NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 H12.02-9697
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Exploration Medical Capability - Medical Suction Capability
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Capabilities Medical Suction Device

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
UMPQUA Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-7770

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William F. Michalek
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-2654

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John S. Aker
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 - 0102
(541) 863-2655

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Exploration Medical Capability - Medical Suction Capability is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A compact microgravity and hypogravity compatible vacuum device is proposed to provide medical suction and containment of extracted fluids. The proposed aspirator will draw up to 40 L/min of air and produce a nominal vacuum of 500-mm Hg, which is comparable to commercially available medical aspirators. The unit will also provide a means for separation and containment of up to 1000 mL of aspirated fluids. Waste material separation will be accomplished by a reticulated foam trap that will utilize hydrophilic adsorbent materials to sequester liquids within the reticulated foam structure. The aspirator assembly will also include a sub-micron filter to prevent aerosol from escaping to the spacecraft cabin. During the Phase I research, an efficient trap will be designed and tested using a commercial off the shelf (COTS) vacuum pump. Additional trap features will be investigated including collapsible walls to minimize storage space and chemical resistance to enable suction of corrosive and/or toxic materials. Phase II research will focus on improving overall ESM and incorporating features such as a trap fill level indicator, an emergency shutoff in case of liquid breakthrough, and an alarm indicating a blocked airway, which will improve microgravity performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed technology has a strong potential for use by NASA as Flight Hardware for deployment in support of the International Space Station and for future long-duration missions such as a Mars transit, Mars base, or a permanently manned Lunar outpost where return to Earth for emergency medical care is not an option. The current medical programs utilized on the ISS are extensive and have been under development for decades. To date, the medical supplies carried on the ISS and Shuttle have been adequate to handle the relatively minor problems that have occurred, but as NASA looks to the future of manned space flight, dramatic increases in mission duration are apparent. Longer duration space flights increase the potential for a medical emergency that current systems are unable to treat. One shortcoming in particular, is the lack of a medical aspirator onboard any current space platform for accommodating medical procedures that require aspiration to remove saliva and blood during dental procedures; blood and loose tissue during surgery; or vomit, mucous, and saliva during airway management. In these situations, a microgravity and hypogravity compatible aspirator capable of providing medical suction and containment of extracted fluids and debris will enhance NASA mission capabilities and provide a needed safety margin in ALS activities.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed advancement in medical suction technology will provide military and municipal emergency response teams the ability to provide portable self-contained medical suction without concern for local terrain, patient position, or motion. This versatility will enhance the attractiveness of this technology and meet the growing concern for the safety of emergency personnel. The private sector will also utilize the technology in niche applications such as at sea and in flight. Presently, medical suction units rely on gravity and buoyant force to seal collection vessels once they become full. The seal is required to prevent contaminated material; blood, vomit, mucous, etc., from entering the pump. A seal failure caused by an overturned collection vessel results in tedious clean-up procedures in the best case and disease transmission in the worst case. The proposed innovation enables emergency response teams to provide medical suction in any orientation and physical environment.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)

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