Unexplained Physiological Events
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Unexplained Physiological Events

(mellow music) – UPE stands for unexplained
physiological episode or event. We’re trying to investigate
what causes these things. In some cases, a UPE will
immediately become obvious to us what happened, maybe there
was some sort of contamination in the cockpit due to an oil
leak or some other fumes, something like that,
something that would happen in an emergency, and
we’re able to identify it as a known physiological event. In other cases, pilots
will experience symptoms coming down to land, report
them, and we don’t know exactly what the cause is and those are the UPEs and we start investigating those. Most of the aircraft have
pretty sophisticated sensors when it comes to their engines
or their aircraft systems. When they land, that
information can be downloaded. There’s types of data downloads, each aircraft is slightly different. As technology improves and
we get the newer aircraft out there in the line,
F-35s, F-22s, et cetera, the amount of data that
we’re able to download from a given flight is enormous. – Take a deep breath. – [Edward] We want to get to a state where the human weapon
system is instrumented in such a way that it’s
non-invasive, non-intrusive. – Prepare the pilot for
eight Gs for five seconds, here we go. – If you think of the human in the loop, and the human can be on
the loop or in the loop, and going forward we can
talk about cyber systems and integrating across
multi-domain operations, it’s gonna be more important
than ever to make sure that the human weapon system keeps up and we’re able to monitor that. So we’re looking at sensors
that might be wearables. One of the challenges we have
in aviation is the sensors that might be worn in commercial
practice or that people might buy at a local store,
those sensors are not suitable for the aviation environment, and particularly tactical aviation. So not only do you have the
pressure and temperature anomalies that occur in
airplanes traveling up and down, but in tactical aviation,
fighters, bombers, training aircraft, there’s
an awful lot of G loading, there can be inverted flight,
there can be anomalies that go from high altitude to low altitude in a very short order, and that has a lot of wear
and tear on these sensors. Also, a lot of the sensors
now depend on, for example there are some sensors
embedded in clothing, and it depends on contact with the skin. And you may have situations
where in order to prepare yourself for a mission, the
aviators will strap down tighter than you might in an automobile. And that’s just to keep
them safe and keep them able to perform their mission,
but then that may also cause bulges in the clothing and
interferes with sensor contact. So there’s a lot of research to be done, there’s a lot of
development yet ahead of us. But I’m especially
impressed with our ability to work with our partners,
joint partners in the navy, the army is coming onboard
later this month to join us in this (mumbles) effort,
they’ve got a lot of exciting things happening in their
aerospace medicine field. And then NASA’s been a partner throughout and you really can’t beat,
from an intellectual capacity, having partners like the 711
Human Performance Wing in NASA. We’ve got the best in the world.

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