Other Sense Organs

Human beings have a number of other sense organs, such as the senses of taste, touch, and smell. These, however, are not of any great use as information channels in the control room. Their importance may be for warning—for example, of dangerous gases—but one should never rely on the sense of smell for this. Of the other sense organs, those found in the muscles are the most complex. These, too, are not of any great use as information channels in control room work. However, due to the direct feedback they give, they can be of some importance, for example, in keyboard work or the use of foot pedals in vehicle driving. A driver pressing the accelerator pedal obtains feedback information not only from the gain in speed but also from the recep­tors in the leg and foot that indicate by how much the pedal has been depressed.

An experienced car driver knows (perceives unconsciously) immediately the meaning of a certain movement on the accelerator. The driver thus gets informa­tion directly from the receptors in the foot and leg that indicate the speed of the car a moment later. This means that the driver does not need to wait to see what the speed of the car will actually be. In the same way, the skilled manual craftsman gets information directly from the various limbs without needing to wait to see the consequences of the skilled movements.