10/09/2018

Block Diagram:

The current experiment design uses the following system to deliver the stimulus to the user. Everything on the experiment(till now) is battery driven. So don’t think we would be needing power from outlets.

To Do List:

  • Fabricate and Assemble the system

  • Finalize Experiment Protocol

  • Write Algorithms for feedbacks

  • COUHES submit by Oct 18

09/24/2018

Design:
We will be using a form factor similar to the prototype(shown below) that we developed for a recent experiment. The prototype was for Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation(GVS) but will be further extended for providing stimulus via different modalities - Caloric(CVS) and Vibration(BCV)

Wearable Prototype for Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation
Wearable Prototype for Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation

To Do List:

  • Experimental Design for the Zero G Flight

  • COUHES Writing

  • Re-Design and Modalities extension in the prototype

  • Brainstorming on using synchronous Visual stimuli

Concept:

Space and space flight is an extreme environment for the human body due to exposure to microgravity and high radiation levels. While the brain is neuroplastic and adapts to different habitats by learning over time, sudden changes in the environment and unpreparedness for it can totally hinder the functioning of the individual. The physiological changes caused by microgravity include vestibular problems causing space motion sickness, bone demineralization, skeletal muscle atrophy, cardiovascular problems, and reductions in plasma volume and red cell mass[1]. The primary goal of this research project is to investigate vestibular system stimulation techniques to combat motion sickness and create more intuitive experiences when being in non natural gravity environments.

The vestibular system provides the body with the subjective sense of movement and orientation in space. The vestibular labyrinth, which is composed of three semicircular canals and two otolith organs in each ear, senses angular and linear movement of the head, thereby contributing to stabilization of body balance[2] and visual axis(gaze)[3]. It provides sensory information about motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation. Motion sickness is theorized to be either a cause of sensory mismatch between visual and vestibular afferent nerves(inter-sensory) or between semicircular and otolith nerve in the vestibular system(intra-sensory)[4]. The magnitude of alteration and the latency between the sensory inputs also contributes to the severeness of the motion sickness.

To combat this non congruent changes in sensory signals while transitioning into space, we propose to investigate different vestibular neuromodulation techniques for facilitating adaptation in a more natural way, appeasing the effects of motion sickness and use the altered gravity to create novel experiences in VR/AR devices. We will be using three different Vestibular stimulation techniques namely - Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation(GVS), Caloric Vestibular Stimulation(CVS) and Bone Conduction Vibration(BCV) for studying the effects. The apparatus will consist of a lightweight, wearable form factor device with multiple stimulation techniques used in parallel with feedback from sensors such as IMU and physiological state sensors like HR, EDA. Also a combination with VR/AR devices, can also provide synchronous visual stimuli and create more intuitive experiences during the flight.

References -

1. John B. West, Historical Perspectives: Physiology in microgravity, Journal of Applied Physiology 2000 89:1, 379-384

2. Richard C Fitzpatrick, Daniel L Wardman, and Janet L Taylor. 1999. Effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation during human walking. The Journal of Physiology 517, 3 (1999), 931–939.

3. Kathleen Cullen and Soroush Sadeghi (2008) Vestibular system. Scholarpedia, 3(1):3013.