Reply to post: Controls for humans

I could throttle you right about now: US Navy to ditch touchscreens after kit blamed for collision

MachDiamond Silver badge

Controls for humans

Touchscreens are easy to implement and can be changed around endlessly which is great for companies that thrive on modifying UIs and driving their customers nuts with every update. The big problem is there is no tactile feedback and all of ones attention has to be focused on a screen to make sure the proper control is being manipulated and how much. The issue is exacerbated when it's a moving vehicle of any sort. I look at SpaceX's crewed capsule mockup/PR photos with an array of touch screens and wonder how the hell astronauts wearing bulky gloves are going to do anything on those screens while being vibrated like mad. Take a look at the ancient Apollo capsules and the controls were well spaced and provided with guards so a finger doesn't slip off and hit the self destruct button instead of the overhead light. Imagine trying to control a dragster with a touchscreen. It's all the driver can do to make sure they are going straight down the track for those few seconds so the cars all have big chunky levers whose location is in muscle memory.

A navy ship with dedicated controls for the operators is the better way to go. That's not to say that they aren't fly-by-wire and as a back up the ship can be operated with an iPad in the case of an emergency. A more neo-mechanical UI for the ship's drivers lets them keep their head up so they can respond to the officers quickly and precisely.

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