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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Tactile Data Entry System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Tactile Data Entry System
Barron Associates, in partnership with the University of Washington, proposes integrating a small vibrating element into an EVA glove to create a surrogate for the tactile sense lost behind the insulating and protective layers. This vibrotactile display will stimulate the neuro-receptors in the user's fingertips, with various waveforms, or "tactors," conveying sensations such as impact or surface roughness. By restoring the sense of touch to gloved crewmembers, the system will demonstrate increased performance and reduced user fatigue compared to conventional data entry systems. The proposed technology enables user interfaces that are adaptable to a wide range of tasks, including surface navigation, document editing, communications, and telerobotic control. The Phase I prototype is a pathfinder, overcoming technical hurdles and reducing risks, for an evolved system compatible with integration into future NASA concepts for EVA suits. The prototype targets two key technological challenges to an operational system: tactile cueing and motion sensing. The proposed effort will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating these systems into advanced EVA concepts, and examine the benefit of tactile cueing for relevant data entry tasks. The Phase I program builds a foundation for potential Phase II demonstration of an advanced tactile EVA data entry system by suited crewmembers on the ISS. At the end of Phase I, NASA will be able to make an informed decision on the merits of proceeding to on-orbit evaluation. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.