WALKSCAN: A Wearable System for Operator State Monitoring

Period of Performance: 05/13/1998 - 02/13/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

SAM Technology, Inc.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Principal Investigator


Operations of complex systems can become inefficient because of mental overload, fatigue, boredom and lapses in situational awareness, drugs, illness, and other factors; a practical means of monitoring operator state is thus important for many Air Force missions. In the laboratory, physiological measures such as brain waves, eye blinks and movements, cardiac activity, respiration, and skin conductance, have been frequently demonstrated to provide information about operator state. Unfortunately, current technology is not adequate to support routine acquisition and timely analysis of physiological measures in naturalistic environments. To service this need, our R&D program has focused on developing the component technologies required for non-invasively monitoring the mental state of human operators. These include rugged and portable recording electronics, quick application electrodes and headsets, and EEG signal processing algorithms and analysis software for extracting physiological signals from artifact contaminated data and using them to characterize changes in mental activity. We propose to integrate these technologies to developd WALKSCAN, a self-contained ambulatory recorder/signal processing system, that will use physiological data to provide continuous estimates of operator state in real-world environments. In Phase I we will design WALKSCAN and implement a limited-functionality laboratory prototype. In Phase II it will be fully implemented and field-tested.