Non-invasive Physiological Biomarkers of Cognitive Fatigue in a Virtual Reality Simulated, Rotary-Wing Flight Environment
[Technical Report, Final Report]
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER ALMASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH LEXINGTON
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Timely and accurate monitoring of aviator cognitive workload offers a means to identify and mitigate aviation mishaps. This study examined a proof-of-concept for a non-invasive, multi-modal platform to quantify the relationship between physiological indicators of pilot fatigue and operational performance in simulated flight tasks. Seven participants two females varying from no piloting experience to a commercially rated pilots, completed a 90-min repetitive flight traffic pattern. The psychomotor vigilance task PVT, flight performance data, and thirteen physiological sensing modalities monitored fatigue and performance. Post-flight PVT reaction times were longer as compared to pre-flight baselines. Further, vocal biomarkers analyses support the existence of a coupling between fine motor aspects of speech production and flight performance in more experienced aviators. These preliminary results show the potential for speech to be used to predict real-time flight performance. In future work, addition sensing modalities e.g., eye tracking, electrocardiogram, electrodermal activity, and torso accelerometry are to be included into the analysis.
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