In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science
Will defend his thesis
During many occasions, machine operators perform multiple tasks. When a combination of events demands critical decisions and rapid actions, the operator’s alertness is raised. If alertness persists, it is likely to reach beyond certain acceptable levels and ultimately transforms into stress.
This thesis describes research that aims to quantify stress levels of operators due to divided attention. The proposed method is based on the thermal signature of the face. It measures physiological function from a standoff distance and therefore, it can unobtrusively monitor a machine operator. The method was tested on 11 participants. The results show that multi-tasking elevates metabolism in the supraorbital area, which is an indirect indication of increased mental load. The methodology could serve as a benchmarking tool in scenarios where an operator’s divided attention may cause harmful outcomes.