Miniaturization of a microcontroller for the tactile situational awareness system.
Wood, Terrence L.
Fouts, Douglas J.
Wight, Randy L.
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Loss of Situational Awareness (SA) is a leading cause of pilot related mishaps, resulting in numerous fatalities and costing the Department of Defense an estimated $300 million annually in destroyed aircraft. Loss of SA can occur when a pilot incorrectly perceives the attitude, altitude, or motion of their aircraft. As one solution to the SA problem, the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory has developed the Tactile Situational Awareness System (TSAS). The primary objective of TSAS is to enhance pilot performance and reduce SA related aircrew/aircraft losses by providing continuous non-visual information using the normally underutilized sensory channel of touch. Using vibrotactile stimulators, TSAS applies information taken from the aircraft's instruments to the pilot's torso. Prototypes have been built and flight tested with positive results. However, the current implementation of TSAS is a research system that is not compatible with the crowded cockpits of modern aircraft. This thesis presents a design of a miniature microcontroller for the TSAS that is compatible with tactical environments. This new microcontroller system incorporates the functionality of the research TSAS into a palm sized device.
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