The following is a list of active research (Updated October 2020).
We are investigating non-pharmaceutical countermeasures to mental performance decrements experienced in spaceflight. We are currently evaluating stochastic resonance, which is a phenomenon in nonlinear systems where noise can increase the throughput of a signal. Previous studies have suggested that stochastic resonance improves perception within one sensory modality (e.g. auditory white noise improves auditory perception) or across separate sensory modalities (e.g. auditory white noise improves visual perception). This creates the potential to improve neural function and reduce mental workload in a non-invasive way. We aim to investigate the utility of this phenomenon and its applications to perception and higher order mental processing.
Collaborators: Torin Clark
PhD: Sage Sherman, Rachel Rise*
Undergraduates: Sasha Kryuchkov, Anna Jonsen, Maya Greenstein, Daniel Gutierrez, Abby Durell, Cody Watson, Michael Schlittenhart
PhD - Jamie Voros*
Undergraduates - Maria Callas, Ponder Stine, James Rizkallah
Funding: This work is supported by the Translational Research Institute for Space Health through NASA NNX16AO69A under award number T0402.
Acute effects of pressure and posture on the eye
Dr. Anderson led a study during her postdoc at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College to investigate how posture as well as lower body positive and negative pressure affect the eye. These acute effects are relevant to the development of SANS because the same mechanisms that may lead to ocular findings in space, fluid shifts, hydrostatic gradients, and tissue weight, can be decoupled and studied on the ground through posture and pressure. We are finalizing analyses of the optical biometer and optical coherence tomography measurements made during this study to elucidate the effect of these three mechanisms on the eye. We hope to contribute to a knowledge of the effects of microgravity on the eye to inform SANS etiology theories as well as SANS countermeasures.
Collaborators: Dr. Jay Buckey, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Abigail Fellows,Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Olivia Lantz, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College,
PhD: Mike Van Akin
Funding: Grant CA03401 from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NCC 9–58, NASA EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement NNX13AD35A, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Development of a Lower Body Positive and Negative Pressure Device
A lower body positive and negative pressure device (LBPP/LBNP) seals the lower half of the body in quasi-airtight space, allowing a differential pressure between the upper and lower bodies to be introduced. This allows researchers to investigate the effects of fluid shifts on the body and to investigate the use of LBNP as a countermeasure to the physiological deconditioning that occurs in microgravity. We are adapting the CU Human Research Lab’s glovebox to be configurable to an LBPP/LBNP state. This includes the development of the lower body interface with the chamber, pressure vessel wall modifications, and the first positive pressure testing for the chamber.
PhD: Mike Van Akin
Undergraduate: Anissa Becerra
Funding: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
Wearable Inertial Sensors for Human Motion Capture Inside Spacesuits
A high incidence of injury is currently observed among crewmembers during extravehicular activity (EVA) and while training for EVA. Although it is known that this is a result of adverse mechanical interactions between the human and the spacesuit, designing spacesuits that more safely accommodate the wearer proves challenging due to the inability to observe the motion of the wearer relative to the suit. The current project investigates the use of inertial measurement units (IMUs) to observe human motion inside the suit, and seeks to develop a wearable sensor system complete with self-contained power and data-handling. Contrary to past work in this area, this project seeks to achieve accurate joint kinematics estimation without the use of magnetometers, which have been shown to be unreliable due to the presence of time-varying magnetic disturbances inside spacesuits and in indoor environments in general. Instead, the project investigates techniques for improving attitude estimation with only inertial sensors using a variety of techniques including IMU arrays, bandpass filter linear acceleration modeling, and two-speed integration of attitude kinematics. The current project also investigates methods for quantifying and improving the performance of wearable sensor systems in the areas of comfort, mobility, and durability, each of which have hindered the application of such sensors inside the spacesuit in the past. The techniques developed in this work will provide spacesuit designers with unprecedented insight into human-spacesuit interactions, which could facilitate the design of spacesuits that safely enable longer and more frequent EVAs, as required by future human exploration mission architectures.
PhD: Young-Young Shen
Undergraduates: Andres Villani-Davila, Justin Miller, Jiabin Lin, Shaylah Wood
Funding: NASA Quantifying and Preventing EVA Injury in Exploration Environments Grant NNX17AB11G (2017)
Implementation of Dynamic Body Shape Models to Improve Spacesuit Boot Fit
Current spacesuit boots have fit issues leading to contact injuries and mismatched kinematics during gait. Many of these fit issues are dynamic: occurring while the foot is moving. As future missions target planetary destinations, such as the Moon or Mars, it will be important to have a spacesuit boot that is properly fitted, comfortable, and moves in coordination with the spacesuit operator. Spacesuit components are currently designed using linear anthropometric measurements and static body shape models. We hypothesize that by designing a boot around the changes in foot shape during gait, the boot will be better fit to the operator’s foot. Dynamic foot shape data was collected from a custom 4D foot scanner developed for this project. A dynamic parametric statistical foot shape model was constructed to predict foot shape from anthropometry and kinematic inputs. This dynamic foot shape model will be integrated into a new planetary spacesuit boot design, constructed, and tested for fit and mobility.
Collaborators: BOA Technologies
PhD: Abhishektha Boppana
Undergraduates: Steven Priddy
Funding: NSF GRFP
*student of Dr. Torin Clark
** student of Dr. Dave Klaus
*** student of Dr. Jim Nabity