The complexity and round-the-clock nature of NASA operations in low Earth orbit and future deep space missions, along with isolation in the hostile environment of space, can induce levels of acute and chronic stress that could compromise astronaut performance, leading to errors that could affect science payloads, crew safety and mission success. For the exploration of space a method is needed to assess operator state, quickly and reliably detect stress, and provide objective feedback to the individual, crew, and ground support, in order to mitigate adverse events and mishaps. We propose to develop a system that makes use of equipment that would be inherent to any spacecraft to identify Individualized, Noninvasive Speech Indicators for Tracking Elevations in Stress (INSITES). The goal of this INSITES project is to develop an unobtrusive, objective, and reliable detector of stress that measures changes in speech and vocalizations from equipment (microphones, communications systems, computers) used during operations, without requiring additional sensors or dedicated processing hardware. Under this project, Quantum Applied Science and Research (QUASAR) and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) will define features in speech known to indicate stress, develop algorithms to extract these features from recorded audio streams, and adapt QUASAR’s machine learning cognitive state classification software, QStates, to process these speech features in real-time from voice audio streams. We will create models for stress based on these features, and provide a real-time visual output describing an individual’s stress level. The team will also develop the plans for software or hardware integration for a completed tool for implementation in NASA spacecraft and habitats to detect changes in stress acutely and over time. Doing so could potentially provide an opportunity to assess and intervene before it adversely impacts mission safety, effectiveness, or success.
Unobtrusive, low volume, easily-integrated stress detection for all NASA missions involving constrained space and weight, including Earth-based training, low Earth orbit, and deep space.
Multiple markets across both military and civilian mission critical environments where personnel operate and communicate in stressful environments. In particular, this technology could extend to military and commercial pilots, air traffic control operators, security or first response teams, as well as elite performance teams where audio communication is enabled by wearable headsets.