Vertical Accelerator for Visual-Vestibular Acuity Testing and Training
Small Business Information
205 Williamson Square, Franklin, TN, 37064
AbstractMilitary personnel are often subjected to significant vertical acceleration while carrying out their duties. Such acceleration can interfere with the individual's ability to view platform-fixed displays by inducing spatial disorientation and/or motion sickness. The resulting decrease in personnel performance arises from head movements and posture-maintaining muscle coordination that are the body's response to vestibular-ocular reflexes. Suppression of these reflexes can lead to improved functional performance; repeated exposure to vertical linear motions can desensitize a person from these natural reflexes. The development of a vertical linear accelerator (VLA) system will enable researchers to accurately test for, evaluate, and even provide rehabilitation for the effects of vertical acceleration on the vestibular-ocular reflexes. In the Phase I effort, Dynamic Structures and Materials (DSM) produced a 1/3rd scale VLA prototype using linear motors and air bearing technologies that tracked commanded position within +/-100 microns at speeds up to 7 ft/s. Operational frequencies of up to 4 Hz were demonstrated. Velocity tracking was within 0.9% of the commanded velocity. Sound measurements were within ambient noise levels. DSM proposes this Phase II effort to develop and install a full-scale VLA that will provide an important training and testing tool for both screening and desensitization applications.
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