Virtual Reality Situated Knowledge Acquisition and Manipulation informs Space Medical Workstation Design Requirements
Event Type
Poster Presentation
TimeThursday, April 152:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
LocationHospital Environments
DescriptionFuture space missions will have humans experiencing space environments for longer durations, and increasingly farther from Earth, both in transit and for sustained surface operations. As such, the medical capability to ensure their health and safety must also evolve. NASA’s Exploration Medical Capability project within the Human Research Program addresses the breadth of concerns therein, from the definition of the required medical capability for different missions to the derived skills, equipment, consumables, and facilities required to support that capability. This work focused on a method for defining requirements associated with the design of a medical workstation for a notional long-duration transit habitat and the interfaces between a medical workstation to that vehicle.

Two candidate medical workstations were designed to be representative of possible layouts for a microgravity, long-duration transit habitat. These designs served as artifacts in a situated knowledge acquisition exercise to identify medical workstation requirements from subject matter experts. Twelve emergency medical physicians and residents from the Eastern Virginia Medical School experienced Virtual Reality representations of the candidate medical workstations, for normative (physical exam) and emergent (cardiac arrest) medical scenarios. Following these scenario-based exercises, participants revisited the workstations to provide retrospective, comparative commentary. Finally, participants selected the closest workstation to their preference, and altered that virtual workstation to better match their recommendations. Feedback, data, and observations resulting from this process then informed medical capability requirements for long duration space operations, and missions beyond Low Earth Orbit.

This experience underscored the value of situating design commentary in a representative environment and providing the opportunity for subject matter experts to convey requirements and preferences through direct manipulation of that environment. This method proved useful in supporting rapid design iteration and convergence on some features across participants. This presentation will highlight the process and utility of this methodology and the results used to inform the design of future space vehicle medical workstations.