Whether in the laboratory or in the field, meaningful research results depend on meaningful measurements.  To this end, IBR and colleagues utilize several high-fidelity software-based simulations to capture critical aspects of behavior and operational performance in response to various fatigue-relevant conditions.

The Operational & Fatigue Research Unit (OFR) oversees a PC-based driving simulator in IBR’s laboratory facilities for assessments of attention and basic driving performance.  More recently, IBR commissioned development of several high-fidelity truck driving simulation scenarios for the SAFR (Scheduling and Fatigue Research) project in collaboration with colleagues at Applied Simulation Technologies and DriveWise.  The result of this innovative effort is a software and mobile simulator system that permits field testing of truckers’ driving behavior before and after their multi-day trips, thereby allowing assessments of fatigue and recovery from real operations with the benefits of testing in a standardized and controlled setting.

The Applied Behavioral Biology Unit (ABB) utilizes the custom-programmed Planetary Exploration Simulation (PES) software package, an interactive 4-person simulated geological exploration task supported by NSBRI and developed at IBR in cooperation with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).  The PES models the problem-solving, distributed communication, and task interdependence inherent to many routine space exploration activities, and has served as an experimental platform for systematically testing the effects of circadian phase and extended work shifts on neurobehavioral function, task performance, and social interaction in established long-term work groups.