Multisensory Integration for Pilot Spatial Orientation

Period of Performance: 06/05/2003 - 03/05/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Micro Analysis and Design, Inc.
4949 Pearl East Circle, Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


This proposal describes a layered approach to improving pilot spatial orientation and reducing the negative consequences of spatial disorientation events. Improving current cockpit displays (i.e., head-down, head-up, and helmet-mounted) and incorporating new technologies (e.g., 3D audio, tactile) requires a methodology for integrating and testing all of the salient technologies and techniques to determine which ones are the best at enhancing spatial orientation, preventing spatial disorientation events, and minimizing the impact of any spatial disorientation events that do occur. Phase I will identify and address the most promising displays, tools, and techniques using a model-based approach. The anticipated benefits of the proposed research and development are to help pilots maintain spatial orientation in flight, or, when orientation degrades, to recognize and recover from spatially disorienting situations, thus preventing spatial disorientation's negative consequences. The cost impact of spatial disorientation on the US military is over $300 million per year, not counting lives lost. US civilian losses are comparable. Devising a layered approach to even incrementally improve the situation has a multi-million dollar per year potential benefit.