NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X11.01-8978
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Behavioral Assessment Tools
PROPOSAL TITLE: Automated Behavior and Cohesion Assessment Tools

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Cybernet Systems Corporation
727 Airport Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 - 1639
(734) 668-2567

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marcus J Huber
727 Airport Blvd
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 - 1639
(734) 668-2567

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
An important consideration of long duration space flight operations is interpersonal dynamics. The crew will be working very closely for extended periods of time and the distance between the spacecraft and earth-bound flight surgeons will prevent real-time communication. Breakdown of morale or the psychology of crew may result in increased stress, conflict, erratic behaviors, reduced cohesion, and perhaps even rebellion. Flight surgeons have stated the need for unobtrusive monitoring to help detect if crews are having difficulties with coping with long duration spaceflight environments.
NASA has tens of thousands of procedures for the space shuttle and ISS, and the new Constellation vehicles will also have thousands of procedures. These procedures, and the training in performing them, represent the models and data necessary to build a behavioral assessment tool. Currently procedures are authored in Word. Under this paradigm, developing behavioral models of crew procedure performance would require re-coding all procedures by hand. However, the Constellation program is planning to use an XML representation of procedures, which facilitates automatic translation. Nominal performance metrics can determined during training and then compared during the actual missions. Deviations between the nominal and current performance can be flagged for additional attention. Since crew members can perform upwards of hundreds of procedures a week, there will be substantial data with which to assess crew behavioral performance
The long-term goal of this project is to develop a set of applied technologies that can monitor crew health and cohesiveness in an unobtrusive manner and identify potential abnormalities for feedback to astronauts and flight surgeons for further investigation. The goal of the Phase I will be to develop a set of recommendations regarding technologies and techniques to accomplish the objectives and a conceptual design of a system that implement the recommendations

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This technology could be applied to all current and future NASA missions. While it is being developed for application to long duration space flight operations, the techniques are amenable to application in shorter duration flight operations as well, such as related to the International Space Station and Space Shuttle, are obvious application areas. This is particularly true with respect to behavioral and psychological health (whereas crew cohesiveness is anticipated to be less of an issue as duration decreases). This technology could also be applied to NASA's Aerospace activities. For example, it could be used to measure stress on air traffic controllers. Adaption to commercial airlines, in which the standardized procedures and repetitive nature of their execution within the close confines of an aircraft facilitates the modeling and establishment of norms for the behavior for individual crew.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The military has teams of individuals working in high stress environments over long durations. Examples include submarine crews, aircraft carriers, embedded special operations forces and pilots flying unmanned air vehicles for hours on end. We expect this same technology to transfer to military applications. A variety of commercial activities also have similar characteristics to NASA missions. As mentioned, air traffic controllers work in high-stress environment where small mistakes can be costly. Likewise, teams of operators control nuclear power plants, petrochemical plants, oil refineries, etc. They often perform standard operating procedures and need to be monitored closely for degraded performance. Even in situations in which lives or property are not at risk, monitoring and detecting problems with individual and team performance is useful for managers interested in achieving peak performance.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Computer System Architectures
Expert Systems
On-Board Computing and Data Management

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56