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The US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences is interested in the scientific investigation and assessment of situation awareness in complex operational environments. Charles River Analytics is researching sensors that could be attached to Soldiers, gear, or vehicles to enhance missions. PISA uses multiple wearable sensors that monitor physiological and neurophysiological signals from Soldiers and make predictions about their level of situation awareness in real time. (Photo Credit: US Army illustration)

Deciphering Brain States: Charles River Analytics Helps Soldiers Maintain Situational Awareness

Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has received funding from the US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences to build our Physiological Index of Situation Awareness (PISA) system with SA Technologies. Our unobtrusive, multimodal, and real-time PISA system monitors Soldiers’ evolving situational awareness (SA) and determines when lapses in SA occur.

Soldiers must operate in increasingly complex and chaotic battlespaces, partially due to unreliable intelligence, such as a false message from an adversary or information denied environments.

“To perform their jobs and fight effectively, Soldiers must develop the necessary skills to attain and maintain SA for their assigned tasks,” said Dr. Bethany Bracken, Principal Scientist at Charles River Analytics and Principal Investigator on the PISA effort. “PISA includes breakthrough wearables sensors that decode the physiological correlates of Soldier’s evolving SA in real time, making it easier for commanders to intervene during a training simulation to tailor trainings to be optimally effective.”

Our PISA system includes a minimally invasive multimodal sensor suite, including functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), electroencephalography (EEG), eye tracking, and cardiac sensors. PISA uses Sherlock™, our open and extensible software and hardware platform, to process and fuse this sensor data and derive informative variables related to SA in real time. Then, we leverage our probabilistic modeling and machine learning expertise to estimate Soldiers’ cognitive state, such as SA.

PISA images

PISA uses a sensor suite, including our fNIRS Explorer™ (left) or fNIRS Pioneer™ (middle, right), to gather data related to cognitive workload and SA.

Our minimally intrusive PISA system presents a continuous measure of SA over time. PISA identifies new training opportunities to identify and address known SA problems during training simulations before they occur in the battlefield.

Contact us to learn more about PISA and our other Cognitive Neuroscience and Sensor Processing and Fusion capabilities.

The material described herein is based on research sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Department of the Army (Contract No. W911NF-19-C-0072). The views expressed in this presentation are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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