Principal Investigator: Vivekanand Vimal, Ph.D.
Research: Predicting individual differences in learning to manually stabilize attitude in a space flight analog environment.
Mentor: Paul DiZio, Ph.D.
Institution: Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.
Start Date: Dec. 1, 2017
End Date: Nov. 30, 2019
Study Type: Ground study
NASA Risk Addressed: Sensorimotor Alterations (SM)
Project: On the journey to the Moon or to Mars, astronauts will experience multiple gravitational transitions that will make them susceptible to spatial disorientation that can jeopardize the mission. In the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Lab we strap blindfolded humans into a device that is programmed to behave like an inverted pendulum. The participants are instructed to dynamically stabilize themselves using a joystick. In our spaceflight analog condition, the participants are unable to use gravitational cues to determine their location and they become very spatially disoriented. In the first specific aim, we are developing a battery of tests and techniques, including machine learning, to predict the huge individual differences in participants that we find in the spaceflight analog task. In the second specific aim, we are developing an effective training program that will enhance performance in the spaceflight analog condition for all participants.
See Dr. Vimal discuss his research.