SAN LUIS OBISPO — Trevor Lowe, a 2012 La Costa Canyon High School graduate from Encinitas, won a statewide award for research on a medical packaging solution at the 31st annual California State University Student Research Competition. The event brought nearly 250 students from 22 universities across the state to Cal Poly on April 29.
Lowe, 22, who graduated from Cal Poly in December with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a concentration in consumer packaging and minors in packaging and industrial technology, earned a second-place award in the Undergraduate and Graduate Interdisciplinary category for his project, “Using Eye-Tracking and Task Analyses to Understand Human-Package Interactions.”
“We are now working to apply this research to be used as a methodology for using eye-tracking technology to better understand human-product interactions as our work is novel in the industry,” faculty advisor Javier de la Fuente, Industrial Technology and Packaging, said.
His project was the result of a senior project where he and a team of students “investigated three different affordances — design features used to aid in understanding and using the functional elements of a product or package — intended to improve opening efficiency and effectiveness for medical device packaging used in emergency rooms.”
To do so, his team used an eye-tracking device to collect data on where and how test subjects directed their attention during the package opening trials.
“We successfully identified types of affordances that were most successful in reducing errors and reducing opening time,” said Lowe. “We hope that our research can be applied to a variety of similar packages to reduce errors made by emergency personnel. Our methodology will also hopefully be applied as a roadmap in the packaging and product design industries to further efforts to improve usability.”
Lowe, who was a competitive swimmer in high school and surfer, continues to live by the ocean.
“I just started a job as an associate engineer for Amgen, working in packaging and labeling, in Thousand Oaks,” he said. “I’m living down the hill in Ventura right now, which is like a northern version of Encinitas.”