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Cognition, Technology and Work

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 33–52

First Online: 02 June 2015Received: 28 October 2014Accepted: 21 May 2015DOI: 10.1007-s10111-015-0344-0

Cite this article as: Kant, V. & Burns, C.M. Cogn Tech Work 2016 18: 33. doi:10.1007-s10111-015-0344-0


Growth of novel small-scale technologies micro- and nanotechnology is expected to change the nature of work in the future. Currently, Human Factors and Ergonomics HFE research in small-scale technologies, especially nanotechnology, is in its infancy. Since small-scale technologies are expected to bring about radical changes, aligning HFE to these technologies allows for usable products from the inception, rather than an afterthought. This paper presents an ethnographic study conducted on lab-on-a-chip LOC technology in the area of small-scale fluidics. LOC devices are small devices where laboratory processes are shrunk into miniature size, often no bigger than a credit card. LOC technology promises low-cost point-of-care devices in health care, as well as applications in other emerging sectors. In this study, the fabrication and testing of the LOC devices using soft lithography techniques were addressed in detail. Specifically, it is shown that device fabrication in the laboratory entails a considerable amount of skilled workmanship on part of the researcher. Further, this study was conducted at a research laboratory at the University of Waterloo. Addressing laboratory research as a domain of study is a novel venture for HFE. With the growth of universities as major players in the innovation system, the university research laboratory has emerged as an important aspect of the commercialization and technology transfer process. Thus, conducting research in university laboratories will, in the long run, allow HFE professionals to play a greater role in the innovation process linking the university, industry and society. Thus, emphasizing the principle: good economics requires good ergonomics.

KeywordsLab-on-a-chip Ethnography University research Nanotechnology Workmanship  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Vivek Kant - Catherine M. Burns

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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