Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


N. Human-Systems Interface (HSI)

1. Scope

Army requirements stemming from soldier, mission, system, and environmental heterogeneity must contend with boundary conditions not encountered by other Services or in the private sector. HSI technologies leverage and extend the capabilities of the Army’s warfighters and maintainers to ensure that fielded systems will exploit the fullest potential of the warfighting team, irrespective of gender, mission, or environment. HSI technologies rest on a sound, scientific basis to ensure that the boundaries encountered are open frontiers, not barriers to effectiveness. To best address resulting requirements, Army HSI technologies are organized into four subareas: Information Management and Display develops methods and media to process and deliver task-critical information to individuals, teams, and organizations. Performance Aiding technologies minimize human error, overcome sensory and physical limitations, and improve mission performance. System Supportability develops and demonstrates specialized technologies to improve the functional operation and logistical support of defense weapon and automated information systems. Design Integration develops technology to integrate crew members with weapon system hardware and software to ensure maximum mission effectiveness, survivability, and supportability. This section reflects the tri-Service Reliance Technology Area Plan (TAP) for HSI. In the interest of leveraging internal resources, HSI research and resulting technologies are horizontally integrated across subareas to the fullest extent possible (see Technology Roadmap).

2. Rationale

The most important warfighting system is the individual soldier and the immediate functional unit, well equipped with modern weaponry and equipment. The soldier-system interface—that link between the human and electronic, mechanical and other physical devices and aids, in real and simulated environments and events—is often subject to errors in perception, cognition, situational awareness, and decision making. HSI success is also predicated on managing the effects of fatigue, physical overload, and stress. From the individual soldier's weapon through complex team-operated systems, HSI research is essential to meeting JCS warfighting needs in emerging quick-reaction, information-intensive, operational environments. With this emergence, the human has become, simultaneously, the enabling component and the limiting factor in military operations. Today’s environment requires minimizing both soldier-system costs and exposure to combat risks. To this end, HSI technologies focus on enabling smart, systematic downsizing of both equipment and personnel ranks, while leaping ahead in battlefield mission effectiveness to provide quick, decisive victory.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Information Management and Display (IMD)

Goals and Time Frames

The primary goal of IMD is to maximize information throughput from available and emerging sensors, processors, and displays to warfighters, including commanders. IM&D research develops supportable, time-sensitive information handling and display components which serve as visual and auditory HSI for both weapons and support systems. A second goal is development of simulation interfaces of sufficient fidelity to (1) enhance mission planning and (2) permit diagnostic examination of emerging technologies and concepts, as if they were mature enough for fielding. Supporting efforts include model development. Maturation of intelligence-filter visualization for C3I (see STO IV.N.01, Intelligent User Interfaces) is projected for 1997. By 1998, intervehicular dispersed decision-making equipment and concepts will be field tested. By 2004, 3-D video and audio "immersion" displays will dramatically enhance situational awareness, survivability, and effectiveness while reducing potential fratricide. By 2010, 3-D volumetric and immersion devices, as well as cost- and workload-reducing benefits of voice-, eye-, brain-, and touch-operated interfaces will have tri-Service commonality.

Major Technical Challenges

Too little time and too many information sources, ranging from low to high conditions of uncertainty, threaten to overwhelm the human capacity to monitor available data and to successfully and interactively query and manage multiple data sources. Specific challenges are as the follows:

b. Performance Aiding

Goals and Timeframes

These technologies will enable soldiers to operate well beyond normal mental, physical, and perceptual capabilities and will enhance system performance in stressful, hazardous, time-constrained, inhospitable, and remote environments. Time-phased goals are as follows: Through 1997, conduct field evaluations for computer-aided crisis management decision support; conduct field evaluations of unmanned robotic command vehicles; integrate and test mobile manipulator platform control; conduct ergonomic task analyses to redesign tasks and equipment to lower physical requirements. By 1998, enhance small arms shooter accuracy, reliability, and recoil management; demonstrate concepts for battlefield synchronization; establish tactile feedback database for a range of simulation devices; demonstrate "on-the-move" collaborative techniques. By 1999, develop and evaluate algorithms for real-time tactical decision making; evaluate collaborative visualization for distributed problem solving.

Major Technical Challenges

Technical challenges are varied.

c. System Supportability

Goals and Timeframes

The goal of this subarea is to improve affordability and availability by improving system operability, maintainability, and logistical supply while reducing life-cycle support costs. The Army must produce technology to provide early estimates of human factors, manpower, personnel and training (HMPT), and associated human performance requirements and costs for the HSI, and to enfold those requirements in acquisition and design. This area directly complements and integrates HSI efforts in seeking a scientific understanding of the factors that can enhance or diminish overall human-system performance. By the end of 1997, task analysis models to predict maintainer performance will be ready for validation. The set of computerized human factors integration tools (IMPRINT) will, by 1999, provide simulation-based determination of training and system supportability concepts, requirements, and resources. By the close of 1999, these techniques will be robust enough to permit valid quantitative trade-off analyses among HMPT variables and design options; this will allow decision makers to readily examine variations in system performance as a function of such soldier elements as manpower levels, personnel staffing, and training investment. These analytical models will be derived from human performance data. The far term will provide real-time operational system supportability and operational readiness assessment capability.

Major Technical Challenges

A major issue in defense system modernization concerns the increasing complexity of weapon systems which are being developed and the need to support those systems with personnel who can effectively operate and maintain them. While such systems can gain in technical complexity, the human cannot adapt as quickly as the changes require. Training and system complexity must be optimized to meet soldier needs. R&D is needed to map out the edges of the envelope concerning attention saturation, excessive mental workload, manpower utilization, and the HSI's optimization of BIT/BITE or embedded training technologies. That is, it must be determined how best to balance soldier resources and requirements with emerging technologies in order to maintain full military readiness, availability, sustainability, and effectiveness.

d. Design Integration

Goals and Timeframes

The pace, complexity, and precision of the future joint warfighting environment demand weapons systems that fully exploit the human contribution. Effective design tools, HSI models and databases, and performance metrics, usable throughout the RDT&E process, are required to produce a fully integrated crew-weapon or information system. This is accomplished by inserting human-system performance and cost variables into the system design process. Both a national and international technology capability must be developed to enable human performance assessment and modeling, and to provide tools and methods for enhancing physical accommodation, human error and reliability assessment, and soldier or crew "station" design and testing, all within the synergistic context of weapon system engineering. There is collaboration with the Army’s MANPRINT program and this subarea. Technology timeframes: In 1997, validate a computer simulation model of military intelligence production; demonstrate a reconfigurable cockpit simulator; and validate Crewman's Associate design on a simulator. By the end of 1997, develop a database to support analysis of the Soldier as a System. By 1998, in coordination with the Battle Lab, quantify soldier performance for Force XXI; demonstrate a mission reconfigurable crew station. By 1999, develop full-body human CAD templates (see STO IV.N.03, Human Figure Performance Model). By 2000, implement dynamic clothing in the JACK model; fully integrate GASCO into the MIDAS tools suite. Finalize standardized individual soldier performance measures for use on the twin U.S.-France outdoor soldier performance analysis research course. By 2005, develop the database to support international soldier modernization. By 2010, wear the HSI "cockpit" to the platform; complete multi-modal interactive sensory displays.

Major Technical Challenges

While an enormous amount of human performance data has been collected over the past 50 years, it is largely inaccessible to the engineering design community. Consequently, HSI has been performed relatively late in the design cycle, and evaluations, until quite recently, have been conducted only with costly physical prototypes. The most critical challenges include:

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Human System Interfaces is shown at Table IV-N-1, below.

Table IV-N-1. Technical Objectives for Human-Systems Interface (HSI)*

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