Task Sensorimotor Assessment and Rehabilitation Apparatus: Procedures and Equipment (Schubert) (Completed)
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:33 AM (Central)
Short Title: SARA
Responsible HRP Element: Human Health Countermeasures
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):


Long-duration spaceflight leads to sensorimotor problems which can be critical during landing, rendezvous, and operations on other planetary surfaces. While specific sensorimotor effects have been identified, it is not known which ones have the most adverse impact, or how best to assess them in an operational setting both inflight and immediately postflight. The goal of this study is to develop a device and procedures that will provide a simple and rapid process for measuring sensorimotor alterations without assistance and in minimal time.

Specific Aims

The study has the following Specific Aims:

1) Refinement of spaceflight sensorimotor-alteration analogs.

2) Development of a device and software for sensorimotor assessment. It will assess performance on sensorimotor tasks determined to be most relevant based on the studies of Specific Aim 1, previous parabolic-flight experience, and knowledge of adaptation to long-duration space flight. The device and procedures will provide a simple and rapid process for measuring sensorimotor alterations, without assistance and in minimal time (15-20 minutes).

3) Testing of the device and procedures with sensorimotor analogs and parabolic flight. Testing in parabolic flight is a key component, as it produces some effects similar to those of spaceflight, albeit acutely, including alterations in otolith-ocular function, posture, locomotion, and motor control.


The device will be designed to measure, initially, the following functional behaviors that are relevant to safe and effective functioning and are also affected by long-duration spaceflight:

1) Dynamic visual acuity (DVA), a functional measure of vestibulo-ocular and head-eye control.

2) Translational DVA (tDVA), a measure of otolith function and otolith-ocular control.

3) Postural control, by measuring body sway after a transient disturbance.

4) Locomotion, by measuring alterations in the coupling between pitching head movements and vertical body motions during walking, and by assessing variability in stride length and timing which are predictors of fall risk.

5) Roll vection, induced by a rotating visual field that establishes conflicting visual and vestibular orientation information. Head movement in response to these conflicting cues provides a measure of how well this conflict is resolved.

6) Manual control, by joystick tracking of a visual target, interspersed with a target-identification task that requires rapid response to an intermittent peripheral target without disruption of the main task.

The apparatus to accomplish these assessments is based on a notebook computer, with joystick and head/body movement sensors. Embedded software will allow rapid assessment of sensorimotor capabilities. The device will be small, require little power and space and provide essentially a self-contained sensorimotor lab/clinic.

How task will fill or partially fill the gap

This study will refine the procedures and hardware necessary to produce a portable device capable of rapid and autonomous assessments of changes in sensorimotor function in operational environments.