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PW 2658 Human machine interaction system for providing neural interface based model for alerting and mitigation of spatial disorientation for pilots
  1. Quintin L Williams,
  2. Prajwal Sreenivas,
  3. Rushit Thakker,
  4. Shantanu Gadgil,
  5. Manohar Mishra
  1. University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA


Spatial orientation defines our natural ability to maintain our body orientation and/or posture in relation to the surrounding environment (physical space) at rest and during motion. Humans are genetically designed to maintain spatial orientation on ground but it is difficult to achieve in flight. Because of this, normal flight may be impacted by vehicle movement and external forces (hazard or disturbance), causing poor situational awareness (distraction), spatial disorientation (SD), and mode confusion, resulting in abnormal attitudes, abnormal trajectory, and loss of aircraft control, for example, a stall. Sense of balance or equilibrioception is one of the physiological senses related to balance and for spatial orientation. Navigating by sensory input alone during flight can be misleading: sensory input does not always accurately reflect the movement of the aircraft, causing sensory illusions. These sensory illusions include: the leans, the graveyard spin and spiral, and the Coriolis illusion. Recent studies in the issue of SD in terms of its prevalence and contribution to accidents show that SD accounts for some six percent to 32% of major accidents, and some 15% to 69% of fatal accidents. To detect spatial disorientation, we use a non-invasive brainwave monitoring helmet to create a hybrid map of data points of EEG and deep brain/3D brain mapping which will be used as a trigger to detect a possible disorientation in the pilot. The input from the pilot will be analyzed with predictive algorithms to predict when the pilot may experience disorientation. We have utilized a similar approach to develop a pilot in loop system to detect, identify, and mitigate spatial disorientation in pilots. Additional sensors and microprocessors can be used to not only detect spatial disorientation but also to monitor pilot health and fitness, improve performance and operational readiness, and develop fail-safes.

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