An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : T2 Success Stories : Article Display
NEWS | Sept. 30, 2023

AI in Space: West Point Advances Astronaut Healthcare

In the vast expanse of space, where expert medical help is millions of miles away, a new hero emerges – not in a spacesuit, but rather as a digital lifeline. A recent research project spearheaded by a dynamic team at the U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is revolutionizing the way astronauts handle medical emergencies on the International Space Station (ISS).

The question defines our moment: could artificial intelligence (AI) outperform a thousand-page medical manual in making technical medical diagnoses? The Robotics Research Center, in collaboration with Nahlia, Inc. undertook the question. West Point has worked with Nahlia to support the development and technology transfer of the Autonomous Medical Response Agent (AMRA) software for Army medical needs in austere environments.

Nahlia, Inc. received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award in collaboration with NASA to better help to non-medical specialists with diagnosis than a medical manual. Recognizing the need for specialized expertise in testing AMRA’s effectiveness and efficiency, Nahlia, Inc. strategically partnered with West Point because of West Point’s extensive intellectual capital in human-computer interaction, particularly with its Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and Behavioral Science and Leadership (BS&L) departments. Both departments claim robust research efforts on human-robot interactions, with EECS housing the West Point Robotics Research Center (RRC).

Additionally, West Point’s unique cadet population, with their robust training schedules and project-based learning efforts, make them ideal for supporting this research effort. West Point RRC researchers used AMRA to provide early, objective data on clinical decision support to non-medical users. West Point cadets excelled in evaluating the utility of this technology, finding that AMRA allowed cadets, none of whom received medical training, to make diagnostic assessments more quickly and more accurately.

These results underscore the potential of AI in enhancing decision-making in high-pressure situations, particularly in the isolated confines of space. West Point faculty provided crucial collaborative feedback in redesigning AMRA’s interface to increase feasibility for potential users.

This collaboration has positioned the Army to transition a piece of technology into potential Army usage Because of this success, RRC has requested additional funding from NASA to support further exploration of AMRA’s utilization. In addition to these research findings, cadets gained vital operational expertise in cuttingedge technology, furthering Army knowledge and strengthening its relationships with a key industry partner. This surge of scholarly activity has been made possible by the robust Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between West Point and Nahlia, serving as a testament to the power of technology transfer in advancing scientific inquiry.