Human performance has been identified as a new dimension of University of Iowa’s Naval Sciences and Technology certificate.
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Rachel Vitali

A University of Iowa engineering professor is looking to expand Iowa’s Naval Sciences and Technology certificate to include human performance as a specialization area.  

The certificate – one of the few of its kind in academia – covers foundational principles of naval hydrodynamics including propulsion, resistance, maneuvering, and seakeeping, as well as the fundamentals of autonomous systems. 

Rachel Vitali, mechanical engineering assistant professor, has identified human performance as a new dimension of the certificate. Human variability is challenging to incorporate into the engineering design process, and it is even more difficult to evaluate how the performance of individuals changes as a consequence of, for example, different designs for personal protective equipment. However, human performance is often critical to the success of operations. 

The project could deepen the pathway for Iowa graduates pursuing careers in the U.S. Navy.  

The Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) has sponsored the grant valued at $392,158 over three years. The grant will support Vitali in expanding and enhancing the certificate to incorporate multiple motion capture modalities to assess human performance while simultaneously engaging with the NSWC Panama City Division research community.