Vomit Comet Physiology: Autonomic Changes in Novice Flyers

Sara Taylor

Johnson, K.T., Taylor, S., Fedor, S., Jaques, N., Chen, W., Picard, R.W. "Vomit Comet Physiology: Autonomic Changes in Novice Flyers." Proceedings of the International Conference of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Honolulu, Hawaii, July 2018.


This exploratory study examined the effects of varying g-forces, including feelings of weightlessness, on an individual’s physiology during parabolic flight. Specifically, we collected heart rate, accelerometer, and skin conductance measurements from 16 flyers aboard a parabolic flight using wearable, wireless sensors. The biosignals were then correlated to participant reports of nausea, anxiety, and excitement during periods of altered g-forces. Using linear mixed-effects models, we found that (1) heart rate was positively correlated to individuals’ self-reported highest/lowest periods of both anxiety and excitement, and (2) bilateral skin conductance asymmetry was positively correlated to individuals’ self-reported highest/lowest periods of nausea.

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