Tactile cueing effects on performance in simulated aerial combat with high acceleration

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Introduction: Recent evidence indicates that vibrotactile displays can potentially reduce the risk of sensory and cognitive overload. Before these displays can be introduced in super agile aircraft, it must be ascer- tained that vibratory stimuli can be sensed and interpreted by pilots sub- jected to high G loads. Methods: Each of 9 pilots intercepted 32 targets in the Swedish Dynamic Flight Simulator. Targets were indicated on simulated standard Gripen visual displays. In addition, in half of the tri- als target direction was also displayed on a 60-element tactile torso dis- play. Performance measures and subjective ratings were recorded. Results: Each pilot pulled G peaks above 18 Gz. With tactile cueing present, mean reaction time was reduced from 1458 ms (SE 5 54) to 1245 ms (SE 5 88). Mean total chase time for targets that popped up be- hind the pilot’s aircraft was reduced from 13 s (SE 5 0.45) to 12 s (SE 5 0.41). Pilots rated the tactile display favorably over the visual displays at target pop-up on the easiness of detecting a threat presence and on the clarity of initial position of the threats. Discussion: This study is the first to show that tactile display information is perceivable and useful in hyper- gravity (up to 19 Gz). The results show that the tactile display can cap- ture attention at threat pop-up and improve threat awareness for threats in the back, even in the presence of high-end visual displays. It is ex- pected that the added value of tactile displays may further increase after formal training and in situations of unexpected target pop-up.




Van Erp, J. B. F., Eriksson, L., Levin, B., Carlander, O., Veltman, J. A., & Vos, W. K. (2007). Tactile cueing effects on performance in simulated aerial combat with high acceleration. Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, 78(12), 1128–1134. https://doi.org/10.3357/ASEM.2133.2007

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