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Human Performance in a Realistic Instrument-Control Task during Short-Term Microgravity.

Steinberg F, Kalicinski M, Dalecki M, Bock O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills.From this we conclude that realistic instrument control was degraded in short-term microgravity.This degradation can't be explained by the motor and/or stress indicators under study, and microgravity affected motor performance differently in our complex, realistic skill than in the simple, laboratory-type skills of earlier studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany; Institute of Sport Science, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills. While that work dealt with simple, laboratory-type skills, we now evaluate the effects of microgravity on a complex, realistic instrument-control skill. Twelve participants controlled a simulated power plant during the short-term microgravity intervals of parabolic flight as well as during level flight. To this end they watched multiple displays, made strategic decisions and used multiple actuators to maximize their virtual earnings from the power plant. We quantified control efficiency as the participants' net earnings (revenue minus expenses), motor performance as hand kinematics and dynamics, and stress as cortisol level, self-assessed mood and self-assessed workload. We found that compared to normal gravity, control efficiency substantially decreased in microgravity, hand velocity slowed down, and cortisol level and perceived physical strain increased, but other stress and motor scores didn't change. Furthermore, control efficiency was not correlated with motor and stress scores. From this we conclude that realistic instrument control was degraded in short-term microgravity. This degradation can't be explained by the motor and/or stress indicators under study, and microgravity affected motor performance differently in our complex, realistic skill than in the simple, laboratory-type skills of earlier studies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experimental setup, control task and experimental timeline.a: Experimental setup for the use in parabolic flights. Shown is a participant sitting in a chair in front of the Eye tracker (incorporated in the screen) and the control panel within the metal frame, which serves as the construction for assembly into the parabolic flight plane. Four Bonita Vicon cameras for 3D hand motion capturing surround the participant. b: Screen of the simulated power plant with feedback displays regarding the requested power (top left), level of fuel rods (middle left), light button (top middle), temperature (bottom left), cooling tank (bottom middle) and earnings (right). The top left display element presents the inset for power requests. c: Enlargement of the control panel as shown in “a” with the small and big rotatable knobs, the rotary switch and the flip switch. The small rotatable knob controls the display element on the bottom left, the rotary switch the middle-left, the flip switch the light button and the big rotatable knob controls the top left element. d: Experimental time line for a participant during one flight day; shown are the points in time where the measurements were taken with respect to the flight profile along with the blocks of the control task. Cortisol stands for collection of saliva sample, the MoodMeter for mood assessment and the TLX for the NASA task load index.
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pone.0128992.g001: Experimental setup, control task and experimental timeline.a: Experimental setup for the use in parabolic flights. Shown is a participant sitting in a chair in front of the Eye tracker (incorporated in the screen) and the control panel within the metal frame, which serves as the construction for assembly into the parabolic flight plane. Four Bonita Vicon cameras for 3D hand motion capturing surround the participant. b: Screen of the simulated power plant with feedback displays regarding the requested power (top left), level of fuel rods (middle left), light button (top middle), temperature (bottom left), cooling tank (bottom middle) and earnings (right). The top left display element presents the inset for power requests. c: Enlargement of the control panel as shown in “a” with the small and big rotatable knobs, the rotary switch and the flip switch. The small rotatable knob controls the display element on the bottom left, the rotary switch the middle-left, the flip switch the light button and the big rotatable knob controls the top left element. d: Experimental time line for a participant during one flight day; shown are the points in time where the measurements were taken with respect to the flight profile along with the blocks of the control task. Cortisol stands for collection of saliva sample, the MoodMeter for mood assessment and the TLX for the NASA task load index.

Mentions: Participants sat in front of a 17” screen with a built-in eye tracker system (Tobii T60, sampling rate: 60 Hz; Gaze data will be analyzed in a separate communication.) and were secured by a seatbelt in order to prevent free floating in μG. To the right of the screen was a control panel with four actuators (see Fig 1A, 1B and 1C): A cylindrical rotatable knob of 35 mm diameter, one of 70 mm diameter, a rotary switch of 17 x 25 mm size which could be turned in six steps of 20°, and a standard flip switch of 17 mm length. These actuators were selected for similarity with actuators aboard the International Space Station (see Fig 1C). Force sensors (ATI Nano 17) registered the grip forces at a sampling rate of 250 Hz and rotary encoders (RoHS RES20; 20Hz) registered the position of each actuator—except for the flip switch. Four Vicon Bonita cameras registered the positions of six infrared-light reflecting markers (6 mm in diameter), attached by double sided adhesive tape to the participants’ index fingertip, thumb and midpoint of the index finger’s metacarpal bone; the data were converted into 3D marker positions with a sampling rate of 240 Hz and an accuracy of 1 mm.


Human Performance in a Realistic Instrument-Control Task during Short-Term Microgravity.

Steinberg F, Kalicinski M, Dalecki M, Bock O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Experimental setup, control task and experimental timeline.a: Experimental setup for the use in parabolic flights. Shown is a participant sitting in a chair in front of the Eye tracker (incorporated in the screen) and the control panel within the metal frame, which serves as the construction for assembly into the parabolic flight plane. Four Bonita Vicon cameras for 3D hand motion capturing surround the participant. b: Screen of the simulated power plant with feedback displays regarding the requested power (top left), level of fuel rods (middle left), light button (top middle), temperature (bottom left), cooling tank (bottom middle) and earnings (right). The top left display element presents the inset for power requests. c: Enlargement of the control panel as shown in “a” with the small and big rotatable knobs, the rotary switch and the flip switch. The small rotatable knob controls the display element on the bottom left, the rotary switch the middle-left, the flip switch the light button and the big rotatable knob controls the top left element. d: Experimental time line for a participant during one flight day; shown are the points in time where the measurements were taken with respect to the flight profile along with the blocks of the control task. Cortisol stands for collection of saliva sample, the MoodMeter for mood assessment and the TLX for the NASA task load index.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4470626&req=5

pone.0128992.g001: Experimental setup, control task and experimental timeline.a: Experimental setup for the use in parabolic flights. Shown is a participant sitting in a chair in front of the Eye tracker (incorporated in the screen) and the control panel within the metal frame, which serves as the construction for assembly into the parabolic flight plane. Four Bonita Vicon cameras for 3D hand motion capturing surround the participant. b: Screen of the simulated power plant with feedback displays regarding the requested power (top left), level of fuel rods (middle left), light button (top middle), temperature (bottom left), cooling tank (bottom middle) and earnings (right). The top left display element presents the inset for power requests. c: Enlargement of the control panel as shown in “a” with the small and big rotatable knobs, the rotary switch and the flip switch. The small rotatable knob controls the display element on the bottom left, the rotary switch the middle-left, the flip switch the light button and the big rotatable knob controls the top left element. d: Experimental time line for a participant during one flight day; shown are the points in time where the measurements were taken with respect to the flight profile along with the blocks of the control task. Cortisol stands for collection of saliva sample, the MoodMeter for mood assessment and the TLX for the NASA task load index.
Mentions: Participants sat in front of a 17” screen with a built-in eye tracker system (Tobii T60, sampling rate: 60 Hz; Gaze data will be analyzed in a separate communication.) and were secured by a seatbelt in order to prevent free floating in μG. To the right of the screen was a control panel with four actuators (see Fig 1A, 1B and 1C): A cylindrical rotatable knob of 35 mm diameter, one of 70 mm diameter, a rotary switch of 17 x 25 mm size which could be turned in six steps of 20°, and a standard flip switch of 17 mm length. These actuators were selected for similarity with actuators aboard the International Space Station (see Fig 1C). Force sensors (ATI Nano 17) registered the grip forces at a sampling rate of 250 Hz and rotary encoders (RoHS RES20; 20Hz) registered the position of each actuator—except for the flip switch. Four Vicon Bonita cameras registered the positions of six infrared-light reflecting markers (6 mm in diameter), attached by double sided adhesive tape to the participants’ index fingertip, thumb and midpoint of the index finger’s metacarpal bone; the data were converted into 3D marker positions with a sampling rate of 240 Hz and an accuracy of 1 mm.

Bottom Line: Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills.From this we conclude that realistic instrument control was degraded in short-term microgravity.This degradation can't be explained by the motor and/or stress indicators under study, and microgravity affected motor performance differently in our complex, realistic skill than in the simple, laboratory-type skills of earlier studies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany; Institute of Sport Science, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills. While that work dealt with simple, laboratory-type skills, we now evaluate the effects of microgravity on a complex, realistic instrument-control skill. Twelve participants controlled a simulated power plant during the short-term microgravity intervals of parabolic flight as well as during level flight. To this end they watched multiple displays, made strategic decisions and used multiple actuators to maximize their virtual earnings from the power plant. We quantified control efficiency as the participants' net earnings (revenue minus expenses), motor performance as hand kinematics and dynamics, and stress as cortisol level, self-assessed mood and self-assessed workload. We found that compared to normal gravity, control efficiency substantially decreased in microgravity, hand velocity slowed down, and cortisol level and perceived physical strain increased, but other stress and motor scores didn't change. Furthermore, control efficiency was not correlated with motor and stress scores. From this we conclude that realistic instrument control was degraded in short-term microgravity. This degradation can't be explained by the motor and/or stress indicators under study, and microgravity affected motor performance differently in our complex, realistic skill than in the simple, laboratory-type skills of earlier studies.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus