Tactile Displays for Soldier Systems: Progress and Issues
Authors: Linda R. Elliott, Bruce Mortimer, Anna Skinner
Abstract: Multisensory tactile displays have enabled Soldiers to communicate covertly during strenuous movements and to navigate in low visibility conditions, while allowing Soldiers to keep their hands on their weapons and their eyes on their surroundings. The full potential of these multisensory systems to reduce Soldier cognitive load and enhance performance has yet to be determined, but shows great promise, particularly in situations where there is degraded visual acuity, high noise, and/or need for audio silence. Improvements in tactor technology include more distinctive and varied tactile sensations that are expected to allow recognition of a greater range of tactile cues and simultaneous presentation of two types of signals (e.g., navigation and alerts). The current study assessed the operational effectiveness of a tactile display integrated with a gesture recognition glove for automated detection of Soldier hand and arm signals, which were transmitted and displayed as tactile patterns on a haptic feedback vest. This study indicated that the integration of glove-based gesture recognition and a tactile display resulted in faster and more accurately perceived communications than traditional Army hand and arm signals. Given these recent technology developments and their potential, there is a corresponding opportunity for basic and applied research to address issues arising from these multisensory displays.
Keywords: Human Systems Integration, Tactile displays, Multisensory displays, Soldier performance.
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