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On the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts execute thousands of complex procedures to maintain life support systems, check out space suits, conduct science experiments and perform medical exams, among their many tasks. Today, when carrying out these procedures, an astronaut usually reads from a PDF viewer on a laptop computer, which requires them to shift attention from the task to scroll pages.

Clarissa is a fully voice-operated procedure browser, enabling astronauts to be more efficient with their hands and eyes and to give full attention to the task while they navigate through the procedure using spoken commands. The software was installed on the ISS in January 2005, and was first used by Expedition 11 Science Officer and Flight Engineer John Phillips on June 27, 2005. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first ever use of a spoken dialogue system in space. During the test, Phillips completed the interactive Clarissa training procedure, which exercises all the main system functionality; this procedure contains 50 steps, and took 25 minutes to complete. Speech recognition and dialogue management functioned well. A report summarizing the results is available here.


Project Lead:
Beth Ann Hockey

Manny Rayner

Claire Castillo
Susana Early
Amelia Fischer
Vladimir Tkachenko
Sylvia Stoddart

Previous Contributors:
Kim Farrell (Project Lead)
Nikos Chatzichrisafis
John Dowding
Barney Pell
Greg Aist
Jim Hieronymus


Article in New Scientist, June 27, 2005

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