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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Harry and the Driving Simulator at the FSU Psychology Department

This is my driving simulator.

This is the headgear that tracked my eye movement.

The Psychology Department at FSU needs guinea pigs for their many studies. They often call me because I am retired and have free time - and also you know what a sucker I am for cash.

Yesterday - I was called to see if I wanted to do a driver simulation study. I had my pick of dates and I chose this morning at 9 AM. As I arrived - there was a student at the front of the building with a VIP parking spot for me. We went upstairs - I signed a few papers - then we went to the lab.

Back in 1974 - Lulu and I went to summer school to become Driver Education teachers. It was held at East Stroudsburg State College - we stayed on campus - knocked of 12 credits together - and became certified Driver and Safety Education teachers. Lulu took the courses at the undergrad level - I at the grad level - the difference was writing a paper. During that time driving simulators were in their infancy - and frankly a big joke. Schools were trying to get out of the "driving requirement" by sitting students at these simulators for a few hours.

Today - driving simulators are all computer driven. I was sitting at a steering wheel with a gas and brake pedal. In front of me were 4 computer screens - the road was projected on the center one - the mirrors were project on the side screens. A complete dashboard was shown on the 4th.

Simply - I was driving down the road for 10 minutes. There was plenty of traffic including a lot of bikers. My job was to obey the law and drive. If I decided to go over 50 MPH - a policeman would pull me over.

Florida has more bikers killed or maimed than any other state. In 2009 - 51,000 were injured and 630 were killed. Simply - the psychologists are trying to find ways to make bikers and motorist share the highway more safely.

After 10 minutes - the test was over - I had to fill out a questionnaire - then they paid me with 3 - five dollar bills. Do I have to claim this on my tax forms?

The student took me back to my car - and quickly claimed my "super duper" parking pass. I was home by 10 AM.

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