Volume 5, Number 4 July/August 1997
NEW NASA VIDEO ANALYSIS SOFTWARE tool will make working much more comfortable in space and on Earth.
Poor posture or protracted activities cause strain and fatigue for workers including busy astronauts in the seemingly unconstrained weightlessness of space.
The Posture Video Analysis Tool (PVAT) developed at Johnson Space Center (JSC) uses video from Space Shuttle flights to identify limiting posture and other human factors in the workplace that could be limiting. The software tool also provides data that recommends appropriate postures for certain tasks and safe durations for potentially harmful positions like when astronauts lay on their backs for several hours awaiting launch.
BioMetric Systems, Houston, Texas, has been granted an exclusive license to further develop PVAT for use by non-aerospace industries such as hospitals, physical rehabilitation facilities, insurance companies, sports medicine clinics, oil companies, manufacturers and the military.
BioMetric Systems is a woman-owned small business and first Native American company to license commercial technology with JSC. The international human factors engineering company will upgrade PVAT software systems for Apple Macintosh and IBM-compatible computers with the assistance of JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office.
NASA needed a low-cost, reliable method of collecting data on astronaut postures from non-scientific mission video. Traditional video analysis methods required predefined views from spacecraft cameras and specific reference points to classify working posture. Researchers use regular, nonscientific Shuttle videos to gather precise information about astronaut working postures and movements with PVAT.
PVAT uses an interactive Macintosh menu and button-driven software to collect information about a variety of postural parameters such as body orientation, body part movement, severe or mild flexation rating and task description. Analysis begins with a touch of a button once all entries are made. PVAT also includes a terminology library, animation illustrating selected posture classifications, data reduction summaries and report capabilities.
PVAT prepares astronauts for correctness of movement on Shuttle fights. It also identifies problems crews may have operating specific equipment to allow for hardware or procedure modifications that reduce fatigue and stress.
"PVAT is unique because it provides a fast and simple way to collect and classify working postures, even from videos not recorded specifically for experimental analysis," said BioMetric Systems President Candace Caminati. "We are excited about PVAT's human factors design and analysis potential in a variety of commercial industries and plan to begin use immediately."
For more information, contact Candace Caminati at Biometric Systems.
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