Human Factors of Night Vision Goggles 'Literature Review' chapter

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Transportation
  • Type: 'Literature Review' chapter
  • Paper: #81095109

Excerpt from 'Literature Review' chapter :

Night Vision Goggles: Fatigue and Decline Cognitive Levels

Night Vision Goggles: Fatigue and Decline of Cognitive Levels

In modern combat missions, the desire to operate at night is paramount because of the heightened enemy prowess against aggressors. As a result, technology has fostered the possibility of developing systems that would minimize the challenges associated with darkness. A common example of this technology is the Night Vision Goggles (NVG). However, because of physical and physiological challenges associated with NVG technology, pilots have often been dissatisfied with their careers. This situation has often forced many of them to leave their current workplaces in search for the ones that address cognitive and psychological problems associated with the use of the gadget. This research proposal will prove that NVG causes fatigue and lowers the quality of cognitive judgments required in piloting. While identifying the problems associated with NVG technology in piloting, this study will provide satellite propositions where future researches will focus -- scope of the study. The literature reviews have supported the existence of the problems related to the use of NVG in piloting. The study also provides recommendations and possible solutions to the identified problems.

Statement Problem

Night Vision Goggles (NVG) is a successful technology in the military aviation industry. However, its success has several shortcomings, which occasion usability problems. Pilots using this technology are accustomed to mental and physical suffering. Occasional inabilities triggered by poor working environment naturally demoralize the pilot. As a result, labor loss results in further financial losses in the aviation industry (Craig et al., 2006). However, the central area of interest in this research is the quality of cognitive judgments among pilots. In piloting, coherent judgments are essential; ineffective judgments resulting from poor syntax construction is a demerit that affects the proper control of an aircraft, which may cause accidents. Fatigue in the airline industry is caused by various factors associated with the night vision goggles, which are bulky and are mounted bulky helmet (McLean, 1999). As a result, the pilot is forced to support the heavy gadgets for long hours. This factor cause neck and back pains. Further to this, Parush et al. (2011) establishes that Pilots are required to work in demanding situations.

Environmental factors, which are aided by use of night vision goggles, are significant in causing increased fatigue levels. These are aspects related to terrain, weather, lighting, and climate. In fact, the pilots are expected to respond to challenging physiological and physical demands with outmost accuracy. Brickner (1980) showed that the technical complexity of NVG technology combined with a demanding working environment naturally overpowers accommodative capacity of moderate human being. Besides, gravity problems also cause many challenges to the piloting practice. Hung-Sheng et al. (2013) established that a pilot's nervous system is subject to push-pull factors of gravity. Physiologically, when a pilot tilts his or her head, the weight of these crystals causes the membrane to shift due to gravity and sensory hairs, which detect the shift. Therefore, the combined challenges in piloting primarily lead to heightened fatigue levels (Hung-Sheng et al., 2013).

Significance of this study

Training pilots is an expensive initiative that requires time, finances, and capital resource mobilization. The clinical problems established in the above description are potent factors that explain the high labor mobility in the airline industry (Parush et al., 2011). The purpose of this research is to establish factors leading to fatigue levels and their effect of cognitive requirements, standards, and thresholds in the airline industry. The research will analyze relevant literature in the medical and labor field. Central objectives include the development of quantifiable physiological research relating to fatigue and cognitive factors. Secondly, the information generated from this research will be applied to diagnose fatigue instigators and how they can be managed by future industrial standards (Hung-Sheng et al., 2013).

Scope of the study (Future detailed research)

The upcoming research will collect data from pilots, psychologists, and human resource managers. Research question will be oriented to ensure that respondents offer vital information based on real live experiences. In particular, research questions will inherently seek to investigate the relationship between fatigue and cognitive levels. This research is timely challenged by the absence of aviation engineers. The researcher has not yet identified sources from this field. Primarily, aviation engineers are the nucleus behind the development of cockpit technologies (Craig et al., 2006). Lack of no data from this group will affect this research and constraining it from achieving reliable results.

Research questions

Q1. To what degree are pilots comfortable in their career?

Q2. To what extent do rising fatigue levels affect cognitive levels of a pilot?

Q3. How do lowered cognitive capabilities discourage pilots from practicing efficiently?

Literature Review


A night vision goggle is an electronically powered optical device that allows images to be produced at a given level of light even in total darkness. Although night vision goggles have been used in military and other law enforcement agencies, the aviation industry is increasingly adapting its usage. In darkness, lighting is necessary if proper vision is to be achieved. In the aviation field, the most commonly used night vision goggles are the Panoramic Night Vision Goggles. These are superior devices using close to 20mm image intensifier tubes (Brickner, 1980).

History of night vision goggles in Aviation

In July 1972, the U.S. Army Combat Development Experimentation Command (USACDEC) validated a series helicopter clear Night Defense Experiments. The experiments focused on how trainees could respond effectively even in darkness. During the Cold war era, conducting night attacks was paramount since enemies were constantly adopting parallel and vicious technologies (Oldham, 1990). In a military briefing in late 1975, it was shown that the Middle East War on U.S. could be successful if the military adopted night operations. Night vision is developed from three primary technologies. First, the Active illumination works in principle of coupling intensification technology. This technology uses the shortwave infrared (SWIR) band and near infrared (NIR) (Craig et al., 2006).

The second technology and the most common in aviation is image intensification. The underlying principle is its ability to magnify the amount of protons received from various sources. Lastly, the thermal imaging technology operates by detecting the temperate differences forecasted on the background of the objects. In February 1976, the military fully acknowledged the integration of night vision helmets for successful night missions. This was backed seen in the publication of Training Circular (TC) 1-28 Rotary Wing Flight (Bailey, 2012).

Impact of night vision goggles in piloting

Following the 1976 publication, several companies began pursuing technologies that would boost night vision devices. Currently, night vision devices are constructed of anodized aircraft aluminum. The helmet is designed to respond to demanding ergonomic requirements (Brickner, 1980). Key considerations include proper respiration process and response to bodily discharges. The helmets are suited with up to 25mm optical displays. Primarily, the NVG tube receiver behind the objective lens propels light from a wide range in the spectrum of the deep red area. The tube is suited with a phosphor screen, which is viewed through an eyepiece lens (McLean, 1999). This screen enables a magnification of +2 to -6 diopter adjustment, with an eye relief of 14mm at 25mm distance. Most of these devices are powered by the docking deck situated in the airplane cockpit. This feature makes it possible for night vision goggles to gain popularity in the aviation industry (Craig et al., 2006).


The ocular configuration, which determines the nature of the NVG, is adjusted differently to meet the demands in a given environment. Primarily, there are three main components in NVG technology. These are monocular NVG configuration. This configuration has components like single objective lens and amplifying tube in a single eyepiece. This device can only be used with one eye. The biocular NVG configuration has a single objective lens in a single tube, but has two earpieces. The two eyes are intensified in one single tube. The binocular device right hand image has two objective lenses and two intensifying tubes. The configuration tube has an upper hand since it has two separate intensified images from two separate viewpoints. The depth perception in enhanced with contrast, expansion and detection (Chen et al., 2011)

How Night Vision goggle works

NVG device in war aircrafts and helicopters enables pilots to fly in enemy zones secretly and at night. The NVG projects ambient light, which is distributed within the device tunnel. The head-worn device executes various electrical and mechanical processes. The device infrared ability collects any available amount of light including the lower light spectrum and amplifies it to enable the user to see vivid images (Hung-Sheng et al., 2013). For this to b accomplish this, the device applies thermal imaging technology, which captures the upper part of infrared light spectrum. Thermal imaging light is emitted to all objects view. The light is duplicated to phased array system detector. Light at this stage is detailed in a pattern known as thermogram, which duplicates the image into electric impulses. The impulses are sent…

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