Vibro-Tactile Interface for Enhancing Piloting Abilities During Long Term Flight
Sylvain Cardin, Frédéric Vexo, and Daniel Thalmann
Virtual Reality Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), IC ISIM VRLAB, Station 14, CH-1015, Lausanne, Switzerland
Heading perception of an aircraft becomes uneasy under disturbing spatial disorientation for a single pilot performing the daily tasks inherent to a long term flight. Sleepiness, movements and other activities introduced by vital function necessity reduce the attention and the awareness of the current aircraft situation. This paper presents the development of a system which aims at decreasing the attention needs for maintaining an aircraft’s attitude and take corrective action when the autopilot goes off bound. An embedded system has been integrated in the pilot’s clothing. It sends vibro-tactile feedback to the pilot when his aircraft becomes off balance. The system also dynamically localizes the position of the actuators in order to insure a feedback constant in space independently form the pilot posture and movements. A series of tests have been conducted to validate the interest of this localization by showing a slight improvement in the response time needed to take corrective action. By increasing the pilot’s own feeling about his plane’s orientation, the system provides a complementary tool to improve exhausting long flight conditions.
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