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Project Title:  Interactive Space Vehicle Design Tool with Virtual Reality Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2020 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/09/2017  
End Date: 11/09/2019  
Task Last Updated: 02/07/2020 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Anderson, Allison  Ph.D. / University of Colorado 
Address:  Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences 
429 UCB 
Boulder , CO 80309-5004 
Email: allison.p.anderson@colorado.edu 
Phone: 417-388-0621  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Colorado 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: PI moved to University of Colorado from Dartmouth College in early 2017. 
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Klaus, David  Ph.D. University of Colorado - Boulder 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: February 2020 report: There are no Key Personnel changes.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC18K1734 ; 80NSSC18K0198 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.will1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2016-2017 HERO NNJ16ZSA001N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP, OMNIBUS). Appendix A-Omnibus, Appendix B-Flagship 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC18K1734 ; 80NSSC18K0198 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Hab:Risk of an Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) HAB-05:We need to identify technologies, tools, and methods for data collection, modeling, and analysis that are appropriate for design and assessment of vehicles/habitats (e.g., net habitable volume, layout, and usage) for predetermined mission attributes, and for refinement and validation of level of acceptable risk. (Previous title: SHFE-HAB-09) (IRP Rev H)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 11/9/2019; grant number changed sometime in late 2018 per NSSC information (Ed., 1/31/19)

Task Description: Objective: To evaluate the spectrum of visualization tools (i.e., virtual reality, hybrid reality, augmented reality, physical reality) in their ability to facilitate rapid mock-up and flexible design of microgravity vehicles and habitats.

Research Product Description: To enable efficient and rapid mock-up of vehicle concepts, the spectrum of visualization tools can be used earlier in the design process to achieve improved system design. We define, characterize, and establish metrics by which these tools can be used, with focus applications in early-stage spacecraft habitat design. From the results of this initial definition phase, an experimental evaluation of the proposed methodologies was performed.

Specific Aim 1: We characterize and define the four categories of design tools noted above (physical, augmented, hybrid, and virtual) and establish a set of high-level guidelines from the literature for how each approach is typically used. This was documented as a table of advantages, disadvantages, and comments. This characterization included specific definitions of these categories, metrics by which to evaluate them, and system requirements. We also projected into future technology development on the horizon from interaction with experts in academia, government, and industry, such that this benchmark assessment is not limited to current state-of-the-art.

Specific Aim 2: We experimentally investigated alternative reality for spacecraft habitat design assessment. We performed two experiments: one on fundamental perception in virtual, hybrid, augmented, and physical reality. We also asked subjects to perform a spacecraft habitat design evaluation in each of those environments (each person only experienced one environment) that involved a translation in the space, stowage of a large object, and manipulation of a fine control. We identified differences in how people evaluate spacecraft in these environments.

NASA Relevance: This proposal addresses the Risk of Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design. Specifically, it addresses the Gap HAB – 05 to identify technologies and create a tool to enable the design and assessment of space vehicles. Our findings inform how habitat designers understand all the tools available to them in their toolbox of evaluation capabilities.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Alternative reality technologies have been used successfully in other engineering and design fields and are rapidly advancing commercially. In the automotive industry, many companies continue to adopt new paradigms for design visualization and assessment. Virtual reality for product design and assembly has been widely studied, with virtual versions of physical hardware demonstrating high utility. It has been used successfully in psychological training, military applications, and entertainment. In building design and construction, architects have adopted Building Information Management and virtual visualizations of designed spaces as a means by which to capture all elements of the design evaluation. This research is the first to performs a side-by-side assessment of technology implementations across the full spectrum of alternative reality technologies. We evaluate the benefits and potential pitfalls of virtual, hybrid, augmented, and physical reality.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2020 
Task Progress: Habitable spacecraft designs are critical to achieve mission success in human spaceflight. As NASA’s priorities shift toward longer duration flights in deep space microgravity or on the surface of the Moon or Mars, the impact of insufficient spacecraft habitat design is exacerbated. Longer duration missions farther from the Earth reduce the total amount of volume available, thus leading to smaller crew sizes and increasing the level of isolation and confinement. In recent years, alternative reality technologies (e.g., virtual reality, augmented reality) have experienced rapid development and adoption as design tools in other industries. For spacecraft design and evaluation, though, many of these tools have yet to be adopted. This may be due to the long design cycles associated with building spacecraft and the unknown risks to improper designs associated with performing evaluations using these tools. The objective of this work is to evaluate the spectrum of alternative reality tools and their ability to facilitate the evaluation of spacecraft habitat designs.

The specific aims of this study are:

Specific Aim 1: We characterized and defined the four categories of design tools (physical, augmented, hybrid and virtual realities) and established a set of high-level guidelines from the literature for how each approach is typically used. This was documented as a table of advantages, disadvantages, and comments. This characterization included specific definitions of these categories, metrics by which to evaluate them, and system requirements. We also project into future technology development on the horizon from interaction with experts in academia, government, and industry, such that this benchmark assessment is not limited to current state-of-the-art.

Specific Aim 2: We conducted experimental evaluations to investigate volumetric perception and task performance in volumetric assessment of a spacecraft habitat environment. These tasks were determined in conjunction with NASA personnel to be the highest utility to achieve NASA objectives. The experiments investigated the advantages and limitations of each aforementioned environment for the application of spacecraft habitat design evaluation.

Aim 1 was delivered to NASA as a technical report, and is currently under revision as a journal publication in Virtual Reality. The findings from Aim 2 have been written into one journal publication on the environment development, which is under review in Virtual Reality, and a second publication on the experimental findings is currently in preparation.

We present a framework for using alternative reality technologies in spacecraft habitat design. From a literature review of existing taxonomies, we identified the characteristics of alternative reality technologies and their most relevant Spectrums for use in spacecraft habitat design and evaluation. The spectrums identified are: 1. Superposition – the extent to which knowledge of the environment is virtualized; 2. Causality – the degree of interaction the user experiences with the environment; 3. Presence – the extent to which the user feels he or she is occupying the environment; 4. Augmentation – the method by which information about the user and environment is captured and transmitted; and 5. Fidelity – the degree of accuracy with which the environment captures a true desired representation. Within each Spectrum, there are anchor points that define the degree to which the environment is altered by changing its features.

From our framework, four specific XR Classifications were identified as a defined set of terms that could be used in common vernacular. The identified classifications lie along Milgram and Kishino’s Continuum of Virtuality and are defined as: 1. Physical Reality (PR), 2. Augmented Reality (AR), 3. Hybrid Reality (HR), and 4. Virtual Reality (VR). PR is defined as an environment with objective existence, perceived in a traditional manner. It may contain digital content, but only if that content is reflective of true implementation. AR has an increased amount of virtualized and simulated content in an otherwise real environment. That content is integrated into the environment but does not dominate it. HR is a nearly virtual environment, but it incorporates elements with objective physical existence. Finally, VR is a fully virtualized environment simulating relevant aspects across sensing modalities.

Alternative realities are achieved by influencing human sensing Modalities. Three Modalities were investigated: Visual, Auditory, and Tactile. In this context, we include an individual’s perception of motion, orientation, and proprioception within the Tactile modality. Within each sensing Modality, sub-dimensions were identified comprising the technical elements by which the Modality is altered within XR environments. Some sub-dimensions lie along a continuum, while others are discrete technology choices the user may make. The technical requirements of a sub-dimension can be linked to the Spectrums outlined above. In this way, the framework provides a mapping between different sensing Modalities and the environmental aspects influenced by a given technology choice. The objective of this framework is to allow users to transition between Spectrums and Modalities more easily and to identify areas in which to focus development based on their specific needs.

From the detailed framework, high-level guidelines were provided to assist stakeholders within spacecraft habitat design (SHD) in choosing an XR category to suit their evaluation objectives. The stakeholders identified were evaluators in Program Management, Human Systems Integration, Operations and Training, Engineering, and Manufacturing and Assembly. Information for the stakeholder groups on their evaluation needs was acquired by reviewing the evaluation criteria against which stakeholders perform SHD evaluations, from documentation provided by NASA personnel, and interviews with subject matter experts. These data were then aggregated into a series of tables incorporating the anticipated advantages, disadvantages, and applicable phases in the design process. A list of tools that can be used by evaluators within an XR classification was also compiled. These guidelines and tool lists should continue to be expanded and adapted as hardware and technology development continues, in order to ensure it remains contemporary. This research provides a functional set of practices that can be used to help SHD evaluators achieve their mission to reduce the risk of incompatible spacecraft habitat design.

We defined a framework that links theoretical Spectrums to technical requirements within a sensing Modality and define four XR Classification groups. We converted the detailed framework developed into a functional set of guidelines and potential practice cases for stakeholders in spacecraft habitat and design, with a focus on design evaluation.

From these findings, we experimentally investigated the ability of subjects to perceive volume in spacecraft habitats across the XR spectrum. One of the most important aspects of SHD evaluation is to understand the spacecraft’s volume, layout, and its impact on the crew. It was noted across the literature, interviews, and NASA documents that virtual representations of interiors, while instructive, are not realistic enough to provide a true evaluation of volume considerations. This mismatch may be due to the 2D projection of a 3D space, the capacity of the human eye and brain to integrate information, or the lack of personal sense within a virtual volume when not visualized. To investigate this, we experimentally evaluated what scaling difference across volume representations were present in VR, HR, and AR as compared to PR.

Further, we performed a side-by-side comparison of the four XR environments for volumetric evaluation purposes. Across the literature, comparisons of PR and VR are widely documented, particularly at early stages of design. The comparison of PR and VR with AR and HR, though, are less well documented. This was also reflected in the reduced familiarity our subject matter experts had with these technologies and how they could best be implemented in their SHD evaluations. We performed direct performance comparisons across all four XR Classifications, in a manner similar to that has been done previously.

Equal-fidelity mockups were made in each XR environment, depicting a single, common interior vehicle layout. We detailed the steps taken to construct all four environments and highlighted the various advantages and limitations of each alternative reality approach. Moreover, a novel hybrid reality setup that includes intuitive interactions, realistic haptics, and a fully virtual audiovisual scene was implemented. Our experimental results indicate that VR is the most likely to produce results consistent with a real physical mock-up. Each of our metrics was internally consistent and many results were consistent even across experiments. There remain challenges merging physical and virtualized content, perhaps contributing to the poorer overall performance of HR and AR. These environments show promise, though, particularly as the state-of-the-art in XR technology advances.

This research contributes to the understanding of alternative reality technologies and their application in all stages of spacecraft habitat design and evaluation. This research will assist in evaluating requirements and can be used to improve habitability, ergonomics and space allocation, and to meet engineering constraints. This work addresses Gap HAB – 05: We need to identify technologies, tools, and methods for data collection, modeling, and analysis that are appropriate for design and assessment of vehicles/habitats… for predetermined mission attributes, and for refinement and validation of level of acceptable risk. This research identifies how emerging and existing alternative reality technologies can be incorporated by SHD stakeholders across various phases of design evaluation to reduce the risk of incompatible spacecraft habitat environments.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/13/2022) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Banerjee NT, Baughman A, Lin S, Witte Z, Klaus DM, Anderson AP. "Development of alternative reality environments for spacecraft habitat design evaluation." Virtual Reality. 2021 Jun;25:399-408. Published online August 3, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-020-00462-6 , Jun-2021
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Anderson A, Boppana A, Wall R, Acemyan CZ, Adolf J, Klaus D. "Framework for developing alternative reality environments to engineer large, complex systems." Virtual Reality. 2021 Mar;25:147–63. Available online May 23, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-020-00448-4 , Mar-2021
NASA Technical Documents Anderson A, Wall R, Boppana A, Acemyan C, Adolf J, Klaus D. "Interactive Space Vehicle Design Tool with Virtual Reality: Phase 1 Report - Framework for Spacecraft Habitat Design Evaluation using Alternative Reality Technologies." Houston, Tex.: NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, 2018. , May-2018
Project Title:  Interactive Space Vehicle Design Tool with Virtual Reality Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2019 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/09/2017  
End Date: 11/09/2019  
Task Last Updated: 02/18/2019 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Anderson, Allison  Ph.D. / University of Colorado 
Address:  Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences 
429 UCB 
Boulder , CO 80309-5004 
Email: allison.p.anderson@colorado.edu 
Phone: 417-388-0621  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Colorado 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: PI moved to University of Colorado from Dartmouth College in early 2017. 
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Klaus, David  Ph.D. University of Colorado - Boulder 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: February 2019 report: There are no Key Personnel changes.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC18K1734 ; 80NSSC18K0198 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.will1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2016-2017 HERO NNJ16ZSA001N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP, OMNIBUS). Appendix A-Omnibus, Appendix B-Flagship 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC18K1734 ; 80NSSC18K0198 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Hab:Risk of an Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) HAB-05:We need to identify technologies, tools, and methods for data collection, modeling, and analysis that are appropriate for design and assessment of vehicles/habitats (e.g., net habitable volume, layout, and usage) for predetermined mission attributes, and for refinement and validation of level of acceptable risk. (Previous title: SHFE-HAB-09) (IRP Rev H)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 11/9/2019; grant number changed sometime in late 2018 per NSSC information (Ed., 1/31/19)

Task Description: Objective: To evaluate the spectrum of visualization tools (i.e., virtual reality, hybrid reality, augmented reality, physical reality) in their ability to facilitate rapid mock-up and flexible design of microgravity vehicles and habitats.

Research Product Description: To enable efficient and rapid mock-up of vehicle concepts, the spectrum of visualization tools can be used earlier in the design process to achieve improved system design. We will define, characterize, and establish metrics by which these tools can be used, with focus applications in early-stage spacecraft habitat design. From the results of this initial definition phase, an experimental evaluation of the proposed methodologies will be performed.

Specific Aim 1: We will characterize and define the four categories of design tools noted above (physical, augmented, hybrid, and virtual) and establish a set of high-level guidelines from the literature for how each approach is typically used, to be documented as a table of advantages, disadvantages, and comments. This characterization will include specific definitions of these categories, metrics by which to evaluated them, and system requirements. To the extent possible, we will also project into future technology development on the horizon from interaction with experts in academia, government, and industry, such that this benchmark assessment is not limited to current state-of-the-art.

Specific Aim 2: Working in conjunction with NASA personnel, we will down-select a subset of tasks described in Aim 1 from which to conduct evaluations, with the intent to experimentally investigate our findings. This subset may be to evaluate specific design tools or paradigms in which the design tools are used, to be determined from the highest utility to achieve NASA objectives. This experimental work will leverage software, hardware, and previously developed NASA tools as well as the facilities within the University of Colorado (CU)-Boulder Bioastronautics Laboratory, as outlined in the original proposal.

NASA Relevance: This proposal addresses the Risk of Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design. Specifically, it addresses the Gap HAB – 05 to identify technologies and create a tool to enable the design and assessment of space vehicles.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Alternative reality technologies have been used successfully in other engineering and design fields and are rapidly advancing commercially. In the automotive industry, many companies continue to adopt new paradigms for design visualization and assessment. Virtual reality for product design and assembly has been widely studied, with virtual versions of physical hardware demonstrating high utility. It has been used successfully in psychological training, military applications, and entertainment. In building design and construction, architects have adopted Building Information Management and virtual visualizations of designed spaces as a means by which to capture all elements of the design evaluation. This research is the first to performs a side-by-side assessment of technology implementations across the full spectrum of alternative reality technologies. We evaluate the benefits and potential pitfalls of virtual, hybrid, augmented, and physical reality.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2019 
Task Progress: This study evaluates the spectrum of virtual reality (VR), hybrid reality (HR), augmented reality (AR), and traditional physical reality (PR) mockups in spacecraft habitat design evaluations. In our first year, we accomplished all of our primary research goals, as this was a study funded for a single year. Data analysis is ongoing, but is nearing completion.

We developed a framework by which spacecraft habitat designers and evaluators can identify alternative reality technologies best suited for their specific applications. This was enabled by merging two constructs: a theoretical taxonomy of the elements needed to create alternative realities, and the technical requirements needed to achieve alternative realities through human sensing modalities. One advantage to this methodology is that it identifies technical requirements from a sensory perspective, thus allowing it to remain relevant as computational and display hardware continues to advance. The evaluation was directed toward the specific application of spacecraft vehicle and habitat design from the perspective of evaluators in Program Management, Human Systems Integration, Operations and Training, Engineering, and Manufacturing and Assembly. We identified existing tools used within these stakeholder groups and established a set of high-level guidelines for how each approach could be used. The results were summarized in a series of tables to document the advantages, disadvantages, tools, and applicable phases within the design process.

The research also identified current state-of-the-art uses in other disciplines and, to the extent possible, projects expected future technology development. The framework contributes to our understanding of alternative reality technologies and their applicability to all stages of spacecraft habitat design and evaluation. This research will assist in evaluating requirements and can be used to improve habitability, ergonomics, and space allocation, and to meet engineering constraints.

We also performed an experimental evaluation across the four defined extended reality (XR) environments. Each environment models a low-fidelity cis-lunar habitat in the CU Bioastronautics Laboratory. The habitat includes a galley, sleeping quarters, stations for scientific experiments, communication, controls, and extravehicular activity. The Physical Reality (PR) environment is a physical habitat mockup. The Augmented Reality (AR) environment was projected onto the physical mockup to replicate switch and display interface functionality, presented on the Microsoft Hololens. The Hybrid Reality (HR) and Virtual Reality (VR) environments visually present the habitat in the HTC Vive Pro head mounted display. For the HR environment, the physical mockup was outfitted with sensors such that the visual field represented direct interaction with the physical habitat. The VR environment allows for interactions through two hand-held controllers. A set of functionally-grouped task lists were created across the XR environments. Each subject (n=36) completed lifestyle, science, and emergency tasks in one of the alternative reality environments, with dependent variables for these trials including the number and type of errors made, task completion time, and subjective analysis of the environment’s usability. In addition, subjects completed a volumetric assessment across environments to determine how spatially accurate the virtual presentations of the physical environment are. The volumetric assessment requires the subject to estimate whether boxes of varying sizes will fit through a hatch door. Users will assess the spacecraft habitat design while completing these tasks. We hypothesized there would be no overall significant difference in the perception of and interaction with the habitat across the alternative reality environments. This was not the case. Subjects perceived the spacecraft volume to be smaller in AR, and also made the most errors in volumetric assessment in this environment. For the functional tasks, subjects performed their tasks the most poorly in HR, followed by AR. In both experiments, subjects performed the most consistently with the PR environment while assessing volume and performing tasks in the VR environment. Further, we also tracked the development effort required for each alternative reality category. The HR environment took more than twice the amount of time to develop as the other environments. Hardware limitations in AR also may have contributed to the results in these experimental studies and additional exploration of other implementations of these alternative reality technologies should continue to be explored.

In this work, we identify ways in which alternative reality technologies can be used as one of many tools available to achieve the greatest utility in spacecraft habitat design evaluation. Future work includes finalizing the statistical analysis associated with our experimental findings. We are also preparing two manuscripts for publication (one each for the framework and the experiment). We have submitted the report from Phase 1 of the project, the framework, to NASA, and that document will be transitioned to a NASA technical report so it can be widely distributed. Future areas of investigation include going beyond volumetric assessment to include more traditional measures of human factors, such as situational awareness, workload, stress, and psychophysiological response of working in the habitat for long duration. We may also explore the microgravity simulation capabilities that are available in alternative realities and explore their utility for spacecraft habitat design evaluation.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/13/2022) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Anderson A, Banerjee N, Boppana A, Baughman A, Lin S, Witte Z, Wall R, Klaus D. "Spacecraft Habitat Design Evaluation Using Alternative Reality Technologies." 2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019.

2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019. , Jan-2019

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Banerjee N, Baughman A, Lin S, Witte Z, Klaus D, Anderson A. "Development of Alternative Reality Environments for Spacecraft Habitat Design Evaluation." 2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019.

2019 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2019. , Jan-2019

Awards Lin M. (Michelle (Shu-Yu) Lin) "Brooke Owens Fellowship (Awarded), February 2019." Feb-2019
Project Title:  Interactive Space Vehicle Design Tool with Virtual Reality Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2018 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/09/2017  
End Date: 11/09/2019  
Task Last Updated: 01/09/2018 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Anderson, Allison  Ph.D. / University of Colorado 
Address:  Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences 
429 UCB 
Boulder , CO 80309-5004 
Email: allison.p.anderson@colorado.edu 
Phone: 417-388-0621  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Colorado 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: PI moved to University of Colorado from Dartmouth College in early 2017. 
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Klaus, David  Ph.D. University of Colorado - Boulder 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC18K0198 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Williams, Thomas  
Center Contact: 281-483-8773 
thomas.j.will1@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2016-2017 HERO NNJ16ZSA001N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP, OMNIBUS). Appendix A-Omnibus, Appendix B-Flagship 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC18K0198 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Hab:Risk of an Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) HAB-05:We need to identify technologies, tools, and methods for data collection, modeling, and analysis that are appropriate for design and assessment of vehicles/habitats (e.g., net habitable volume, layout, and usage) for predetermined mission attributes, and for refinement and validation of level of acceptable risk. (Previous title: SHFE-HAB-09) (IRP Rev H)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 11/9/2019; grant number changed sometime in late 2018 (Ed., 1/31/19)

Task Description: Objective: To develop a virtual reality design tool that facilitates rapid mock-up and flexible design of microgravity vehicles and habitats.

Research Product Description: Space vehicle design is critical to maximize crew efficiency, comfort, and equipment storage. Designers utilize mock-ups early in the design phase to experiment with ideas, but high fidelity mock ups can be costly and time consuming to produce. Therefore, many design decisions have been set in place by the time a high fidelity mock-up is created. Engineering drawings allow early assessment of vehicle design, but do not allow experimental evaluation of physical presence of people interacting with the system. Further, when testing mock-ups in 1G, our perspective is limited by our orientation and by interacting with the vehicle in 1G. This limitation is removed in microgravity, where astronauts interact with the vehicle or habitat in ways not possible on Earth. It can be challenging for designers to optimize spaces when thinking and working in 1G. To enable efficient and rapid mock-up of vehicle concepts, virtual reality can be used earlier in the design process to achieve improved system design.

Specific Aim 1: Create a virtual reality design tool for space vehicles and habitats. The virtual reality (VR) tool will represent a physics based simulation of the microgravity environment. The visual perspective of the user can be rapidly switched to simulate that of a person in microgravity. A major component of vehicle design is optimizing storage and usable space. By simulating how the objects the user will interact with in microgravity, design improvements can be identified earlier in the design process.

Specific Aim 2: Evaluate tool effectiveness in a vehicle mock-up experiment. The interactive VR design tool developed in Specific Aim 1 will be evaluated in comparison to a mid-fidelity physical space vehicle mock-up. Subjects will perform sequential tasks simulating a science protocol to be performed in a microgravity vehicle. Environment order (VR or physical) will be counterbalanced and all subjects will be trained on the simulated science tasks in both environments prior to the start of the experiment to reduce the effect of learning. Subjects will be given a checklist to follow to ensure he or she adheres to the protocol. After the subject has completed 50% of the tasks, he or she will be given the option to reconfigure the workspace. No constraints on the nature of the reconfiguration will be given to the participants, and tasks will be sufficiently diverse such that there is no a priori optimal configuration for all tasks.

NASA Relevance: This proposal addresses the Risk of Incompatible Vehicle/Habitat Design. Specifically, it addresses the Gap HAB – 05 to identify technologies and create a tool to enable the design and assessment of space vehicles. The development of this technology achieved in Specific Aim 1 and the validation of its use achieved in Specific Aim 2 will create a tool that can be applied in the future to other Risk objectives, such as assessing the effect of lighting in the habitat space, simulated vibration, or ergonomic evaluation.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2018 
Task Progress: New project for FY2018.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/13/2022) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2018