New NASA software to ease astronauts’ tasks in adverse space conditions

November 14th, 2007 - 2:12 am ICT by admin  
Robotic devices on the ISS make it possible for astronauts to perform tasks without leaving the vehicle. Manipulating these devices is challenging, particularly in bright sunlight and deep darkness.welve highly skilled robotics operators were tested on four installation tasks under conditions of dynamic sunlight and very dark nights with and without the overlay.

In all cases, accuracy and efficiency improved significantly when using the new overlay system, and all 12 operators found the overlay information extremely helpful in performing the ORU alignment operation. Time to complete the task was also reduced.

James C. Maida, Charles K. Bowen, and John Pace developed the method for use with the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which works in conjunction with the current Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS).

They presented their findings at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 51st Annual Meeting on October 3 in Baltimore, Maryland.

They concluded that because the graphics are relatively simple and the computational requirements are low, the overlay system could be implemented on existing flight hardware used on the space shuttle and the ISS.

Maida and colleagues said they employed augmented reality techniques to create a graphical informational overlay that can be used in simulations of robotic installation tasks to improve operator performance.

The installation task requires intense concentration by the astronaut to align an external orbital replacement unit (ORU) within one fourth of an inch and half-a-degree at its installation point. (ANI)

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