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Project Title:  Integrated Cognitive Assessment: Combining Measurement, System, and Mission Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2009 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP BHP:Behavioral Health & Performance (archival in 2017)
Start Date: 03/05/2009  
End Date: 03/04/2011  
Task Last Updated: 06/18/2009 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   O'Donnell, Robert  Ph.D. / NTI, Inc.  
Address:  1 1/2 S. Central Avenue 
Fairborn , OH 45324 
Phone: (937) 879-0612  
Congressional District:
Organization Type: INDUSTRY 
Organization Name: NTI, Inc.  
Joint Agency:  
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX08CC20P 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Leveton, Lauren  
Center Contact: 
Solicitation / Funding Source: SBIR Phase II 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX08CC20P 
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:  
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No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) BHP:Behavioral Health & Performance (archival in 2017)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Sleep:Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload (IRP Rev F)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Sleep Gap 01:We need to identify a set of validated and minimally obtrusive tools to monitor and measure sleep-wake activity and associated performance changes for spaceflight (IRP Rev E)
Task Description: Existing cognitive performance test batteries consist of synthetic tasks that, while they may probe isolated cognitive functions, provide an incomplete and unconvincing picture of an individual's true cognitive capacity within the total context of space missions. In essence, they are 'laboratory' measures that appear unrelated to the real-world environment. This leads to user non-compliance or rejection. The present proposal describes a technique for integrating traditional cognitive performance measures with assessment of the system and mission in which the individual must operate. This yields quantified measures of the person's cognitive ability to perform specific jobs in space. Specifically, an entertaining and scientifically rigorous assessment tool is integrated with a sleep/fatigue model and a quantified workload estimate for each task. This is accomplished by selecting tests based on task analyses of what the astronaut actually has to do, using the Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST) to predict performance capacity as a function of sleep/rest, and integrating a mathematical vector to quantify the workload of specific tasks. The resulting "Person-System-Mission (PSM) index" provides a totally new and unique way not only to assess present cognitive capability, but to diagnose specific causes of decrement, and to suggest remedial actions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS : Measurement and prediction of the cognitive effects of stressors such as fatigue and workload on specific tasks required of the astronaut are critical to NASA. The existence of a valid metric that is expressed in terms of the individual's ability to carry out specific tasks, rather than in terms of esoteric cognitive skills, will dramatically increase the value of an assessment tool to the individual, the commander, and the flight surgeon, thereby increasing user acceptance. This will lead to incorporation of such a metric on all spaceflights, especially those of long duration.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The principal non-NASA Government applications for the technology developed here will be in the Department of Defense and the Homeland Security Department. Mission- and safety-critical jobs frequently involve stressful conditions such as fatigue and high workload in both of these agencies. In DoD, for instance, the need to assess the combat readiness of the dismounted warrior has led to the establishment of the "Cog-Fit" program, which is attempting to model the effects of combat stresses on the person's ability to perform their job. The Air Force has similar programs. Homeland security, in addition to Coast Guard operations, requires personnel such as airport screeners to maintain high levels of cognitive alertness for long periods of time. It is expected that each of these agencies will have immediate applications for this technology. Non-NASA commercial applications will involve marketing the technology to transportation, shipping, and freight organizations that routinely carry out safety-sensitive operations, as well as to educational, industrial, and self-help organizations that will recognize the value of a scientifically well-grounded, entertaining cognitive assessment system.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2009 
Task Progress: New project for FY2009. Reporting not required for this SBIR Phase 2 project.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 None in FY 2009