On July 27, three faculty members from Khon Kaen University (KKU) in Khon Kaen, Thailand visited the ISE Department to deliver research seminars and tour the department’s laboratories. Dr. Maninda Swangnetr (2010 ISE alum) of the KKU Industrial Engineering and Production Technology Departments led the group from Thailand in the visit. Drs. Wichai Eungpinichpong and Rungthip Puntumetakul of the KKU Physical Therapy (PT) Department gave talks on PT and ergonomics-related research. The presentations were well received by ISE faculty and students in the Ergonomics Area.
ISE graduate students, including Janet Ma, Brendan Corbett, Yuequng Li and Derek Shields provided the Thai faculty with demonstrations of on-going research projects in the Ergonomics Lab, including use of the NC State Driving Simulator, advanced haptic control interfaces and electroencephalograph (EEG) systems. The KKU faculty expressed great interest in the research and suggested bi-directional student exchange with NC State to broaden the students’ research experiences.
Along with the visit to campus, Drs. Swangnetr and Puntumetakul traveled with Dr. David Kaber to the NSF in Washington, D.C. to make a joint presentation to the director of the General and Age-Related Disabilities Engineering (GARDE) research program. The KKU and NC State faculty proposed study of assistive technology (AT) design for occupational disease prevention and non-occupational disabilities. The two universities will make parallel proposal submissions on this topic to the NSF and Thailand Research Fund (TRF) in September and October of this year. The planned project seeks to gain insight into the nature of congenital and disease-related disabilities and how effective AT design for Thai rice farmers may be use use to non-occupational populations in daily living tasks. The joint research proposal is complemented by joint KKU and NC State faculty involvement in PhD student committees, an agreement for bi-directional student exchange through the TRF “Royal Golden Jubilee” program and NSF grant funding, and a planned joint masters degree program in ergonomics between NC State and KKU.