transportation research in safety, pavements, highway structures and bridges, human-centered systems, operations and intelligent transportation systems, and materials. With 15 laboratories, the center provides a vital resource for advancing the body of knowledge that has been created and developed by our researchers.

  • All participants will be required to present a government-issued picture identification card to gain access to the facility
  • The tours will require considerable walking and standing; therefore, comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended
  • Some may find distances between tour sites challenging

US Food and Drug Administration

Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL), the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), US Food and Drug Administration

Wednesday, October 25:  10:00 AM - Noon
Tour Fee:  $75   SALE PRICE:  $25
Shuttle departs hotel:  9:00 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  1:00 PM

Participants will visit two labs at the FDA’s Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL) within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH): the Human-Device Interaction Program and the Medical Extended Reality Program.

OSEL is composed of scientists and engineers who have a broad diversity of expertise from microbiology to artificial intelligence and machine learning. OSEL staff are all dedicated to promoting innovation for the development of new lifesaving medical devices.

The Human-Device Interaction Program conducts regulatory science research to help ensure patient access to diagnostic, therapeutic, and assistive medical devices that are safe and effective. The Human-Device Interaction Program focuses on regulatory science research in the areas of scientific evaluation of the sources of variability in smartphone and smartwatch-based wearable sensors, developing methodology to validate wearable sensors for gait, establishing normative distributions for movement metrics derived from wearables, and developing a mental workload assessment model for clinical populations with upper limb impairment.

The Medical Extended Reality Program in CDRH conducts regulatory science research to help ensure patient access to innovative extended reality-based devices that are safe and effective. The Medical Extended Reality Program focuses on regulatory science research in the areas of image quality characterization of MXR devices and quantitative measurements for usability, such as cognitive load and cybersickness.

Clearance:  This tour is open to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.  Participants must present valid government issued photo identification.  Permanent residents must present their green card.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

Wednesday, October 25:  1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Shuttle departs hotel:  12:30 PM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  5:00 PM

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The tour will focus on CPSC’s National Product Testing & Evaluation Center (NPTEC), a state-of-the-art testing lab that is designed and purposed to efficiently and safely support product testing and analysis of CPSC’s engineers and scientists who conduct scientific and engineering analyses and testing of consumer products to ensure they meet product safety requirements; support the development of mandatory and voluntary product safety performance standards and test methods to improve product safety; and provide expert advice on product safety-related issues including evaluating emerging hazards from products and addressing the integration of emerging technologies in products.

The MITRE Corporation

Thursday, October 26:  9 AM - Noon 
Tour Fee:  $85   SALE PRICE:  $25
Shuttle departs hotel:  7:45 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  2:00 PM

MITRE’s innovations and ideas touch your life every day.  Our research, prototyping, and partnerships result in safer skies, more secure networks, broader access to healthcare, groundbreaking defense and homeland security technologies, data-driven public policy, and more.  We’re an independent, leading technology and research and development (R&D) company.  We bring government, industry, and academia together to tackle big societal challenges.  We’re a not-for-profit company driven by our public interest mission: Solving problems for a safer world.

MITRE is pleased to offer conference participants an in-depth tour of our state-of-the-art Integration Demonstration and Experimentation for Aeronautics (IDEA) Lab where we conduct human-in-the-loop simulations with pilots and air traffic controllers to test and refine new operational systems. Visitors will also go to our Driver Research for Intelligent Vehicles and Environments (DRIVE) lab to learn how driving simulations are being developed to create a safer surface transportation environment. Finally, we’ll visit our new Immersion Lab to explore how we’re engineering virtual environments that support human-machine collaboration by engaging our senses, emotions, and cognition in meaningful ways.

Attendees are welcome to purchase lunch at the MITRE onsite cafeteria from Noon to 1:00 PM

  • Fully ADA Accessible
  • No photography or audio recording; cell phones are permitted
  • Must be U.S. citizen 

University of Maryland Blended Reality Center

Thursday, October 26 at 10 AM - 11:30 AM
Tour Fee:  $75   SALE PRICE:  $25
Shuttle departs hotel:  9:00 AM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  12:30 PM

The Maryland Blended Reality Center is a leader in immersive technologies used for health care and high-impact training. Visitors can view some of the demos showcasing work we are doing in collaboration with the renowned R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. This includes a virtual surgical training demo and other work we are doing involving immersive media and the performing arts. Our tech staff will be available to answer any questions.

The Brendan Iribe Center is a stunning 215,000-square-foot facility that houses the Department of Computer Science, one of the nation’s largest computer science programs with more than 3,500 undergraduates currently enrolled. The building is also home to the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, a multidisciplinary research powerhouse of more than 80 faculty and 200 Ph.D. students from 15 departments across the University of Maryland campus. The tour will showcase some of the work UMIACS is doing in autonomous robotics, computational linguistics, computational biology, our new Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law and Society (TRAILS), our Maryland Cybersecurity Center, and more. The tour concludes with a view from the Iribe Center rooftop garden of the bucolic UMD campus.  Tour duration: 90 minutes.

  • There are no citizenship requirements to participate on this tour

National Transportation Safety Board

Thursday, October 26 - Afternoon (Approx. 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM)
Tour Fee:  $50   SALE PRICE:  $25
Shuttle departs hotel:  12:45 PM
Shuttle returns to hotel:  4:30 PM

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the federal agency tasked with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant events in the other modes of transportation—railroad, transit, highway, marine, pipeline, and commercial space. We determine the probable causes of the accidents and the events that we investigate, and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future occurrences. Join NTSB Human Performance investigators and staff for a unique opportunity to visit NTSB’s Headquarters and tour NTSB’s Vehicle Recorder Laboratory where “black boxes” (aviation flight data and cockpit voice recorders, or onboard recorders in other modes of transportation) are downloaded and the Materials Laboratory where structures and components are analyzed to determine modes of failure. Presentations will include animations created to explain the sequence of events in an accident, which frequently includes human performance. During your visit, NTSB Human Performance investigators will explain how human factors issues are examined in accident investigations and how their work supports the agency’s mission of preventing transportation accidents and crashes in all modes of transportation.

  • Participation will be limited to 32 individuals
  • Only U.S. citizens will be permitted on the tour
  • All participants will be asked to provide their full, legal name, and a contactable email two weeks before the tour
  • All visitors will be required to present a government-issued ID before they are admitted to the facility