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Tactile Torso Display as Countermeasure to Reduce Night Vision Goggles Induced Drift

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The degraded visual information when hovering with Night Vision Goggles may induce drift that is not noticed by the pilot. We tested the possibilities of counteracting these effects by using a tactile torso display. The display consisted of 64 vibro-tactile elements and presented information on the desired direction of notion only simple version, or also included information on the current motion direction complex version. The participants flew in a fixed-base helicopter simulator with either full vision or with simulated night vision goggles. The results showed performance improvement for both tactile display variants compared to hovering without a tactile display. This improvement was present in the NVG conditions mean reduction of the position error of 22 in the horizontal direction and of 41 in the vertical direction, but also in the full vision condition mean reductions of 32 and 63, respectively. Also, performance with a tactile display is less affected by the introduction of a secondary cognitive task than performance without a tactile display. The complex variant of the tactile torso display tends to be less effective than the simple variant. We hypothesize that this effect may be due to what we call tactile clutter. This simulator study proves the potential of intuitive tactile torso displays in reducing drift during hover. The display is so effective that it even results in performance improvement in full vision conditions. Also, the results prove that tactile displays can be applied in fast man-in-the-loop tasks. Finally, advanced tactile displays that are able to present more complex stimuli open up new possibilities of information presentation, but may also introduce tactile clutter.

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  • Psychology
  • Stress Physiology

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