The objective of this investigation is to provide a method for validating a previously defined Task Design Framework, which describes the relationship between human capabilities and performance. The approach of this project is to have human subjects perform representative spaceflight-like task scenarios while being monitored by a suite of non-invasive biometric measures. The research aim is to determine whether these non-invasive biometric measures can be used as proxy indicators of performance changes. To identify any bridge between biometrics to human performance, several phases of this project are outlined (definition phase, data collection phase, analysis phase). The first phase is the definition phase, which started on April 15, 2019 and ends on January 14, 2020. During this phase, the research team focused on the initialization of the project including detailed coordination with the other HCAAM VNSCOR teams, and NASA’s Flight Analogs Program to ensure seamless integration for the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Campaign #6. Specific accomplishments by the research team include the first two major objectives outlined by the study proposal:
1) Evaluate Quantitative Framework for Measuring Crew Capabilities and Task Interaction. As part of this objective, a detailed review of the Task Design Framework was done to map the task types to the specific biometric outputs of interest. This mapping required two stages: 1) mapping specific task types to specific human capabilities needed to perform the task, and 2) mapping of the human capabilities to possible biometric outputs such as heart rate acceleration/deceleration, increased electrodermal activity, etc. Leveraging the Task Design Framework updates, the research team focused on identifying appropriate non-invasive wearable sensors and monitors that would be best used for the HERA operational setting. Several factors were taken into consideration when down selecting the sensor suite to ensure the sensors were suitable for 45-day mission including aspects of usability, subject comfort, onboard memory capacity, ease of use by the crew, etc.
2) Establish Protocols for Measuring Human Capabilities. The outcome of this objective was the submission and full approval of the IRB (Institutional Review Board) protocol required to run the human test subjects in NASA’s HERA Campaign #6. The research team approached this objective with a systematic process and accomplished the tasks in a somewhat chronological order:
a) Candidate Task Identification: Identified over 50 representative tasks done by astronauts and provided detailed characteristics and protocols for each task.
b) Sensor Operation: Developed a basic checklist on how to use the sensors and what other components are needed (i.e., laptop, charging device, stopwatch, paper, pencil, etc.) for data acquisition.
c) Calibrate (Verify) Sensor Data: Compared sensors to standard measure (accuracy) BioPac and normalized the output data and plots. This step ensured the data we measured could be seen across higher accuracy sensors such as the BioPac.
d) Validate Sensors: Compared data to expected task output (example: heart rate goes up during a high physical activity).
e) Task Down Selection: Chose tasks that will have the largest differences in biometric changes that can be observed in the data. Also identified tasks that are representative of astronaut activities and can be implemented in HERA.
f) IRB Protocol Submission and Approval: Protocol was written, edited, and submitted to the IRB panels at both the University of Colorado and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Both required a few modifications and edits and were fully approved.
Summary of Accomplishments
• Reviewed and Updated Task Design Framework
• Identified and Down selected Appropriate Sensor Suite
• Identified Candidate Tasks for Experiment Protocol
• Operated, Calibrated, and Validated Sensor Application
• Down selected Tasks for Experiment Protocol
• Submitted and Received Approval for IRB Protocol (Approved by NASA and University of Colorado Boulder IRB)
• Submitted Data Sharing Agreement with NASA LSDA (Life Sciences Data Archive)
• Coordinated with HERA Experiment Support Scientist (ESS) for delivery of Science Requirement Document (SRD) for HERA Campaign #6.