Thomas A. Furness III, Ph.D.
Dr. Furness is a pioneer in the development of interfaces between humans and
complex machines. He has been a crusader for over the past 24 years for
building aircraft cockpits which take into account the perceptual organization
of the human. Most of his work has centered on the concept of virtual
interface technologies which prove a circumambience of three dimensional
spatial information to the human using the visual, auditory and tactile sensory
Dr. Furness joined the University of Washinton in September 1989. He is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Adjunct Professor of
Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and the
Founding Director of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory. He received the B.S. in Electrical Engineering
from Duke University and Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the
University of Southampton, England.
WORK AND EXPERIENCE
Prior to joining the University of Washington, Dr. Furness
served as the Chief of the Visual Display Systems Branch, Human Engineering
Division of the Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (USAF),
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. While in this position, Dr. Furness developed and
evaluated visually-coupled systems and virtual interface concepts to improve
the communication of information and control functions between the pilot and
In 1986 he organized the Super Cockpit program, for the Air
Force and served as the program director until leaving for the University of
Washington. Dr. Furness has received the Air Force Systems Command Scientific
Achievement Award and the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
Dr. Furness has lectured widely and written numerous technical articles
associated with human interaction with complex machines and the use of virtual
interfaces. He has made a number of television appearances including NOVA and
CBS, BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC science programs. He is a member of the Human Factors
Society, Association of Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers and the Society for Information Display.
Dr. Furness's current research involves the comprehensive development
of affordable virtual interface technologies for industry and
consumers with applications in medical imaging, virtual prototyping,
prostheses for the handicapped, virtual classrooms and televirtuality.
HITLab, U. of Washington
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Human Interface Technology Lab