chapter
5 Pages

Preface

I realized that my life would never be the same again late one night in the fall of 1983 when I was a third-year undergraduate student in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. I lived with my parents, and I had taken over their big teak dining-room table to do my homework. My textbooks, papers and class notes were spread out over its entire surface. It was 2:00A.M. and I had been working on a project nonstop since dinner - something not uncommon for an undergraduate engineering student, but this time I noticed an important difference. I had been working hard, but the time had passed quickly, and although it was late, I wasn't tired and wanted to continue working. I realized I was staying up not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I was fascinated by what I was doing; I was actually enjoying it! I didn't feel that strongly about any other course - differential equations, for instance. There was something different about this course, human foctorr engineenng - the unique area of engineering that tailors the design of technology to people, rather than expecting people to adapt to technology.' I remember making a mental note to myself - this human factors stuff is pretty cool.