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Jill L. Drury, Sc.D.: New Technology Applications for Emergency Management



Our goal is to provide the right kinds of technology to enable emergency responders to make better decisions and respond more effectively. Further, our work aims to provide capabilities that are usable, aid cognition, reduce workload, and increase safety. This presentation provides a glimpse into four different studies involving observation and human-in-the-loop testing that resulted in a vision for new technologies (and existing technologies combined in new ways) for emergency response. In the first study, we observed emergency response operations during a hazardous materials exercise to learn users’ technology needs. Then we developed a technology approach that we investigated during study #2 using a low-fidelity prototype, augmented by new human-robot interaction designs to enable remote operations (study #3) and novel decision support tools to aid in determining robust courses of action (study #4).


Jill Drury holds a bachelors degree in Physics from Macalester College, a masters degree in Business Administration from Boston University Overseas Program, a masters degree in Computer Science from Boston University, and a Doctor of Science (Sc.D) in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Drury has been at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA and Brunssum, The Netherlands since 1980 and has taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell since 2002. She was a Visiting Scientist in the Humans and Automation Laboratory at MIT from 2006 – 2008. Currently Drury is a manager, systems engineer, and researcher in collaborative systems, human-centered engineering, decision support, and human-robot interaction. In particular, her research interests are in designing and evaluating human interaction to support cross-organizational collaboration and decision making for safety-critical applications. She has published over 80 journal papers, conference papers, book chapters, and magazine articles, and was a Massachusetts High Tech “Women to Watch” awardee in 2010. More complete biographical information, including lists of publications, professional activities, invited presentations, and courses taught, can be found on Drury’s external website,