EVALUATION OF SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR NASA AMES/USCG SMALL BOAT RECOVERY EXPERIMENT
Fosha, Rebecca A.
Whitaker, Lyn R.
McCauley, Michael E.
Shattuck, Lawrence G.
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The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has contracted the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) to study human performance in a small boat recovery task on the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) in Mountain View, CA. Due to safety concerns, participants will be required to wear lanyards connecting them to the simulator structure. Lanyards impart a force on the body and may change postural sway with important effects on performance on the small boat recovery task. The effects of similar lanyards on postural stability in a similar task were investigated in this thesis. Thirty-six participants completed the small boat task on a block (stable platform) or a BOSU balance trainer (unstable platform) with no lanyards, two lanyards (equal force on front and back), or four lanyards (more force on the back than the front). Significant differences in postural sway variability and central tendency were identified for the four-lanyard condition. Subjective fatigue ratings increased during the study but did not correlate to postural sway results. Participants employed different strategies to complete the task and maintain postural stability, suggesting important directions for future research. The results and recommendations from the study were provided to USCG/NASA researchers for use in key decisions for the VMS experiment.
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