NINA on SESAR newsletter

NINA project has been featured in this month’s issue of SESAR newsletter.
The article describes how the project investigated the possibility of using physiological measurements to monitor air traffic controllers’ cognitive state and mental workload, and the development of the mental state classifier algorithm needed to perform the evaluation.

You can read the full news about using brain waves to assess controllers’ mental state on SESAR website.

Final meeting

On the 11th of February 2016, NINA’s final results were presented to SESAR JU. The presentation was held at a significant location: the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre (EEC), located in Brétigny-sur-Orge, France, which carries out Research and Development activities to help improve the European air traffic management system’s safety and performance.

During this last meeting, NINA partners illustrated the project final results to SESAR JU representatives not previously aware of the project. The presentation was well received, leading to a widely positive feedback from the audience.

NINA final project meeting (5)

NINA project at SESAR Innovation Days

NINA partners participated in the fifth Sesar Innovation Day 2015, hosted by University of Bologna, to present the paper “Skill, Rule and Knowledge-based behaviors detection during realistic ATM simulations by means of ATCOs’ brain activity”.

The paper aimed at describing the results gathered during the First Validation activity, where the neurophysiological measurement equipments were used to discriminate the different levels of Air Traffic controllers’ cognitive control during the execution of realistic traffic management tasks.

NINA project on the press

On the occasion of the closing of the project, an online news regarding NINA has been released by ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata), the leading news agency in Italy.

This is the summary of the content of the article, for non italian speakers.

The news describes NINA’s research, aimed at avoiding Air Traffic Controllers’ peak workload by monitoring the internal state of the ATCOs through a combination of neurophysiologic measures. This monitoring leads to a bidirectional communication between the machine and the human, thus consenting a flexible adaptation of the degree of automation as required not only by the traffic situation but also by the controller’s internal status.

The current helmet-shaped sensors could be further developed into a smaller device. In the future, this neurophysiologic equipment could be used in the remote control tower activity and to test the level of proficiency achieved by controllers, says project coordinator Simone Pozzi on the future usage of the technology developed within NINA.

The full article (available only in Italian) can be found in the Science & Technology section of ANSA website.

The news also received coverage by:
La Repubblica (IT)
Daily News 24 (IT)
Radio 24 (IT)
Maker Faire Rome (IT)
Il Carabiniere (IT)
I Tech Feel (EN)
La Naciòn (ES)
Doble Llave (ES)
El Comercio (ES)

NINA - EEG recording session 01-2015 (1)

Second Validation activity

NINA team is currently involved in the second and final validation activity of the project. The validation activity is held in Toulouse at the ENAC facilities. More than 20 students have been involved.
The objective of the simulation is twofold:

  • To confirm previous results associated with the ability of the State Classifier algorithm to discriminate the differ levels of cognitive control (SRK).
  • To assess the feasibility to trigger in real time adaptive solutions starting from the current workload perceived by ATCO.

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Last Progress Meeting

On the 10th of September the last Project Progress Meeting has been held by Deep Blue, before the second validation activity.

During the meeting, NINA partners from ENACLa Sapienza and Deep Blue discussed about adaptive automation solutions and the final agreement on the validation plan. Participants presented the preliminary activities carried out so far and finalised the planning of the Second Validation. During the first part of the meeting, information about the experimental platform, the schedule of the activities, the validation tools and methods, the SRK analysis, the adaptive automations implemented and the technical shakedown between two platforms have been discussed. The second part of the meeting was more focused on the design of the adaptive interface solutions and the presentation of the preliminary ideas for the advanced adaptive automations.
Everything is ready for the Final Validation that will be held in Toulouse at ENAC’s laboratory setting from the 28th of September until the 2nd of October.

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On the 6th of May a Workshop on adaptive interfaces solutions has been held in Rome, at Deep Blue premises, with the participation of operative controllers, automation experts, interaction design experts and the NINA Consortium (Deep Blue, Sapienza and ENAC).
Several operative high workload scenarios and a set of adaptive solutions to be tested have been generated during the workshop. This material will be useful to develop the second phase of the project, where adaptive interfaces solutions will be triggered based on the current ATCO’s workload.

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NINA project workshop

Progress meeting

On the 5th of May a Progress Meeting has been held in Rome at Deep Blue premises.

A general overview of the project and the results achieved during the First Validation Activity have been discussed and presented to the Project Officer during the meeting. In particular, the participants (Deep Blue, Sapienza and ENAC) described and provided information about:

the literature review on Human Factors concepts,
the experimental platform used during the simulations,
the validation set up, and
the validation results achieved in the first phase of the project.

The results demonstrated that the State Classifier algorithm was able to track the current ATCO’s workload with realistic ATM tasks and environments. Furthermore, the same algorithm was able to differentiate with high discrimination different levels of operator’s performance.
This first phase of the project provided encouraging results, laying the foundation for the second validation.

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NINA project progress meeting

Final validation session

At the end of February, Deep Blue, ENAC and Sapienza Università di Roma have carried out the last recording session planned for the validation activity.

Currently, data analysis are in progress with the aim to verify the reliability of the State Classifier algorithm, developed in the first phase of the project, to provide a real time evaluation of the level of cognitive workload of Air Traffic Controllers and to assess the level of proficiency achieved during training sessions.
These results will be preparatory for the next phase of the project, where these real time information coming from the State Classifier algorithm will be used to trigger new prototypal adaptive automated solutions.

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First validation session

Deep Blue, Sapienza Università di Roma and ENAC have carried out the first of the three sessions planned for validation activity.

The previous experimental sessions were conducted to record and evaluate neurophysiological signals in a laboratory setting.
In order to corroborate the initial findings of those sessions, this first validation activity aims at testing the mental workload metrics developed by NINA in real ATM environments and at verifying the existence of identifiable neurophysiological conditions associated to the levels of cognitive control (e.g. Skills-Rules-Knowledge).

The validation activity is held in Toulouse, in the ENAC’s laboratory setting, involving six Air Traffic Controllers. Neurophysiological signals (e.g. EEG, ECG and EOG) were collected during their interaction with the ENAC controller working position prototyping platform.

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