SIFT awarded NASA Phase I SBIR for ANSIBLE
NASA has awarded SIFT a Phase I SBIR for exploring the use of virtual environments for astronauts in deep space missions. ANSIBLE (A Network of Social Interactions for Bilateral Life Enhancement) can be used pre, during, and post flight to connect the flight crew with their family, friends, and the ground crew to provide a sense of social consistency and permanence. ANSIBLE is a multi-modal toolset that 1) adapts, rearranges, and modifies human interaction streams to minimize the disruptive impact of communication latencies and 2) leverages virtual worlds (VW) to provide a space where humans and intelligent virtual agents (VA) can be companions, advisors, provided psychological support, and share experiences. VAs capable of detecting changes in astronaut psychosocial states can increase astronaut self-awareness, suggest countermeasures, and provide rehearsal scenarios to maintain and enhance interpersonal skills. University of Southern California(USC)'s Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT) has been at the forefront of applying VWs and VAs to training, therapy, and even detection of depression. SIFT will leverage its ongoing work with NASA's BHP group in unobtrusive detection of psychosocial dimensions, and work together with Dr. Jacquelyn Morie to apply and enhance these technologies to define the future social landscape that connects the flight crew with Earth.