Model-Based Scientific Discovery: A Study in Space Bioengineering

Nichaolas Groleau


The human orientation system is a complex system in which the brain merges information from a variety of sensors to help maintain a coherent interpretation of body position and movement. These sensors include the semicircular canals and the otolith organs located in the inner ear as well as vision and somatosensory perception. I designed a model of this system based on the observer theory model (OTM), which was developed by Merfeld (1990) for the orientation system of the squirrel monkey. Under this scheme, the central nervous system has an internal representation of the sensor organs and tries to minimize the error between its estimate of the sensory afferent signals and the actual afferent signals. As designed, MARIKA's goal is to classify the vestibular system of the subject as normal or abnormal and propose a corresponding model. It works iteratively until the results of the proposed experiment can be modeled. Additional experiments can be presented in succession to the same model.

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