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Sue Ann is a Crew Engineer for MarsCrew134, a team of highly trained scientist, researchers and filmmaker who will embark on a Mars simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, USA.
She is currently a researcher in human-computer interaction (HCI) within the Bristol Interaction and Graphics Lab at the University of Bristol. Her research interests are in exploring different types of multisensory interfaces and have a specific interest in haptics: understanding how the sensation of touch functions and how we can re-create the feeling of textures or objects through an interface.
One of the projects she is currently working on, Ultrahaptics, can create the sensation of 3D objects in mid-air using ultrasound. As a space suit creates a barrier between the astronaut and the environment, prohibiting full immersion into their surroundings, Sue Ann is interested in the current limitations of how astronauts interact with the
environment and how those interactions may be improved.
The long-term goal is to design a space suit layer that is the perfect interface between astronauts and unknown environments: the suit protects humans from hostile world but also transmits necessary information in the inside in order to help astronauts discern various surface textures, the temperature of objects, even the orders of their surroundings, thus allowing them to better understand the unexplored world. This is particularly crucial with respect to future, long-term off-world missions.
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