HCI for Complex Decisions: Charles River Analytics Develops Human-Computer Interfaces for US Army Commanders

Image from Charles River Analytics project
Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy speaks to students attending the School for Command Preparation. (Photo by Tisha Swart-Entwistle, Combined Arms Center Public Affairs Office).

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has received funding from the US Army to develop the Operational Representations and Interactive Overlay Environment (ORION). ORION combines data visualizations with collaboration tools to help Tactical Commanders explore battlespace information in a flexible and real-time system.

Tactical Commanders must successfully manage dynamic, time-sensitive battlefield information from numerous sources. However, existing systems often result in cognitive burden—Tactical Commanders must manually process data from competing sources into meaningful representations, and then act on that information.

“Currently, systems for tactical decision makers take a one-size-fits-all approach, which complicates workflows and increases burden on Tactical Commanders,” said Stephanie Kane, Senior Scientist at Charles River Analytics and Principal Investigator on the ORION effort. “ORION includes human-centered user interfaces that let Tactical Commanders easily direct their attention to the information that matters most to a specific mission.”

A Commander-centric view of the Communication Network Interface

 A Commander-centric view of the Communication Network Interface (concept). Shows who the Commander can get information from (left, in blue), who they can send information to (right, in gray), who they cannot send information to right now (red box in upper right of top image), and what specific methods of communication are available/unavailable (color-coded arrows represent different information exchange mediums).

Mission Timeline Interface Concept

Mission Timeline Interface (concept) that can determine current mission success and the effect of real-time events on planned mission activities. Planned mission activities are depicted above the timeline, and real-time events that occur as the mission unfolds are depicted below. Related events are highlighted in orange. Predicted events are shown below the timeline (light gray).

ORION’s tailored user interfaces help Tactical Commanders make complex decisions. Our advanced human-computer interface expertise allows us to create innovative tools for analysts and decision makers across military echelons.

Contact us to learn more about ORION and our other Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization capabilities.

This material is based upon work supported by the C5ISR Center under Contract No. W56KGU-18-C0040. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.

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