The Effect of Future Forces Warrior Planned Sensor Offset on Performance of Infantry Tasks: Limited User Evaluation

Report No. ARL-TR-3764
Authors: Elizabeth S. Redden, Daniel D. Turner, and Christian B. Carstens
Date/Pages: April 2006; 112 pages
Abstract: This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of offsetting the sensors in digital night vision goggles (NVGs) (thermal and image intensification [I2] sensors) from the eye. In addition to the digital prototype goggles, an enhanced NVG (ENVG), which optically combined thermal and I2 capabilities, was used as a baseline device. The experiment was executed over a period of a week with five groups of Soldiers, each of which contained six Soldiers acting as participants. Soldiers received familiarization training about the two prototype night vision devices (NVDs) and the baseline device, and they were briefed at the start of each exercise to explain what was required of them during the event. The exercises included a wide range of infantry activities to enable comprehensive assessment of features. These included grid location exercises, individual movement techniques (IMT)course trials, cross-country woodland patrols, target laser trials, and aim light mounting trials. The experiment was conducted in October 2005 during hours of darkness at various sites in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The prototypes did not perform as well as the baseline in this study on the dismounted tasks. Soldiers preferred the baseline overwhelmingly to either of the prototypes because with the baseline goggle, they could see terrain features much better for navigation and walking, for firing a laser at targets, and for performing close tasks than they could with the prototypes with the offset sensors. The prototype goggles caused the Soldiers to experience problems such as eyestrain and disorientation. It may be that the use of NVGs with offset sensors will cause Soldiers difficulty when they perform dismounted tasks. However, this conclusion cannot be stated categorically because the devices with offset sensors used in this study were prototypes and had other problems that could also have impacted their performance.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2006