Mark Bigham, chief innovation officer of Raytheon‘s intelligence, information and services business, has said user-friendly graphic interfaces can help prevent human error in the use of emergency management computers.
Bigham outlined lessons learned from a false ballistic missile alarm that caused panic across Hawaii, such as the need to create “bold and big” controls meant to activate alarm systems, Raytheon said Monday.
He added that any attempt to issue an emergency alert should notify other decision makers and prompt them to confirm or cancel.
Bigham noted that confirmation prompts could include data on the situation, and in Hawaii’s case, that information could include the time of missile launch and the area it could hit.
A day after the incident, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency developed a feature to accelerate the declaration of a false alarm and implemented a “two-person rule” to give more than one employee the authority to send out warnings.
Raytheon is proposing a new “smart” interface for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System that would display information — including the target’s point of origin, trajectory, speed and altitude — in a three-dimensional picture.
The new interface will also feature a search box to help operators find information.
“What we’re trying to do is prioritize the information that goes into the decision-making and display it in a way that is quickly consumable by the operators,” said Bob Kelley, senior manager of business development for Raytheon’s integrated air and missile defense programs.