Novel Mechanical Counter Pressure Gloves
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Final Frontier Design (FFD) has designed, developed, manufactured, tested, and delivered a new design of Mechanical Counter Pressure (MCP) glove. The design utilizes inflatable pockets running across the wrist and hand and an inflatable wrist seal to impart pressures adequate for exposure to -4.3 psid for periods of up to 30 minutes. The MCP glove design is the result of more than 4 years of MCP glove design and development at FFD, and included 4 complete iterations prior to deliverable build and testing. The MCP glove represents an alternative to bulky and thick pressurized gloves, potentially increasing hand mobility and tactility while reducing weight. This work was supported by NASA’s High Performance EVA Glove (HPEG) program, and included more than 30 negotiated requirements to be validated for delivery. The primary requirement of the contract was to provide even MCP over the entire hand and wrist for human operation in a delta pressure glove box at -4.3 psid; this was negotiated to allow for variability of up to 20%. Additional performance requirements were met or exceeded, including sizing, mobility, leakage, comfort, tactility, process standards, and human load. These were validated at FFD using customized equipment, with both human and non-human testing. A sensor glove was designed and built to measure the compression over 60 individual points on the hand and wrist, to validate numerically the compression levels over the hand. A novel method of calibration was developed to flash calibrate the sensors in-situ over a variety of relevant pressure ranges. FFD is using lessons learned to scale the design, with the goal to build an EVA suit assembly using MCP over the limbs to increase arm and leg mobility and safety, and decrease weight of the suit overall.