Tactile Guidance for Land Navigation
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD HUMAN RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING DIRECTORATE
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This study compared a tactile land navigation system to two operational systems with visual information displays. Front end workload and task analyses identified land navigation as having high and conflicting workload. The tactile display was expected to ameliorate the high visual and cognitive workload per Multiple Resource Theory Wickens, 2002. Fifteen infantry Soldiers navigated three equivalent 1800-meter routes using each of three systems the personal tactile navigator PTN tactile system the U.S. Army precision lightweight GPS global positioning system receiver PLGR, which is a hand-held GPS with an alpha-numeric display and the traditional compass system. Note Each soldier traversed each lane with different navigation systems we counterbalanced the order in which they used the systems and the lanes that were walked with each system in order to control for any effects attributable to order such as fatigue or to the lane itself. The PLGR system was predicted to enhance performance relative to the compass system because of reduced cognitive demands. The PTN system was predicted to enhance performance relative to both PLGR and compass systems because of reduced cognitive demand from more intuitive display e.g., following direction of tactor and off load from visual attention demand. Soldiers performed more quickly and accurately when using the PLGR and tactile systems, relative to a compass. However, there was no significant difference between GPS and tactile systems. This is likely because of the low need for focal visual attention during navigation in this experiment there was not as much interference with the occasional use of a visual display. However, visual attention demand increases when there is an active search for enemy or reduced visual field e.g., fog, darkness.
- Land and Riverine Navigation and Guidance
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations