Human Factors researchers improve performance with robotic systems on the ISS

October 11, 2007

SANTA MONICA, CA - Researchers from NASA and Lockheed Martin have successfully tested software for a robotic extension device that has been shown to dramatically improve astronauts' ability to perform remote tasks under adverse conditions on the International Space Station (ISS).

James C. Maida, Charles K. Bowen, and John Pace developed the method for use with the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which works in conjunction with the current Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). They presented their findings at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 51st Annual Meeting on October 3 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Robotic devices on the ISS make it possible for astronauts to perform tasks without leaving the vehicle. Manipulating these devices is challenging, particularly in bright sunlight and deep darkness. Maida and colleagues employed augmented reality techniques to create a graphical informational overlay that can be used in simulations of robotic installation tasks to improve operator performance.

The installation task requires intense concentration by the astronaut to align an external orbital replacement unit (ORU) within ¼ inch and ½ degree at its installation point. The task is accomplished by viewing the scene of the installation through a camera and manipulating robotic arms. The researchers used enhanced live video with dynamic overlay information superimposed on features in the operators' field of view to guide them regarding the direction of motion of the robotic arm, the type of motion, and the correct position for installation.

Twelve highly skilled robotics operators were tested on four installation tasks under conditions of dynamic sunlight and very dark nights with and without the overlay. In all cases, accuracy and efficiency improved significantly when using the new overlay system, and all 12 operators found the overlay information extremely helpful in performing the ORU alignment operation. Time to complete the task was also reduced.

The researchers conclude that because the graphics are relatively simple and the computational requirements are low, the overlay system could be implemented on existing flight hardware used on the space shuttle and the ISS.
-end-
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in September 2007, is a multidisciplinary professional association of more than 4,700 persons in the United States and throughout the world. Its members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. HFES is the largest human factors/ergonomics organization affiliated with the International Ergonomics Association.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Related International Space Station Articles from Brightsurf:

Amyloid formation in the International Space Station
The collaborative research team of Japan using the International Space Station (ISS) successfully characterized Alzheimer's disease-related amyloid fibril formation under microgravity conditions.

Bacteria on the International Space Station no more dangerous than earthbound strains
Two particularly tenacious species of bacteria have colonized the potable water dispenser aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but a new study suggests that they are no more dangerous than closely related strains on Earth.

NASA researchers catalogue all microbes and fungi on the International Space Station
A comprehensive catalogue of the bacteria and fungi found on surfaces inside the International Space Station (ISS) is being presented in a study published in the open-access journal Microbiome.

Superbugs have colonized the International Space Station -- but there's a silver lining
Researchers have taken another small step towards deep space exploration, by testing a new silver- and ruthenium-based antimicrobial coating aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Technology developed in Brazil will be part of the International Space Station
Presented during FAPESP Week London, instrument created in São Paulo will be improved in collaboration with Russia and will measure solar flares; launch is scheduled for 2022.

'Dust up' on International Space Station hints at sources of structure
In a lab on Earth, electrically charged dust generally lines up either along the downward pull of gravity or across it.

May the forest be with you: GEDI moves toward launch to space station
GEDI (pronounced like 'Jedi,' of Star Wars fame) is a first-of-its-kind laser instrument designed to map the world's forests in 3-D from space.

The bacterial community on the International Space Station resembles homes
Microbiologists at the University of California, Davis analyzed swabs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) and compared them with samples from homes on earth as well as the Human Microbiome Project.

NASA watching Harvey from satellites and the International Space Station
NASA has a lot of resources providing information on Tropical Storm Harvey as it continues to drop tremendous, flooding rainfall on Texas and Louisiana.

Experiment aboard space station studies 'space weather'
To study conditions in the ionosphere, Cornell University research engineer Steven Powell and others in the College of Engineering have developed the FOTON (Fast Orbital TEC for Orbit and Navigation) GPS receiver.

Read More: International Space Station News and International Space Station Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.