Sunday, August 30, 2015

Army Research Laboratory $2.4M award aids cognitive monitoring tool development

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(Oct. 8, 2010)--Imagine the daily work environment of Army soldiers. Seated in windowless tanks and restricted from visual cues, they travel over bumpy roads bouncing wildly up and down over rugged terrain. Their tanks' audio and video monitors are the only connection to the outside world, but they know their environment is dangerous. As the situation becomes more intense, they try to respond to an array of informational cues, but soon it becomes hard to focus. When will their attention decline? When will fatigue set in? What is happening in the brain?

UTSA researchers Kay Robbins, professor of computer science in the College of Sciences; Nandini Kannan, professor of management science and statistics in the College of Business; and Yufei Huang, associate professor of electrical engineering in the College of Engineering, hope to answer those questions soon. Led by Robbins, the study's principal investigator, the interdisciplinary trio received a five-year, $2.4 million award from the Army Research Laboratory. Their research project is part of a $25-million initiative to improve human-system interactions.

To date, cognitive monitoring tools have been limited, mainly allowing researchers to collect data in a laboratory environment and interpret it long after the monitoring session. Over the next five years, however, the UTSA researchers will develop methods to monitor the brain and interpret the massive amounts of data collected in real time.

UTSA's research collaborators include the Army Research Laboratory, DCS Corp., University of California, San Diego, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Osnabruck in Germany and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

"Traditionally, cognitive monitoring has been conducted in simple lab settings under controlled conditions," said Robbins. "This study takes that concept to the next level by developing adaptive tools researchers can use to collect, manage and interpret neurological and sensory data in real-time. It is our hope that the tools will help individuals focus on their critical needs so they can quickly process information and make decisions in a variety of stressful situations."

 

 

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UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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