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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Miniature Biometric Sensor

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Heart rate monitoring (HRM) is a critical need during exploration missions. Unlike the four separate systems used on ISS today, the single HRM system should perform as a diagnostic tool, perform well during exercise or high level activity, and be suitable for use during EVA. Currently available HRM technologies are dependent on uninterrupted contact with the skin and are prone to data drop-out and motion artifact when worn in the spacesuit or during exercise.  Here, we seek an alternative to the chest strap and electrode based sensors currently in use on ISS today. This project aims to develop a single, high performance, robust biosensor with focused efforts on improved heart rate data quality collection during high intensity activity such as exercise or EVA.

Heart rate monitoring is a medical requirement during ISS exercise, fitness tests, and extravehicular activity (EVA); however, NASA does not currently have the technology to consistently and accurately monitor heart rate and other physiological data during ISS daily exercise sessions or EVA’s. In general, autonomous biometric feedback is limited during in-flight activity due to the lack of non-invasive instrumentation.

A prototype ear bud based device that overcomes the data interferences associated with skin mounted sensors has been proposed by our industry partner, Cooper Consulting Services (CCS). The proposed ear bud based biometric sensor offers an innovative alternative to skin-mounted sensor for recording heart rate and provides additional biometric feedback (core temperature and actigraphy) that is not available today. The architecture for a health risk assessment algorithm will be developed within the scope of this project. Providing the crew with visual feedback based on the algorithm would help to advance the goals of autonomous crew health care needed for exploration missions. 

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