Tuesday, July 28, 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."

 

 

Did You Know?

Sometimes you have to see the little picture

UTSA researchers are exploring matter at the atomic level with Helenita. It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world, with the ability to operate near the theoretical limit of resolution. At 9 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing more than two tons, Helenita can dissect almost anything. With Helenita's resolution, researchers can study particles atom by atom to see how they behave.

That's critical in developing nanotechnology that will help diagnosis early-stage breast cancer or make helmets that are uber strong. Moreover, the detail that Helenita provides will allow nanotechnology researchers to create new therapies and treatments to fight a wide range of human diseases.

Did you know? Helenita can magnify a sample 20 million times its size, which would make a strand of human hair the size of San Antonio.

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July 30, 5 - 7 p.m.

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Join AIA San Antonio’s Women in Architecture group for their networking and happy hour event, where all design professionals are welcome.
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