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ZAG-Otolith: Modification of Otolith-Ocular Reflexes, Motion Perception and Manual Control during Variable Radius Centrifugation Following Space FlightTwo joint ESA-NASA studies are examining changes in otolith-ocular reflexes and motion perception following short duration space flights, and the operational implications of post-flight tilt-translation ambiguity for manual control performance. Vibrotactile feedback of tilt orientation is also being evaluated as a countermeasure to improve performance during a closed-loop nulling task. METHODS. Data is currently being collected on astronaut subjects during 3 preflight sessions and during the first 8 days after Shuttle landings. Variable radius centrifugation is utilized to elicit otolith reflexes in the lateral plane without concordant roll canal cues. Unilateral centrifugation (400 deg/s, 3.5 cm radius) stimulates one otolith positioned off-axis while the opposite side is centered over the axis of rotation. During this paradigm, roll-tilt perception is measured using a subjective visual vertical task and ocular counter-rolling is obtained using binocular video-oculography. During a second paradigm (216 deg/s, <20 cm radius), the effects of stimulus frequency (0.15 - 0.6 Hz) are examined on eye movements and motion perception. A closed-loop nulling task is also performed with and without vibrotactile display feedback of chair radial position. PRELIMINARY RESULTS. Data collection is currently ongoing. Results to date suggest there is a trend for perceived tilt and translation amplitudes to be increased at the low and medium frequencies on landing day compared to pre-flight. Manual control performance is improved with vibrotactile feedback. DISCUSSION. One result of this study will be to characterize the variability (gain, asymmetry) in both otolithocular responses and motion perception during variable radius centrifugation, and measure the time course of postflight recovery. This study will also address how adaptive changes in otolith-mediated reflexes correspond to one's ability to perform closed-loop nulling tasks following G-transitions, and whether manual control performance can be improved with vibrotactile feedback of orientation.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wood, S. J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Clarke, A. H. (Charite-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany)
Rupert, A. H. (Army Aeromedical Research Lab. Fort Rucker, AL, United States)
Harm, D. L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Clement, G. R. (International Space Univ., Inc. Strasbourg, France)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
HRP Investigators'' Workshop(Houston, TX)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits