In-Suit Sensor Systems for Characterizing Human-Space Suit Interaction
Newman, D. J.
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Although the U.S. has studied space suit performance for decades, relatively little is known about how the astronaut moves and interacts within the space suit. We propose the use of in- suit sensor systems to characterize this interaction and present our results using pressure sensors and inertial measurement units (IMUs) inside the David Clark Mobility Mock-Up and the Mark III space suit from NASA’s Advanced Space Suit Lab at the Johnson Space Center. A network of 12 low-pressure sensors are distributed over the arm to measure the pressure between the arm and the suit soft goods. A high-pressure sensor mat is used to detect the pressure between the shoulder and the suit hard upper torso (HUT). Finally, we place three IMUs inside directly on the person’s lower arm, upper arm and torso, with three corresponding IMUs outside on the space suit to measure joint angles. We perform two human subject experiments with 5 movement tasks focusing on upper body motions. The 5 motions include 3 isolated joint movements (elbow flexion/extension, shoulder flexion/extension, and shoulder abduction/adduction) and 2 functional tasks (overhead hammering and multi-join cross body reach). We discuss the implementation of this experiment, our lessons learned, quality of the data, and follow-on work. Finally, we propose future improvements for the characterization of human biomechanics and injury mechanisms from a human-space suit perspective.