Software aids cockpit design

Software aids cockpit design

New software from Formulab Neuronetics Corp. of Perth, Australia, is helping designers of instruments and controls for military aircraft cockpits solve problems.

Anthony Andre, principal of Interface Analysis Inc. of San Jose, Calif., says Formulab Neuronetics` software package called Richter Paradigm View is speeding work that Andre`s company is carrying out for Britain`s Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Farnborough, England.

Andre explains that his company`s DERA contract for the Cognitive Compatibility Project calls for Interface Analysis to build a general design tool for cockpit engineers to determine the best shapes, colors, and sizes for use in displays and controls.

The project is aimed at discovering general design principles applicable to cockpit layout - for example, whether a triangular symbol implies the direction of an object.

"Once I saw this tool I realized that it would be the best method for developing a computer model of our data and for displaying the results of that model," Andre says.

"As soon as I saw this, I knew anybody could program with this, you don`t need to have a computer scientist. You can use a student," Andre says of Richter Paradigm View. The software forms a special visual programming language based on a model of the human brain, he adds.

"The source code is the picture on your screen," Andre says. "When you point and click, it`s not a representation of the underlying code; you`re looking at the code." Andre explains that most of the programming work is done with a mouse, and that the keyboard is used only to assign certain values and weights to programming elements. Richter Paradigm View runs under Windows 95, Andre says.

"The product lends itself to people doing programming models of reasoning," he adds. Andre, a Richter Paradigm View enthusiast, says, "I can imagine it being used in 60 percent to 70 percent of the programming environments in the world." -W.D.

For more information contact the Neuronetics Corp. office in San Jose, Calif., by telephone at 408-278-0360, by fax at 408-278-0366, or by e-mail at

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