Monday, May 28, 2007

Factoring Humans

A large part of why we're here is to be subjects in a number of human factors experiments. The experiments are designed both to find out how humans adapt to isolation, crowding and other conditions relevant to long-term space exploration, and to explore remedies for known problems. So, we're measuring, tracking, introspecting, and filling in questionnaires all the time. It's a pain, but worth it (we hope).

Last night, I started my turn as a subject in the CASPER sleep study, which involves sticking electrodes on your chest, plugging them into the LifeShirt you're wearing, plugging the LifeShirt into a PDA, filling out a questionnaire, then having a relaxing night's sleep. Here's me getting wired before bed:

The gear was actually quite comfortable, but the idea that someone is going to be analyzing your vital signs to determine how good you are at losing consciousness can induce a bit of, well, performance anxiety. I didn't lose any sleep over it.


Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Kim! You are peering intently at something. Either that, or you and your computer have had a terrible argument and you are not speaking to each other. Never go to bed angry, Kim, those monitor things might zap you.

Kim Binsted said...

My work is almost entirely peering intently - at computers, at students, at bits of paper that aren't saying what I want them to say, etc. In this case, I'm peering intently at the PDA that records my vital signs for the sleep study, and asks me questions about my state of mind. When the picture was taken it was asking me, in a nicely self-referential way, if I had had any stressful interactions with technology that might disturb my sleep.

Sarah said...

The obvious question - what about sex? Masturbation? I suspect the life vest measures this element of life? What's the hab protocol on self-pleasure in a contained space? Scientific inquiry awaits your answer.

Kim Binsted said...

To quote Marc O'Griofa, the lead scientist on the sleep study, when asked this by the crew: "Just. Take. It. Off." After several more "but what if" type questions, Marc grimaced and promised us the dry cleaning bill if we failed to follow this simple instruction.

The general hab protocol on this and related matters is "don't do anything you don't mind everyone else hearing." The walls are very, very thin.

Lora said...

The best questions come up on this blog!

Monsieur Loki was spied yesterday rolling in the grass aptly directing Bonnie's tickling fingers wherever he wanted them to go. Wish we could send photos to YOU!
He apparently is requesting brekkie at around 1 a.m. which she is happy to oblige, as that keeps him from other, less pleasant to us humans, dining experiments.
He is happy to follow Bonnie and Bon Bon on their walking adventures as well.

Kim Binsted said...

Loki has moved on to another woman and dog. I should have known he wouldn't stay 'single' for long - especially once he found someone willing to meet his insatiable food needs.

But you can send pictures! Just email them to me, or put them up on some site like Shutterfly. The only rule is that I have to wait 20 min before I look at them, but it'll probably take that long for me to download them, anyway.


Lora said...

I'll start grabbing some recent KBC photos then, with focus on Loki and if I can get Ms. Leia, (I always mess up the spelling of her name, sorry) I'll pop her in too. No ears. (hee hee)Will advise their locale.

Should I send to your Professorial email, Ms. Tenure?

Kim Binsted said...

Professorial email would be fine, thank you! And you got Leia's name just right!