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Fun as a strategic advantage: applying lessons in engagement from commercial games to military logistics training

Summary

Digital games offer many elements to augment traditional classroom lectures and reading assignments. They enable players to explore concepts through repeat play in a low-risk environment, and allow players to integrate feedback given during gameplay and evaluate their own performance. Commercial games leverage a number of features to engage players and hold their attention. But do those engagement-improving methods have a place in instructional environments with a captive and motivated audience? Our experience building a logistics supply chain training game for the Marine Corps University suggests that yes; applying lessons in engagement from commercial games can both help improve player experience with the learning environment, and potentially improve learning outcomes.
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Summary

Digital games offer many elements to augment traditional classroom lectures and reading assignments. They enable players to explore concepts through repeat play in a low-risk environment, and allow players to integrate feedback given during gameplay and evaluate their own performance. Commercial games leverage a number of features to engage players...

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Impact of haptic cues and an active ankle exoskeleton on gait characteristics

Published in:
Hum. Factors, Vol. 0, No. 0, July 2022, p. 1-12.

Summary

Objective This study examined the interaction of gait-synchronized vibrotactile cues with an active ankle exoskeleton that provides plantarflexion assistance. Background An exoskeleton that augments gait may support collaboration through feedback to the user about the state of the exoskeleton or characteristics of the task. Methods Participants (N = 16) were provided combinations of torque assistance and vibrotactile cues at pre-specified time points in late swing and early stance while walking on a self-paced treadmill. Participants were either given explicit instructions (N = 8) or were allowed to freely interpret (N=8) how to coordinate with cues. Results For the free interpretation group, the data support an 8% increase in stride length and 14% increase in speed with exoskeleton torque across cue timing, as well as a 5% increase in stride length and 7% increase in speed with only vibrotactile cues. When given explicit instructions, participants modulated speed according to cue timing-increasing speed by 17% at cues in late swing and decreasing speed 11% at cues in early stance compared to no cue when exoskeleton torque was off. When torque was on, participants with explicit instructions had reduced changes in speed. Conclusion These findings support that the presence of torque mitigates how cues were used and highlights the importance of explicit instructions for haptic cuing. Interpreting cues while walking with an exoskeleton may increase cognitive load, influencing overall human-exoskeleton performance for novice users. Application Interactions between haptic feedback and exoskeleton use during gait can inform future feedback designs to support coordination between users and exoskeletons.
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Summary

Objective This study examined the interaction of gait-synchronized vibrotactile cues with an active ankle exoskeleton that provides plantarflexion assistance. Background An exoskeleton that augments gait may support collaboration through feedback to the user about the state of the exoskeleton or characteristics of the task. Methods Participants (N = 16) were...

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AAM-Gym: Artificial intelligence testbed for advanced air mobility

Published in:
arXiv, 9 June 2022.

Summary

We introduce AAM-Gym, a research and development testbed for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). AAM has the potential to revolutionize travel by reducing ground traffic and emissions by leveraging new types of aircraft such as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and new advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. Validation of AI algorithms require representative AAM scenarios, as well as a fast time simulation testbed to evaluate their performance. Until now, there has been no such testbed available for AAM to enable a common research platform for individuals in government, industry, or academia. MIT Lincoln Laboratory has developed AAM-Gym to address this gap by providing an ecosystem to develop, train, and validate new and established AI algorithms across a wide variety of AAM use-cases. In this paper, we use AAM-Gym to study the performance of two reinforcement learning algorithms on an AAM use-case, separation assurance in AAM corridors. The performance of the two algorithms is demonstrated based on a series of metrics provided by AAM-Gym, showing the testbed’s utility to AAM research.
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Summary

We introduce AAM-Gym, a research and development testbed for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). AAM has the potential to revolutionize travel by reducing ground traffic and emissions by leveraging new types of aircraft such as electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and new advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. Validation of...

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Modeling probability of alert of Bluetooth low energy-based automatic exposure notifications

Published in:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Report ACTA-4

Summary

BLEMUR, or Bluetooth Low Energy Model of User Risk, is a model of the probability of alert at a given duration and distance of an index case for a specific configuration of settings for an Exposure Notification (EN) system.The Google-Apple EN framework operates in the duration and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal attenuation domains. However, many public health definitions of "exposure" to a disease are based upon the distance between an index case and another person. To bridge the conceptual gap for public health authorities (PHAs) from the familiar distance-and-duration space to the signal attenuation-and-duration space, BLEMUR uses BLE signal attenuation as a proxy for distance between people, albeit an imprecise one. This paper will discuss the EN settings that can be manipulated, the BLE data collected, how data support a model of the relationship between measured attenuation and distance between phones, and how BLEMUR calculates the probability of alert for a distance and duration based on the settings and data.
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Summary

BLEMUR, or Bluetooth Low Energy Model of User Risk, is a model of the probability of alert at a given duration and distance of an index case for a specific configuration of settings for an Exposure Notification (EN) system.The Google-Apple EN framework operates in the duration and Bluetooth Low Energy...

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Nearfield anechoic chamber and farfield on-site antenna calibration pattern comparison of an S-band planar phased array radar

Published in:
IEEE Annual Conf. on Wireless and Microwave Technology, WAMICON, 27-28 April 2022.

Summary

The Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD) is an active, S-band, dual-polarization phased array radar developed for weather sensing. The ATD is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) with a 4-m aperture comprised of 4,864 individual transmit/receive (T/R) modules. The antenna was calibrated at the element, subarray, and array levels. Calibration, validation, and verification testing was completed in two main stages, first in an anechoic chamber and second after it was installed on site in its permanent location. This paper describes the procedure used to collect antenna patterns at each stage and compares three key performance metrics: beamwidth, mean-squared sidelobe level (MSSL), and integrated sidelobe level (ISL).
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Summary

The Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD) is an active, S-band, dual-polarization phased array radar developed for weather sensing. The ATD is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) with a 4-m aperture comprised of 4,864 individual transmit/receive (T/R) modules. The antenna was calibrated at the element, subarray, and array levels. Calibration, validation...

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System analysis for responsible design of modern AI/ML systems

Summary

The irresponsible use of ML algorithms in practical settings has received a lot of deserved attention in the recent years. We posit that the traditional system analysis perspective is needed when designing and implementing ML algorithms and systems. Such perspective can provide a formal way for evaluating and enabling responsible ML practices. In this paper, we review components of the System Analysis methodology and highlight how they connect and enable responsible practices of ML design.
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Summary

The irresponsible use of ML algorithms in practical settings has received a lot of deserved attention in the recent years. We posit that the traditional system analysis perspective is needed when designing and implementing ML algorithms and systems. Such perspective can provide a formal way for evaluating and enabling responsible...

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COVID-19 exposure notification in simulated real-world environments

Summary

Privacy-preserving contact tracing mobile applications, such as those that use the Google-Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) service, have the potential to limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities, but the privacy-preserving aspects of the protocol make it difficult to assess the performance of the apps in real-world populations. To address this gap, we exercised the CovidWatch app on both Android and iOS phones in a variety of scripted realworld scenarios, relevant to the lives of university students and employees. We collected exposure data from the app and from the lower-level Android service, and compared it to the phones' actual distances and durations of exposure, to assess the sensitivity and specificity of the GAEN service configuration as of February 2021. Based on the app's reported ExposureWindows and alerting thresholds for Low and High alerts, our assessment is that the chosen configuration is highly sensitive under a range of realistic scenarios and conditions. With this configuration, the app is likely to capture many long-duration encounters, even at distances greater than six feet, which may be desirable under conditions with increased risk of airborne transmission.
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Summary

Privacy-preserving contact tracing mobile applications, such as those that use the Google-Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) service, have the potential to limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities, but the privacy-preserving aspects of the protocol make it difficult to assess the performance of the apps in real-world populations. To address this...

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The Simulation of Automated Exposure Notification (SimAEN) Model

Summary

Automated Exposure Notication (AEN) was implemented in 2020 to supplement traditional contact tracing for COVID-19 by estimating "too close for too long" proximities of people using the service. AEN uses Bluetooth messages to privately label and recall proximity events, so that persons who were likely exposed to SARS-CoV-2 can take the appropriate steps recommended by their health care authority. This paper describes an agent-based model that estimates the effects of AEN deployment on COVID-19 caseloads and public health workloads in the context of other critical public health measures available during the COVID-19 pandemic. We selected simulation variables pertinent to AEN deployment options, varied them in accord with the system dynamics available in 2020-2021, and calculated the outcomes of key metrics across repeated runs of the stochastic multi-week simulation. SimAEN's parameters were set to ranges of observed values in consultation with public health professionals and the rapidly accumulating literature on COVID-19 transmission; the model was validated against available population-level disease metrics. Estimates from SimAEN can help public health officials determine what AEN deployment decisions (e.g., configuration, workflow integration, and targeted adoption levels) can be most effective in their jurisdiction, in combination with other COVID-19 interventions (e.g., mask use, vaccination, quarantine and isolation periods).
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Summary

Automated Exposure Notication (AEN) was implemented in 2020 to supplement traditional contact tracing for COVID-19 by estimating "too close for too long" proximities of people using the service. AEN uses Bluetooth messages to privately label and recall proximity events, so that persons who were likely exposed to SARS-CoV-2 can take...

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Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Data Collection for COVID-19 Exposure Notification

Summary

Privacy-preserving contact tracing mobile applications, such as those that use the Google-Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) service, have the potential to limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities; however, the privacy-preserving aspects of the protocol make it difficult to assess the performance of the Bluetooth proximity detector in real-world populations. The GAEN service configuration of weights and thresholds enables hundreds of thousands of potential configurations, and it is not well known how the detector performance of candidate GAEN configurations maps to the actual "too close for too long" standard used by public health contact tracing staff. To address this gap, we exercised a GAEN app on Android phones at a range of distances, orientations, and placement configurations (e.g., shirt pocket, bag, in hand), using RF-analogous robotic substitutes for human participants. We recorded exposure data from the app and from the lower-level Android service, along with the phones' actual distances and durations of exposure.
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Summary

Privacy-preserving contact tracing mobile applications, such as those that use the Google-Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) service, have the potential to limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities; however, the privacy-preserving aspects of the protocol make it difficult to assess the performance of the Bluetooth proximity detector in real-world populations. The...

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Probabilistic coordination of heterogeneous teams from capability temporal logic specifications

Summary

This letter explores coordination of heterogeneous teams of agents from high-level specifications. We employ Capability Temporal Logic (CaTL) to express rich, temporal-spatial tasks that require cooperation between many agents with unique capabilities. CaTL specifies combinations of tasks, each with desired locations, duration, and set of capabilities, freeing the user from considering specific agent trajectories and their impact on multi-agent cooperation. CaTL also provides a quantitative robustness metric of satisfaction based on availability of required capabilities for each task. The novelty of this letter focuses on satisfaction of CaTL formulas under probabilistic conditions. Specifically, we consider uncertainties in robot motion (e.g., agents may fail to transition between regions with some probability) and local probabilistic workspace properties (e.g., if there are not enough agents of a required capability to complete a collaborative task). The proposed approach automatically formulates amixed-integer linear program given agents, their dynamics and capabilities, an abstraction of the workspace, and a CaTL formula. In addition to satisfying the given CaTL formula, the optimization considers the following secondary goals (in decreasing order of priority): 1) minimize the risk of transition failure due to uncertainties; 2) maximize probabilities of regional collaborative satisfaction (if there is an excess of agents); 3) maximize the availability robustness of CaTL for potential agent attrition; 4) minimize the total agent travel time. We evaluate the performance of the proposed framework and demonstrate its scalability via numerical simulations.
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Summary

This letter explores coordination of heterogeneous teams of agents from high-level specifications. We employ Capability Temporal Logic (CaTL) to express rich, temporal-spatial tasks that require cooperation between many agents with unique capabilities. CaTL specifies combinations of tasks, each with desired locations, duration, and set of capabilities, freeing the user from...

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