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Karlin, John Elias

Karlin, John Elias, American industrial psychologist and human-factors engineering pioneer, b. Johannesburg, South Africa, grad. Univ. of Cape Town (B.A., M.A.), Univ. of Chicago (Ph.D., 1942). With a background in both psychology and electrical engineering, he was hired by Bell Labs in 1945 and worked there for more than three decades, becoming head of its human-factors engineering dept. in 1951. An advocate for technological design that incorporated an understanding of human psychological capacity, he developed the field of human-factors engineering and oversaw research that led to the all-digit telphone number and to the touch-tone telephone, whose keypad design subsequently has been used in a wide range of products.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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