Use of Vibrotactile Stimulation for Sustaining Attention of UAV Operators – Progress Report - September, 2010 – March 2011


  1. Aghaei, B.
  2. Burns, C.
  3. Morita, P.
  4. Arrabito, G.R.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN);Waterloo Univ, Waterloo Ont (CAN) Advanced Interface Design Laboratory
Military organizations, including the Canadian Forces (CF), are using Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to play an increasing role in providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). To help improve ISR capability, one area of research that requires investigation is the development of methods that could help UAV crews sustain "acceptable" performance levels in supervisory control tasks. These tasks take place over prolonged periods resulting in a vigilance decrement which is the inability of an operator to sustain attention. To help sustain the attention of UAV operators, this research attempts to develop countermeasures to combat the vigilance decrement of UAV operators. Typical techniques to counteract the vigilance decrement include the provision of a rest break and direct supervision. These existing methods, however, can be intrusive or costly in a UAV control paradigm. To address this problem, this study was designed to investigate the efficacy of vibrotactile signals for sustaining performance in auditory and visual monitoring tasks. In this first phase, 98 participants were tested individually, half of whom were randomly assigned to perform an auditory monitoring task, and the other half performed a visual monitoring task. Participants were exposed to one of four treatments: no treatment or a control condition, a rest break countermeasure condition, a low-occurrence vibrotactile countermeasure condition or a high-occurrence vibrotactile countermeasure co
Sustained attention;multimodal displays;uninhabited aerial vehicle;interface design
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2014-C36 — Contract Report
Date of publication
01 Apr 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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