Earth Applications

Sensorimotor disturbances are not limited to spaceflight. They are associated with many clinical disorders on Earth and often accompany the aging process. Commercial, military and general aviation pilots are at risk from spatial disorientation. The Sensorimotor Adaptation Team's research has applications for Earth use in the following ways:
  • Balance training programs and sensory-feedback systems will be useful in clinical rehabilitation, potentially aiding in the prevention of falls, particularly in the aging population;
  • Spatial orientation technologies can be used to support personal navigation on Earth;
  • Spatial disorientation monitoring and analysis tools for use in low gravity can be used by aircraft pilots; and
  • Systems mimicking sensorimotor effects could be used for vestibular rehabilitation and pre-habituation prior to surgical intervention.

An in-flight treadmill training program under development by NSBRI and NASA will help astronauts readapt to gravity after long periods of weightlessness. The techniques will also have benefits to patients on Earth, such as the elderly who suffer from balance disorders.