Characterizing human suited performance has continued to be a challenge, partly due to limitations in sensor technology. One concept is to use sensors placed at/on the human body, underneath the pressure garment to obtain knowledge of the human bodies movements. This data could then be compared against the suit motion. Various sensors, sensor technologies, and sensor implementations have been attempted over two decades of efforts, but each has had issues. Much of the work within NASA has improved the integration, comfort, and calibration of these sensors, but the accuracy performance characteristics when in use have not been sufficient to meet requirements. A new sensor technology is needed for use in this application. PolySkin meets NASA need to optimize space suit design for ergonomics, comfort and fit while providing critical pressure measurement with high accuracy, spatial resolution, and reliability on a conformable surface. Taken together, these improvements will enhance EVA performance, reduce overhead, reduce personnel and programmatic risk. In the future, alternative space suit architectures such as mechanical counter pressure may be feasible to further verify that necessary physiological pressure requirements are being met to ensure the health and safety of the crew. Our modular sensing system can be customized to have the dynamic range and sensitivity to meet NASA requirements.
While pressure sensitive structures have a wide range of applications, Perception Robotics focuses on industrial automation tasks which can benefit from tactile information. The capabilities of our sensors have been proven across a wide gamut of industries including a brass foundry, automotive part manufacturing and the paper roll cover industry. We extend its application in robotic material handling.