Dr. Johnson's 40+ years of studying the physiology and ergonomic effects of respirators has culminated in a body of research demonstrating, from a quantitative engineering standpoint, how they not only effect breathing, but also heat exchange, vision, communication, other equipment, and the physical and mental attributes of the wearer. Having the technology and resources to explore these important areas of human performance can make a difference in how proficient and safe a worker is on the job. It also allows us to understand how workers using respiratory equipment may be able to expedite their tasks in a competent and efficient manner, and provide cost/benefit analysis of using respirators vs. other techniques to ensure air safety in the workplace.
The lab has collaborated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Fairview Hospital at the University of Minnesota, Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., industry, and private medical practitioners specializing in respiratory health.
One of the HPL's most important projects has been the development of the airflow perturbation device (APD), which noninvasively measures respiratory resistance, making it particularly effective for use with children. One of the lab's goals is to see the APD FDA approved and manufactured.
Thorough testing and data collection are important for new medical and health care technology. Laboratory personnel and equipment are able to assist in this process, lending expertise from both physiological and biological engineering perspectives.