VARS (Vibro-tactile Attitude Reference System)

Period of Performance: 09/27/2016 - 04/10/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mide Technology Corp.
200 Boston Avenue Suite 1000 Array
Medford, MA 02155
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Spatial disorientation is the inability of a pilot to accurately determine aircraft attitude. It is responsible for a significant amount of fatal accidents in aviation. The human body collects this information by the visual (eyes), vestibular (inner ear), and somatosensory (skin and muscle) system. However, during flight the only reliable information for the aircrafts attitude is provided visually to the pilot. Instances such as very low ambient light, transitions from aided to unaided vision, and poor weather conditions can create false illusions of the aircrafts orientation. This spatial disorientation can be fatal if not corrected within seconds. Recent studies have demonstrated that providing information to the pilot using a combination of the visual, vestibular, or somatosensory system can improve the pilots ability to orient the aircraft, and also more quickly and accurately than strictly visual based information. Mid proposes a novel technology that utilizes tactile feedback to stimulate a pilots somatosensory system, and create a multimodal stimulus that provides intuitive response information to assist the pilot in achieving stable and level flight during difficult conditions without only relying upon visual based information.