A Method to Monitor Operator Overloading
This paper describes research that aims to quantify stress levels of operators who perform multiple tasks. The proposed method is based on the thermal signature of the face. It measures physiological function from a stand-off distance and therefore, it can unobtrusively monitor a machine operator. The method was tested on 11 participants. The results show that multi-tasking elevates metabolism in the supraorbital area, which is an indirect indication of increased mental load. This local metabolic change alters heat dissipation and thus, it can be measured through thermal imaging. The methodology could serve as a benchmarking tool in scenarios where an operator’s divided attention may cause harmful outcomes. A classic example is the case of a vehicle driver who talks on the cell phone. This stress measurement method when combined with user performance metrics can delineate optimal operational envelopes.
KeywordsHuman-Machine Interaction divided attention stress thermal imaging
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