A TechSolutions-sponsored project has been honored with an award from the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) for its TS-872 Breathing Dynamics Trainer, created in a collaboration with the Naval Aviation Training Systems and Ranges Program Office at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR PMA-205) and the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC).
The Breathing Dynamics Trainer won the 2023 NTSA Modeling and Simulation award in the Education and Human Performance award category, which was presented at a ceremony 28 November during the Interservice Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida.
TechSolutions is a department within the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global, which quickly responds to viable requests for new or improved technologies or systems from Sailors and Marines. In the case of the Breathing Dynamics Trainer, Jason Payne, director, TechSolutions, said there was already training for pilots to experience hypoxia (low oxygen) using the Mask on Breathing Device (MOBD). However, TechSolutions received a request to expand its capabilities so that pilots could experience the effects of other breathing issues in a safe training environment, such as hyperoxia (too much oxygen) and excessive inhalation/exhalation pressures.
“There’s other physiological conditions that can be experienced based on the gas inhaled and exhaled, its content, the pressure at which it’s made available, and the pressure at which you exhale into the mask,” Payne said. “Our developers added new profiles to the trainer so that aviators could experience, in the classroom, conditions thought to be associated with physiological episodes that were leading to catastrophes.”
The Dynamic Altitude Breathing Threats Research and Development Team includes Principal Investigator, Beth Wheeler Atkinson, a senior research psychologist with the Basic and Applied Training and Technologies for Learning and Evaluation (BATTLE) lab, who thanked the team for their achievement.
“It took everyone’s skills, expertise and hands to accomplish this effort successfully. I truly appreciate the effort and contributions you each made to working this challenge for the aviation survival training community,” Atkinson said.
Along with Atkinson, the development team for the Breathing Dynamics Trainer included Mitchell Tindall, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD); Emily Anania, NAWCTSD; Kylie Fernandez-Lee, NAWCTSD; Cdr. Heath Clifford, Navy Medicine Operational Training Command (NMOTC); Lt. Alicia Jordan, Aeromedical Safety Office, Marine Aircraft Group 31; Lt. James Lewis, Training Air Wing Six (CTW-6); and Lt. Tyler Welden, Training Air Wing Five (CTW-5).
“The development team took an idea and ran with it,” he said. “But it began with an idea from a Sailor in the aviation training community who recognized an issue and asked us to help develop a solution. This is exactly why TechSolutions was created, and so we encourage Navy and Marine personnel, no matter their rank or occupation, to contact us about their challenges that may be solved with new or improved technology.”