NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 H4.03-8726
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sensors to Measure Space Suit Interactions with the Human Body
PROPOSAL TITLE: Flexible Polymer Sensor for Space Suits

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Somatis Sensor Solutions
525 S. Hewitt St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013 - 2217
(888) 414-1940

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Nicholas Wettels
525 South Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013 - 2217
(888) 414-1940 Extension :101

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Brian Norton
525 S. Hewitt St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013 - 2217
(888) 414-1940 Extension :104

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Sensors to Measure Space Suit Interactions with the Human Body 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)
Perception Robotics has developed an innovative new type of compliant tactile sensing solution, a polymeric skin (PolySkinTM) that can be molded into any form factor, supports a variety of mechanical properties, and is inherently inexpensive and durable. This novel tactile sensor surmounts the failures of prior tactile solutions with sophisticated multi-modal sensing capabilities, modeled after human hand sensing specifications, coupled with robust design for industrial and space applications. PolySkin is a perfect choice for measuring space suit interactions with the human body because it was designed for a similar problem: detect contact to allow robots to safely operate in an unstructured environment. PolySkin measures mechanical pressure accurately, has a good resistant to aberrant readings when under moderate bending, shear or torsion, is sufficiently pliant to follow anatomical curves on the human skin without discomfort or lack of mobility, it can be fabricated in thin profiles (~mm) and packaged sufficiently small, free of rigid or sharp points, and it consumes low power. During this project, we will fabricate a flat prototype of our novel tactile sensor and characterize and optimize the elastomer formulation to achieve desired properties: accuracy within 10%, dynamic range: 0.1 to 10N, and high repeatability (<5% error). We will build conditioning electronics to provide serial output signal through a USB port. After passing initial test, calibration, and validation, the conditioning electronics will be used to test in-sleeve embedded sensor. In a final proof-of-concept milestone, we will fabricate a working prototype wearable sleeve embedded with PolySkin to validate the performance. The deliverables include a 4x4 inch pad sensor at the end of 3rd month, and a wearable sleeve with embedded PolySkin sensor combined with conditioning electronics kit at the end of the project.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Characterizing human suited performance has continued to be a challenge, partly due to limitations in sensor technology. One concept is to use sensors placed at/on the human body, underneath the pressure garment to obtain knowledge of the human bodies movements. This data could then be compared against the suit motion. Various sensors, sensor technologies, and sensor implementations have been attempted over two decades of efforts, but each has had issues. Much of the work within NASA has improved the integration, comfort, and calibration of these sensors, but the accuracy performance characteristics when in use have not been sufficient to meet requirements. A new sensor technology is needed for use in this application.
PolySkin meets NASA need to optimize space suit design for ergonomics, comfort and fit while providing critical pressure measurement with high accuracy, spatial resolution, and reliability on a conformable surface. Taken together, these improvements will enhance EVA performance, reduce overhead, reduce personnel and programmatic risk. In the future, alternative space suit architectures such as mechanical counter pressure may be feasible to further verify that necessary physiological pressure requirements are being met to ensure the health and safety of the crew. Our modular sensing system can be customized to have the dynamic range and sensitivity to meet NASA requirements.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While pressure sensitive structures have a wide range of applications, Perception Robotics focuses on industrial automation tasks which can benefit from tactile information. The capabilities of our sensors have been proven across a wide gamut of industries including a brass foundry, automotive part manufacturing and the paper roll cover industry. We extend its application in robotic material handling.

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.)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)
Health Monitoring & Sensing (see also Sensors)
Manufacturing Methods
Protective Clothing/Space Suits/Breathing Apparatus
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59