ISR Seminar: Kurtulus Izzetoglu, "Brain-in-the-loop studies to assess human performance"

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
11:00 a.m.
1146 A.V. Williams Building
Vicci Barrett

Game Changers in Technical Training and Human Performance Research: “Brain-in-the-Loop Studies to Assess Human Performance"

Kurtulus Izzetoglu
Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Drexel University

Host: Bill Regli

The past two decades have seen the growing importance of technologies deployed in providing measures of cognitive functioning as well as measures of stress or emotion in the field settings. From the field of aviation to healthcare, there are numerous unmet needs that can be addressed by properly adapting these technologies and methodologies. Quantitative assessment of joint human-system performance in manned and unmanned systems, designing training curriculum and scenarios derived from measures of expertise development through neural efficiency, accelerated training supported by adaptive, neurophysiologically-informed simulators are just few examples illustrating potential role of these technologies. Regardless of this, we can safely say that the means to assess our neurophysiological state is rapidly becoming ubiquitous. However, as scientists this trend also provides us with an opportunity to now apply such technologies in more contextually real and dynamic environments.

A number of these emerging wearable human performance monitoring technologies can help evaluate the cognitive status and capacities of the crew in the cockpit as well as those operating ground control stations. Traditionally, behavioral measures and subjective metrics have been used to address cognitive factors associated with pilots or operators of safety critical systems. However, the advance in wearable physiology technologies could provide additional performance metrics directly driven from brain based measures, potentially validating subjective assessments and ultimately bringing us closer towards maintaining safe and effective performance. Furthermore, these techniques may also aid the design and evaluation of new technologies that are being presented as increasing operational capacity, efficiency and safety across the aerospace or clinical domain. The measurement of real time brain activity from the operator can help evaluate decision making, and reliably compare workload burden of next generation system versus legacy systems in the air transportation domain. This presentation will discuss key cognitive areas of interest when attempting to explore the correlation between neurophysiological state, task load and level of expertise changes. A number of studies will be introduced whereby wearable systems, namely functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), are used to evaluate human performance. The potential advantages and challenges will also be discussed in relation to implementing such sensors in real operational settings.

Kurtulus Izzetoglu is an Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia. Dr. Izzetoglu’s research and teaching interests are in functional brain imaging, human performance, learning, training, medical sensor development, biomedical systems and signal processing. He has background in both electrical and biomedical engineering coupled with experience of developing a highly portable functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system for use in field applications and translational neuroimaging.  

Izzetoglu has nearly 10 years of experience focusing on development of performance and training assessment metrics, joint human-system performance and integration in the field settings, sensors, novel algorithms and techniques to deploy wearable human performance monitoring technologies in aviation and medical domain. He has served as the principal or co-investigator in research projects funded by US federal agencies, including DoD, FAA, NIH as well as corporate partners. He managed a multi-year other transactions agreement (iOTA) between Drexel and FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, and conducted various projects related to human in the loop studies in aviation. He has been institutional principal investigator and the lead for the Drexel University’s efforts for the FAA Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance (TTHP), and for the FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) - Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). The ASSURE is a 5(+5)-year, funded program for the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into National Airspace System (NAS). Both programs have been awarded by competitive process and led by a consortium of the public sector, academic institutions, and industry partners. Some of his research projects include: 1) cognitive workload assessment of air traffic controllers, pilots and unmanned aircraft pilots and operators, 2) cognitive baselining and index developments, 3) role of neurotechnology to improve pilot training, 4) effects of immersive VR manipulative interventions on spatial visualization and transfer of learning.


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