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Soldier-Machine Interface for the Army Future Combat System: Literature Review, Requirements, and Emerging Design Principles

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Final rept. Oct 2003-Mar 2003

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The Future Combat Systems FCS effort employs leap-ahead technologies and concepts to provide unprecedented levels of situational understanding and synchronization of effects. The same high level of technical sophistication used to develop Future Combat System FCS hardware and software should apply to the development of the soldier-machine interface SMI. Guidance is needed to ensure that FCS SMI design is a soldier-centered process that accommodates a system-of-systems approach to warfighting includes all soldiers, mounted and dismounted and is effective across the full spectrum of warfare. To address this need, the authors first reviewed relevant literature in three domains contemporary philosophies of design specific published guidance from military, academic, and industrial sources and current interface practices for command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance C4ISR functions. Based on these reviews, an integrative model was devised to describe the interaction among four sets of variables operational variables, battlespace, sensory modalities, and echelon. The model indicates that as battlespace complexity increases, so does the bandwidth requirement for human information processing. Despite the tentative nature of the model, it can be used for devising FCS design guidelines. For instance, the model suggests that the auditory modality might provide the common link across echelons. The model also suggests that visual displays might be appropriate to all echelons during planning, when all warfighters have increased time available to process data, but that they would not be appropriate for lower-echelon warfighters during execution phases. The report describes 10 C4ISR interface conceptsproducts that are either directly or indirectly related to the FCS. 7 tables, 23 figures, 250 refs.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Cybernetics
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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