U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

AFRL/RH 711TH HPW (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio )

SF.15.21.B10055: Visual Simulation Technology: Operational Based Vision Assessment (OBVA)

Hadley, Steven - 937-938-2637

The OBVA Laboratory will utilize high fidelity flight simulation to assess the operational relevance of current vision standards, and develop and validate new metrics of visual performance for present-day pilots, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators, and other aircrew. Currently, AF vision standards are based primarily on clinical tests. OBVA research projects will assess visual acuity, color vision, stereopsis, and contrast sensitivity and correlate them with operational tasks commonly performed by pilots and other aircrew such as: airborne/ground-based target detection, identification and tracking targets, viewing and interpreting helmet mounted or heads-up displays, aerial refueling, hover/ground clearance, and night vision goggles (NVG) scanning. Operational conditions, such as helicopter whiteout/brownout, haze, fog, canopy distortion, etc., will also be simulated to assess visual performance. This research will be used to improve safety, visual performance and to aid in selection/retention of aircrew. Candidates with demonstrated experience in C++ and/or Matlab programming, 3D graphics development using Open GL, optical distortion simulation/evaluation (e.g. windscreen distortion, etc.) are strongly desired. Candidates will be expected to work with software and hardware designers to extend the capabilities of a custom simulation system; participate in teams that conceive, plan and conduct research on the OBVA Laboratory; and use simulation technology to quantify the relationship between laboratory or clinical measures of visual capabilities and performance in flight-related operational tasks. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAFSAM military and civil service staff, federal contractors, and collaborating university faculty. Key Words: Operationally Based Vision Assessment (OBVA), Computer Science, Simulation Technology, Vision, Optics, Optical Distortion, 3D Graphics, Vision Science.

SF.15.21.B10054: Physiological Sensing & Assessment

Estepp, Justin - 937-938-3602

A person`s physiological response to a task, event, or stimulus can contain a wealth of information about processes underlying cognition and performance. However, `sensing` the right data sources and `assessing` their response with both accuracy and precision pose a number of challenges in a diversity of fields such as engineering, computer science, neuroscience, psychophysiology, and psychology. This topic seeks to theorize, design, and develop methods by which physiological responses can be decoded to make inference about ongoing cognitive processes and how they relate to observable or desired outcomes in the physical world (e.g. task performance, motor actuation, communication). Example scientific fields include but are not limited to cognitive state assessment, brain-computer interfaces/brain-machine interfaces, and cognitive neuroscience. Topics may address any element of the process from observation of a physiological response to inference about it, including but not limited to 1) new sensors or their novel application to observing physiological response, 2) signal processing approaches to preprocessing and/or feature extraction from physiological response data, 3) pattern recognition, machine learning, or other data analytic approach for making inference on the observed physiological response, 4) robustness in realistic conditions, 5) biophysical simulation to aid in the application of signal processing and/or data analytics, and 6) novel use cases for cognitive state assessment, brain-computer interfaces, and brain-machine interfaces. Candidates would ideally be from fields of neuroscience, biomedical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, statistics, or other science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or medicine (as appropriate).

SF.15.21.B10053: Real-time Non-invasive Monitoring of Human Performance

Harshman, Sean - 937-938-3788

Real-time non-invasive monitoring of human performance is becoming mainstream due to frequent use of wearable fitness trackers by the general population. While these devices monitor basic measurements, such as heart rate, the need for additional information, from novel sources, is necessary. As such the US Air Force has made a significant investment in the determination of novel biomarkers from non-invasive sources, like exhaled breath and interstitial fluid. However, the need to further investigate new alternative biosources for human performance monitoring is required to fulfill AF mission requirements. In our lab, we utilize high end mass spectrometry and complementary analytical techniques to evaluate novel biosources, such as tears or exhaled breath condensate, within a controlled laboratory environment.

SF.15.21.B10052: Microneedle Platform Development for Enabling Wearable Sensing

Tilly, Trevor - 937-713-5386

Interstitial fluid (ISF) has great promise as a biofluid for minimally invasive wearable sensor deployment. Although other methods exist to access ISF from the skin, microneedles (MNs) have emerged as a leading option to enable human performance biomarker sensing in ISF. There are many materials and variations of MNs used in different applications, however, MNs that are designed for real-time sensing or to interface with sensor modalities for near real-time or post analysis of biomarkers are desired. This research aims to: 1) understand the optimal characteristics of MN/skin interface for sensing in ISF; 2) explore signal transduction methods (electrochemical, optical, and others, for enabling biomarker detection via the MNs or in ISF collected by MNs; 3) design and fabricate MN-sensor devices for human performance biomarkers for multi-hour/day use.

SF.15.21.B10051: Functionalized Nucleic Acids Structures for Performance Monitoring and Augmentation

Chavez Benavides, Jorge - 937-938-3786

Modern warfare operations often occur in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments accompanied by physical exertion, cognitive overload, sleep restriction and caloric deprivation. Therefore, interventions that allow Airmen and Guardians to perform at high levels over multi-day missions with minimal logistics support are needed. Several studies demonstrated that some individuals are more resilient to physiological and psychological stressors and the nature of such resiliency may be associated with variations in regulation of specific genes. Therefore, the ability to temporally regulate expression of performance-associated genes would be beneficial for Airmen and Guardians performance augmentation. The programmability of nucleic acids at different length scales, the availability of computational tools to optimize the design of complex nucleic acids nanostructures and the ability to engineer these nanostructures with functional moieties provide a platform to develop entities that can be programmed to perform controllable regulation of genetic pathways critical for performance. In this AFRL Summer Faculty Fellowship Program, we seek novel ideas for engineering and production of biocompatible functionalized nucleic acids nanostructures to control genetic pathways critical to Airman and Guardian performance.

SF.15.21.B10050: Biological Sensors for Airman Augmentation

Harbaugh, Svetlana - 937-938-3624

Given the effect of mission-related stressors on human performance, it is vital to objectively assess the status of Airmen and Guardians. Biology offers a rich source of sensing modalities and components that can be used to build real-time sense and respond circuitry. These sensing mechanisms provide an attractive platform to develop biological sensors that offer significant advantages over traditional inorganic materials-based approaches. We can leverage the ability of biological sensing elements such as regulatory RNAs (riboswitches, toehold switches, siRNAs) and regulatory proteins (transcription factors) to control gene expression and apply synthetic biology approaches to engineer cell-based and cell-free biosensors for the detection of human performance biomarkers. In this AFRL fellowship program, we seek novel ideas for two main topics: 1) engineering/discovery biological sensing elements for detection of human health and performance biomarkers and 2) strategies for development of robust and reproducible cell-free and cell-based sensors/assays with variable outputs (fluorescent, colorimetric, electrochemical) for biomarkers detection in biological fluids.

SF.15.21.B10045: Mitochondrial Health & Organ-Level Effects through Microscopic Imaging and Molecular Analysis

Hussain, Saber - 937-626-0196

Airmen constantly endure an evolving spectrum of operational stress scenarios (e.g. extreme physical exertion, high temperatures, excessive G-Force, pressure changes, low oxygen environments, exposure to chemical or particle contaminants) that induce changes in the structural and functional dynamics of mitochondria. Mitochondria are always in constant flux by changing their morphology and energy production in response to the energy (ATP) needs of the cell. The dynamic nature of the mitochondria allows for rapid detection of physical or cognitive impairment by characterizing the structure and the function of the mitochondria. The incumbent will bring innovative ideas and participate in research to simulate Airmen stress scenarios using advanced cell culture models and evaluate structural and functional dynamics of mitochondria through microscopic imaging, biochemical analysis, and in silico simulations using artificial intelligence-based platforms to rapidly extrapolate Airmen performance outcomes from early stage mitochondrial changes due to operational stress responses. This will bring synergy and collaboration through this fellowship program to shape the growing AFRL core research area of system biology.

SF.15.21.B10044: Effects of Inhaled Chemical & Particle Mixtures on Lung Surfactant (LS) Function: Linkage to Adverse Health Effects

Hussain, Saber - 937-626-0196

Exposure to physical (e.g. hot/cold temperature, high altitudes) and chemical (e.g. aerosol particles, irritants) operational stress factors challenges the respiratory system by causing lung surfactant (LS) dysfunction that may lead to degraded military physical and/or cognitive performance. LS is a phospholipid-protein complex secreted by the type II alveolar epithelial cells that combines with water in the lungs to create a film at the air-liquid interface. LS serves as a protective barrier to prevent absorption of harmful particles into the bloodstream and reduce surface tension to stabilize alveoli and increase breathing efficiency. Inhalation of aerosols that interfere with LS may diminish normal function and contribute to the onset of collapsed alveoli, acute respiratory distress syndrome, tissue damage, and reduced Airmen readiness & performance. The participant will bring new innovative ideas to assess how LS and lung surfactant producing cells/tissue respond to the combined effects of simultaneously simulated stress scenarios to aid in hazard identification, exposure assessment, and risk analysis. Participants will also have the opportunity to expand, design and modify a new model of constrained drop surfactometer (CDS) to study respiratory health effects of particles & chemicals. Additionally, a predictive or in silico model applying artificial intelligence will be built as a rapid screening tool to predict respiratory health effects of diminished lung surfactant function on Airmen readiness engaged in high-demand, & high-impact mission tasks. This will bring synergy and collaboration through this fellowship program to shape the growing AFRL core research area of system biology.

SF.15.21.B10043: Investigation of Biophotonic Cellular Communication to Understand Mechanisms of Performance

Hussain, Saber - 937-626-0196

Biophotons, weak light emitted as part of chemical reactions taking place inside each cell during normal or stressed conditions, can be a form of non-molecular cellular communication. However, despite a century of research, little is known about the specific mechanisms of biophoton generation and reception as well as the information encoded in biophoton signaling. The goal of this research is to characterize intracellular biophoton emission and understand how this intracellular emission can control and modulate cellular communication. The participant will bring new innovative ideas and participate in designing experiments to understand the significance, mechanisms for photon generation and detection, and quantification of spectra, intensity, and spatial and temporal distribution. The understanding of biophotons and its molecular and quantum interactions could close the gaps in our knowledge of cell signaling (signal generation, transduction, processing) and lead to the development of non-invasive tools to to detect cell signaling to understand the mechanism of performance. As a communication mechanism that impact cellular function, biophotons can be altered to treat diseases or enhance human performance. This will bring synergy and collaboration through this fellowship program to shape the growing AFRL core research area of system biology.

SF.15.21.B0004: Bioaerosol Transport Modeling

Duran, Christin - 937-683-2201

Bioaerosol transport modeling is an important tool for evaluating transmission risk for infectious agents that are transmitted via airborne routes, such as SARS-CoV-2. One of the prominent questions is the effect of mask-wearing on the transport of saliva particulates generated by human activities, such as coughing, talking, and breathing. Therefore, the goal of this research program is to use computational fluid dynamics to evaluate saliva particulate transport from the human mouth during a broad range of saliva aerosol producing activities both with and without a mask and compare the findings to published literature. Computational models allow the ability to expand the scenarios beyond what has been evaluated experimentally. The data produced will be useful for understanding the mechanisms involved in saliva particulate transport, improving assumptions used in infection risk models, and updating guidance for best practices to reduce cross-infection risk in indoor environments. This research program will enhance pandemic response activities and provide value to military and international communities.

SF.15.21.B0002 : Models of Knowledge Gap Detection & Resolution

Myers, Chris - 937-938-4044

Autonomous systems are a new frontier for pushing sociotechnical advancement. Such systems will eventually become pervasive, involved in everything from manufacturing, healthcare, defense, and even research itself. However, proliferation is stifled by the high development costs and the resulting inflexibility of the produced systems. As advances are made toward more rapid development of autonomous systems through interactive or written instruction, other challenges have been identified for further improving the flexibility and generalizability of systems capable of learning from instruction. Specifically, few instructions are complete and one cannot assume a system will have all the requisite knowledge to execute instructions as intended: knowledge gaps can be pervasive and a hindrance to teachable models. The goal is to research foundational aspects of knowledge gap detection, identification, and resolution processes for intelligent machines.

SF.15.21.B0001: Physiological Impacts of Cognitive Performance

Myers, Chris - 937-938-4044

Most computational theories of cognition lack a representation of physiology. Understanding the cognitive effects of compounds present in the environment is important for explaining and predicting changes in cognition and behavior given exposure to toxins, pharmaceuticals, or the deprivation of critical compounds like oxygen. This goal of this research is to integrate physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model predictions with computational cognitive models to help predict and explain changes in cognitive performance from exposure.

SF.15.19.B0011: Cognitive Factors & Analytics in the Social-Cyber Domain

Larson, Kathleen - 937-656-4391

Disinformation campaigns such as fake news have evolved beyond traditional propaganda and are being used in strategic ways. Further, sources of information have changed from social exchanges and traditional media (radio, TV, newspapers) to less personal Internet and cyber sources. In particular, adversaries are using tactics on social media such as creating echo chambers, sharing information through bots to promote political polarization, and spreading memes, all of which can shift the audience towards a strategic goal. What can cognitive science, which deals with human information processing, contribute to understanding human vulnerability, susceptibility, and (on a more positive note) resiliency to misinformation and disinformation? People both passively acquire and actively seek information. What role do these two separate roles play with respect to disinformation? How are these cognitive aspects and effects to be detected and measured? That is, what new analytics need to be developed and used in the social-cyber environment? This research topic focuses on both improving analytics in the information environment and also developing ways to enhance the cognitive agility of the warfighter. Several research domains are relevant such as decision making, cognitive biases, culture, social influence, affect, network analysis, and communication. The ideal candidate will have a background in cognitive psychology/ human factors psychology / social psychology, operations research, data science, and/ or computer science.

SF.15.19.B0010: Systems Analytics

Schmidt, Vincent - (937) 255-8363

Capable technologies are necessary but not sufficient to improve operational performance of uncertain, dynamic, high-stakes Air Force mission systems. As both research and operational communities race to capitalize on a range of rapidly evolving “analytics” including decision aides, algorithms, automation, autonomy, and artificial intelligence, our understanding of how these technologies impact mission performance lags behind. Systems Analytics studies the macro-cognition of Airman using computational tools to accomplish mission objectives, encompassing interactions between operators, analytics, and environments. The goal of this research is to develop theory-driven, evidence-based approaches to the application of data analytics by (1) investing in new approaches to analyze and assess complex systems (including methods, models, measures, and metrics), (2) exploring novel techniques for data fusion and representation, and (3) innovating mechanisms for enhanced reasoning and feedback in support of Airman macro-cognition (or “cognitive adaptation to complexity”).

SF.15.19.B0007: Multisensory processing and multimodal displays

Havig, Paul - 937-255-3951

A great deal of research has focused on processing within a single sensory system (e.g., vision, audition, tactile, etc.), the results from which have been used to inform the design of interfaces that best exploit the limits of these individual sensory systems. However, perception is informed by input from multiple sensory systems simultaneously, and the integration of information across senses can lead to greater sensitivity and better overall task performance. We are interested in the underlying mechanisms of multisensory processing, revealed through behavioral, neurophysiological, and neuroimaging approaches, with a goal of identifying ways to provide displays that generate input to two more more sensory systems to direct attention through better cuing, enhance situation awareness, support effective decision making and task performance. Phenomena of interest include multisensory integration, enhancement, facilitation, and interference, perceptual/neural plasticity, and the development and evaluation of models of multisensory interaction.

SF.15.19.B0003: Assessing Operator Cognitive State in Human-Machine Teams

Vidulich, Michael - 937-255-8896

To ultimately create operator sensing-and-assessing systems to guide system adaptations in Air Force operations, the systems must be robust for assessing changes in representative real-time operator cognitive states. In real-world tasks stressors such as time pressure, uncertain information and so forth will be expected to be countered by human expertise, automated assistance, interface design, and so forth. The purpose of this project is to advance the understanding and assessment of human cognitive states during such task performance. Specifically, the goals are to 1) to expand the understanding of how fundamental changes in the human, such as the development of expertise in complex task performance, influences assessment, 2) to explore new psychophysiological assessment technologies to determine their potential contributions to form a more complete picture of the human’s cognitive state, and 3) to investigate how task stressors can impact the robustness of assessments. Not only will the proposed research be very valuable as basic research to expand the understanding of crucial cognitive state assessment issues, but it will be extremely beneficial in making progress in developing assessment capabilities to guide assessment and augmentation in operational systems or to guide success in the progress of training programs.

SF.15.18.B0002: Review and Synthesis of Human-Machine Teaming Research

Funke, Gregory - 937-938-3601

The development and eventual deployment of advanced autonomous/agent systems is a top Air Force priority. Future Air Force team compositions are envisioned to be a mix of human and machine teammates, with human team members receiving collaborative input from their sophisticated agent teammates. However, the capabilities required of machine agents to enable successful human-machine teams are still evolving. Research in areas relevant to human-machine teaming (HMT), such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing and communication, and trust, among many others, are evolving at a rapid pace.
Many important questions remain to be addressed, such as 1) what information do machine agents need to be able to sense about their human teammates to permit them to function as effective teammates, 2) are the benefits of anthropomorphism translatable or even desirable in Air Force HMT, 3) what are appropriate roles for machine agents in HMT (machines as assistants, machines as equals, machines as advisors), 4) are there effective methods to help human teammates effectively calibrate liking and trust of machine agent teammates, for example, increasing them when appropriate, or decreasing reliance and trust when it is inappropriate? To stay abreast of developments in HMT, and to anticipate future requirements, a comprehensive literature review (addressing some or all of these topics) is essential. The review will synthesize previous research, with a focus on application to Air Force-relevant topics, and identify gaps in the extant literature.
In pursuit of this goal, selected applicants will be expected to work closely with AFRL staff and support contractors to understand Air Force perspectives and priorities, and to identify appropriate scope and research topics for inclusion in the review. Success in this research project will provide understanding of the current state-of-the-art in HMT, and a (collaborative) research plan to address impediments to successful human-machine teaming in the Air Force.

SF.15.18.B0001: Real-Time Molecular Signature Sensor Development

Kim, Steve - 937-938-3713

Data-driven chemical and biochemical monitoring systems based on real-time biological and environmental probing are the future of human performance monitoring, as well as occupational safety and medicine. In combination with a better understanding of physiology, these advances should lead directly to improved safety and preparedness of the war-fighter. Molecular biomarkers indicative of human physiological and psychological status vary person-to-person and the measurement point of the time. Thus, developing highly sensitive, selective, robust, cost-effective, and miniaturized chemical and biochemical sensors that profile/report biomarkers throughout 8-24hr time frame of individual operators will greatly benefit USAF personnel health and performance. In this research, we aim to 1) probe the governing factors in the molecular affinity of molecular targets to the biomimetic recognition elements at operation-relevant setting, 2) build array based on highly selective sensing elements, 3) design, fabricate, and miniaturize electronic/electrochemical/optical sensors. The sample collection, delivery, signal processing, and device-to-device communication for the miniaturized sensors and devices are being explored as well to ultimately achieve high performance molecular signature sensors that transition to flexible, wearable, and/or body-conformal chemical/biochemical monitors.

SF.15.16.B0002: Advanced Human Language Technologies for Multilingual Multimedia Information Extraction and Retrieval

Anderson, Timothy - (937) 255-8817

The objective of this research is to develop advanced human language technologies (HLTs) such as automatic speech recognition, machine translation, named entity tagging, part-of-speech tagging, and morphological analysis for use in multilingual multimedia information extraction and retrieval applications. Of particular interest are (1) algorithms and techniques to incorporate broader context(i.e., across sentences and utterances) as opposed to (or in addition to) current techniques that generally process inputs one sentence or utterance at a time without regard to prior sentences or utterances; (2) deep neural networks, long short-term memory networks, and other advanced algorithms for HLTs; (3) active on-line learning of possible translations and/or transliterations of out-of-vocabulary words encountered in machine translation; (4) methods for segmenting multi-story videos(e.g., news broadcasts) by jointly using speech and video frame information; and (5) improved methods for processing languages with little labeled training data.

SF.15.14.B0842: Dynamical Team Assessment

Funke, Gregory - (937) 938-3601

Many (if not most) contemporary Air Force operations are performed by teams. However, our current understanding of team dynamics (e.g., communication, action, cognition), their objective measurement, and their relation to team performance outcomes is limited. The objective of this research topic is to address these issues across three related areas. First, novel metrics that can be employed to quantify the maturation and quality of team dynamics need to be developed and validated. We believe that a particularly promising avenue in this regard involves the application of advanced statistical assessment and classification of team physio-behavioral responses (e.g., communication, kinematics, cardiac rhythm, eye-gaze behavior, brain activity) using nonlinear dynamical analyses. Second, the relations between those metrics and team outcomes must be established. Third, these metrics must be applied to develop and validate real-time classifiers and/or predictors of team state and performance from the identified physio-behavioral responses for use in critical, high-tempo task environments (e.g., cyber defense, remotely piloted vehicle navigation, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR).

SF.15.14.B0840: Neurobiology of Cognitive Performance

Hatcher-Solis, Candice - 937-938-2573

The goal of the Neurobiology of Cognitive Performance Team is to understand the biological mechanisms that affect performance. Our work involves physiological and behavioral (attention, anxiety, spatial memory and emotional memory) testing in rodents and examination of the neurobiological changes that occur following treatment. Current projects in our laboratory include a study on neural modulation via vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Our VNS study seeks to understand the biological mechanisms (protein expression and cell signaling pathways) by which electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve affects neuronal activity, providing insight into how this methodology affects cognitive function.

SF.15.13.B0915: Sensor Platform Development for Rapid to Real-Time Detection in Biofluids

Kim, Steve - (937) 938-3713

The ultimate goal of performance monitoring is to build sensors capable of continuous, real-time analysis of biomarkers for targets indicating stress, fatigue, vigilance, and overall other physiological conditions. Biomarkers found in biofluids can be extremely indicative of physiological state. Traditionally, these biomarkers are assessed with labor intensive biofluid (blood, saliva, urine) sampling and analysis with complex equipment and assays (HPLC, ELISA etc.). To make biomarker tracking a feasible monitoring system, sensor platforms must be developed for rapid to real time analysis. These can be in handheld form factors such as a lateral flow assays or in a wearable form factor such as a transdermal patch.
The objectives of this research are to develop sensor platforms that are amenable to either rapid or real-time analysis of biofluids. Of particular interest are blood and sweat. Sensor platforms should have a small/portable form factor for handheld assays or flexible/wireless capability for wearable form factors. Platforms should be capable of detecting a wide range of molecule types from small <300 Dalton to proteins >3000 Dalton. Additional interest lies in pre-processing of biofluids to increase sensitivity/selectivity of the sensor platform.

SF.15.12.B0913: Competency-Based Education and Training Design, Delivery and Performance Assessment Research in Blended Environments

Bennett, Winston - 602-418-9513

The U.S. Air Force is investing heavily in commercial-off-the-shelf and specialty developed medium- and high-fidelity contexts for readiness training and rehearsal. The focus is to create and or leverage methods and technologies to better blend real world and synthetic environments for learning and performance. The environments allow local and wide-area connection of virtual simulators, computer-based human-performance models, gaming environments and relevant live operational systems, such as actual aircraft.
This research topic focuses on critical research needs across a number of relevant topical areas: (a) Identification of essential knowledge, skills and experiences required for successful task, job and mission performance and the representation of these at appropriate levels of analysis. (b) Methods and tools capable of designing content for scenarios based on "A" above and on the specific mission objectives using principled instructional approaches. (c) Creation and validation of multi-level data, measures and metrics to predict, diagnose, monitor and assess the performance of learners. These methods will assist in the prescription and tailoring of content and remediation to address knowledge and skill gaps as well as help develop a new class of human performance and machine learning-based models. (d) Longitudinal explorations and periodic assessments of individual and team performance and proficiency in synthetic environments and operational settings. (e) Strategies and measures of the appropriateness of instructional and training environments for a given level of readiness or proficiency training. In other words, how much of what kind of training and remediation or rehearsal is accomplished feasibly in separate and "blended" environments, including live operational contexts? In this context, we are interested in developing and validating criterion measures related to the impact of blended environments on learning, proficiency and readiness that help quantify intervals necessary for refresher training. Research can include:
• Improving the quality and precision of needs assessment, gap and trade-space analyses
• Developing training scenario design, delivery and management tools
• Developing synthetic task environments that leverage augmented and virtual-reality environments; game-based systems; intelligent and adaptive training environments; and part-task trainers and job aids that promote and sustain engagement and involvement in the learning as well as improve performance and retention
• Rapid prototyping of novel approaches to more unobtrusive human-performance monitoring, modeling, assessment and feedback
• Developing more precise as well as generalizable ways to manage multi-source "big data" performance measurement and proficiency-tracking data and innovations (i.e. how best to visualize and package feedback data for after-action reviews)
• Evaluating the training necessary for (1) human and machine environment interaction necessary to promote teaming, (2) shared proficiency and (3) overall task and mission performance effectiveness

SF.15.07.B5700: Natural Communication for Human-Machine Teaming

Romigh, Griffin - 000-000-0000

This effort will focus on research and development of intelligent agents (e.g., expert systems, unmanned/robotic systems) capable of interacting through natural language with human and machine teammates in real-world environments. Existing natural language interaction systems rely on fixed commands, rigid turn taking, and limited ontologies (objects present in the environment) whereas human teams naturally interact in a more spontaneous and fluid fashion, often about abstract things such as: objects in the past, objects out of view, decomposition of tasks, sequencing of tasks, soft constraints, goals, etc. Under this effort, special emphasis will be put on emulating human-human communication mechanisms through processes such as grounding and miscommunication, referring as a collaborative process, establishing a shared lexicon, and natural turn taking. Applicants should have and understanding of human spoken language processes and experience with existing language technology software such as spoken dialog systems, automatic speech recognition software, and text-to-speech toolkits. The applicant will work with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and software developers to design and execute an original plan of research.

SF.15.07.B0078: Auditory Perception and Speech Communication

Thompson, Eric - 937-255-4381

The goal of the research project is to understand the mechanisms and principles by which effective communication and speech perception occur in acoustically-challenging environments (high-noise and/or “cocktail-party” scenarios) with potentially degraded speech signals (e.g., low bandwidth, or low bitrate), and explicitly apply the knowledge gained to develop effective, robust and intuitive interfaces for not just human-human communication, but also human-machine communication. Areas of research includes: 1) characterizing and modeling the sensory and cognitive constraints in complex acoustic environments with multi-sensory inputs, 2) characterizing and modeling the intelligibility of speech that has been passed through non-linear and lossy signal processing (e.g., low-bitrate vocoders), 3) Bi-directional listener-talker interactions and adaptations, 4) Characterizing the impacts on communication efficiency and effectiveness with decreasing speech intelligibility, 5) Developing intuitive, next-generation, and robust speech-based displays/speech output systems that will enhance speech and improve communication in operation environments not only for humans but also for human-machine communication.

AFRL-Airman Systems

Dr. Zelik, Daniel
Assistant Chief Scientist
711th Human Performance Wing (711 HPW/CL)
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433
Email: daniel.zelik@us.af.mil

Dr. Sharma, Gaurav
Chief Scientist (Acting)
711th Human Performance Wing (711 HPW/CL)
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433
Email: gaurav.sharma@us.af.mil

Dr. Pryor, Nina
Assistant to the Chief Scientist
711th Human Performance Wing
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433
Email: nina.pryor.ctr@us.af.mil