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Virtual Realities - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Virtual Realities"
We propose to evaluate the effectiveness of using Immersion Virtual Reality (IVR) technology in place of Neutral Buoyancy Simulation (NBS) for training NASA astronauts to perform extravehicular Activities (EVAs) in order to reduce training costs and safety risks as well as to improve astronaut performance.
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Download file "Virtual Realities" to see previous pages... NASA's mandate is to address three elements before introducing a new training modality: reduce training costs, improve safety and improve astronaut performance. Any new technique needs to demonstrate superiority in at least one of these parameters. It is important to note that there is a significant 'S-curve' effect in adopting any new methodology: lots of effort going in,
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then significant payback as the new methodology is adopted and demonstrates greater productivity.
One can look at NBS as a 'perfected' technology, one in which a lot more effort will not improve the methodology very much. If, on the other hand, IVR can be shown to be superior at present, the 'S-Curve' effect dictates a greater improvement in the future.
NBS has been established since the 1960's to help train astronauts on EVA. There is therefore a substantial record of learning times on specific tasks, which can then be correlated using real spacewalk experience. With over 30 astronauts who have gone through the NBS training, then the actual EVA experience, we therefore have a database to establish four elements:
Two elements: cost to train and effectiveness, can be measured on NBS in a fairly straightforward way. Safety, however, can only be subjectively addressed. This is because there have been no significant safety problems that have led to the loss of an astronaut or a hazard that has stopped an entire mission.
In this case, a 'score sheet' for NBS would look as follows:

On the ground
In space
Cost per trained astronaut
Tasks performed effectively
% of tasks performed effectively
% of tasks performed effectively
Tasks performed safely
Subjective rating (1-10)
Subjective rating (1-10)

By comparing on-the-ground NBS scores with in-space actual scores, we can therefore 'normalize' the NBS effectiveness and safety results to correlate them with in-space EVA results.
Each of the tasks judged to be important can be thus scored, and a complete score for all NBS tasks for eventual EVA tasks can be evaluated and scored, as follows, one score sheet each for effectiveness and safety:
Effectiveness Score Sheet (example)

% achieved
Weighting 1-10
Activity 1
85/95= 89%
Activity 2
. . .

By weighting each task in regards to its importance to the mission, NASA can come up with an overall weighted score which allows for establishing the effectiveness of the training, and how much additional improvement can be made per task, and in overall EVA tasks performed. The three ways to use this are:
1. Establish the effectiveness of training using NBS on the eventual results.
2. Create a 'score' which normalizes NBS results for use when looking at IVR, and
3. Establish which areas have the greatest potential for improvement, thereby increasing overall scores.
The above scoring approach works for both the safety ...Download file "Virtual Realities" to see next pagesRead More
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