Towards a Closed-Loop Neurostimulation Platform for Augmenting Operator Vigilance.


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Vigilance is a primary job-performance requirement for human operators in domains that demand sustained attention, including air traffic control (ATC), surveillance, emergency response and many others. In this pilot study we introduce the prerequisites and conditions that facilitate a novel closed-loop, adaptive neurostimulation system to alleviate vigilance decrements during prolonged time-on-task efforts. Here, we investigate the use of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) with preset stimulation parameters - intensity (I), duration (t), and, probe location to augment the operators' vigilance state during an under-arousing task. To this end, we employ an app-based psychomotor-vigilance test (PVT), where performance metrics are analyzed along with physiological and cognitive bio-markers to explore opportunities toward a predictive framework. Initial observations (N = 19) suggest that - (1) a prolonged version of the PVT (40 min.) can function both as a diagnostic and an inductive mechanism for vigilance loss, (2) tDCS can serve to restore/ improve operator vigilance states relative to baseline performance levels, and (3) short-term heart rate variability (HR/V) features (3 min.) and the fNIRS signal are sensitive to state changes during the PVT, and to the effects of stimulation.
tDCS, neuromodulation, fNIRS, heart rate variability
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