This project was part of the Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing class at Gatech. I worked in a team of three with Apurva Gupta and Shashank Jagirdar to design a wearable for astronauts on other planetary surfaces. Our team presented our prototype at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston on April 19 as a part of NASA Wearable Technology Symposium 2015.
On a planetary surface, crewmembers will be highly dependent on visual and auditory signals for their survival. If a circumstance arises where vision is compromised or communication with the base station is lost (e.g., dust storm), crewmembers will need to be able to find their way back to the habitat. We are interested in testing the feasibility of tactors within a garment to direct a crewmember to a safe haven. As an example, vibrations to the right leg, might tell the crewmember to turn right, vibrations to the left arm might tell them to turn left.
Important Design Considerations
- Body placement for tactors – Will they be comfortable? Will they impede activity? Will they lose strength (be perceived less often) when walking?
- Strength of tactors – How strong a vibration is needed for a reliable signal?
- Type of signal – What pattern of signaling works best for this task?
Over the next few weeks our team will prototype wearable for crew member and conduct tests to evaluate the efficacy of each.
Team at NASA JSC