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Proceedings Paper

The Cognitive Pilot Helmet: enabling pilot-aware smart avionics
Author(s): Thomas Schnell; James E. Melzer; Steve J. Robbins
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Paper Abstract

We hypothesize that human-aware helmet display systems can drastically improve situation awareness (SA), reduce workload, and become the cognitive gateway to two-way human-systems information. We designed a ruggedized prototype helmet liner that was fitted with active electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes and pulse oxymetry sensor. This liner was integrated into a helmet that was fitted with a binocular SR-100A helmet mounted display. We modified the SR-100A to include dual-eye tracking capability. The resulting system is able to pick up physiological signals from the wearer in real-time for cognitive state characterization by the Cognitive Avionics Tool Set (CATS). We conducted a preliminary test of the cognitive state estimation system in a simulated close-air-support task in the laboratory and found that workload throughout the mission could be gauged using physiological parameters. Cognitively-linked helmet systems can increase situation awareness by metering the amount of information based on available cognitive bandwidth and eventually, we feel that they will be able to provide anticipatory information to the user by means of cognitive intent recognition. Considerable design challenges lie ahead to create robust models of cognitive state characterization and intent recognition. However, the rewards of such efforts could be systems that allow a dramatic increase in human decision making ability and productivity in dynamical complex situations such as air combat or surface warfare.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2009
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7326, Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XIV: Design and Applications, 73260A (1 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820300
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas Schnell, Univ. of Iowa (United States)
James E. Melzer, Rockwell Collins Optronics (United States)
Steve J. Robbins, Rockwell Collins Display Systems (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7326:
Head- and Helmet-Mounted Displays XIV: Design and Applications
Peter L. Marasco; Paul R. Havig; Sion A. Jennings; Thomas H. Harding, Editor(s)

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