Master Controller: “the Italian job”

Master Controller: “the Italian job”

Master Controller: “the Italian job” 1472 981 Spii

Control levers: the brake of a bike, a boat accelerator, the control of the afterburner of a jet, the traction lever of a train, what do they all have in common?

And here I can already imagine the audience dividing in two: the supporters of “they are the same thing, only the shape changes” and the supporters of “they are two completely different things”.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in between, and this statement, even if it may seem simply wise and not very “engineering”, is the result of what we have been discovering day by day, for years now.

The curiosity, passion and courage that makes us the center of competence of the Schaltbau group’s Human Machine Interfaces has pushed us to go further, to reach the “meta position” and begin to investigate the driving methods, whatever the type of machine is.

Figure 1 – SPII designer during the experience on an Airbus driving simulator

For sure, in all the cases mentioned above we are talking about one, if not the only, main control (well yes … the “Master Controller“), but although the problem of providing a critical human machine interface can be divided into ergonomic studies, shapes and efforts, the variable that upsets all plans is the extreme adaptability of man to conditions that are not exactly ergonomic and to unnatural movements.

The steering wheel, for example, is the most used driving interface, but are we sure it’s the best?

The traditional way of driving a car actually arose from outdated technological constraints, and then traditionally became normal for all of us, although it is not natural.

It is precisely because of these cognitive biases that to design railway master controllers we have decided to broaden our horizons by investigating the most varied driving solutions.


Therefore, we warn you when, faced with a driving / control problem, you ask us for a completely disruptive solution, because we put the person at the center and the only purpose is to find the best way to interact with the machine, whatever the boundary conditions are.

See you next time,
Giovanni Salati