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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Interference Tolerant Functional Near Infrared Spectrometer (fNIRS) for Cognitive State Monitoring

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Interference Tolerant Functional Near Infrared Spectrometer (fNIRS) for Cognitive State Monitoring
Measuring hemoglobin concentration changes in the brain with Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising technique for monitoring cognitive state and optimizing human performance during both aviation and space operations. Currently available fNIRS systems are large, rack mounted devices designed for laboratory research which are susceptible to the type of radio frequency (RF) interference commonly found near airports. Cognitive research is therefore limited to a RF interference-free lab environment, impossible in any aircraft or hanger. We circumvent this problem developing a highly reliable system for crew cognitive state monitoring tolerant of RF interference which reduces hardware complexity, weight and volume. Many crew-related errors in aviation and astronautics are caused by hazardous cognitive states including overstress, disengagement, high fatigue and ineffective crew coordination. Safety can be improved by monitoring and predicting these cognitive states in a non-­‐intrusive manner and designing mitigation strategies. We propose to develop an advanced optical instrument using the Frequency Domain (FD) method of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), designed with state of the art opto-electronics, prototyped and integrated into new headgear designs suitable for use in commercial/military aircraft or the space environment. The goal is to enable real‐time monitoring of crew cognitive state to prevent performance decrements during safety critical tasks. More »

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