Human Systems Integration (HSI), a leading developer and provider of garment-integrated, wearable electronic solutions, will design, develop and field a portable, comfortable, wearable, affordable and robust galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) device that will provide a head movement coupled and controlled multi-axis GVS stimulus to create vestibular sensations that mimic those perceived by astronauts in response to active head movements following sensorimotor adaptation to long duration spaceflight. Catalyzed by our Tactical Personal Area Network (TacPAN) platform, HSI has the unique pedigree of having established a US-based supply chain for both electronic textile (eTextile) and Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) smart harnesses as well as for embedding these smart harnesses in multiple electronic garment (eGarment) products. A testament to this pedigree is the fact that in September 2019, the State of Massachusetts, through its Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2) program, awarded HSI a $1.45M facilities and capital equipment grant to establish a Garment-Embedded Electronics center of excellence. This grant enabled HSI to expand rapid prototyping and manufacturing capabilities at our Walpole, MA, location as well as at a number of our supply chain partnerships.
During this product development program, we will build off of our substantial investment in establishing an eGarment technology and product portfolio, and associated manufacturing supply chain, to develop a disruptive Tactical GVS (TacGVS) system, all in a form factor that does not impact the dexterity, comfort or effectiveness of the astronaut. To develop the TacGVS system,
NASA has identified sensorimotor gap (SM‑202) as a need to develop and test manual control countermeasures based on human factors aids and that no GVS devices currently on the market portable, rugged enough for field testing or that couple stimulus profiles to head movements. Astronauts training for planetary missions could use TacGVS to train on what to expect with regards to spatial disorientation in realistic mission simulations.