Students Develop Technology for NASA

A team of Kent State University students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Fashion recently participated in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students (SUITS) Design Challenge. Team ATR_FLUX was one of ten teams nationwide chosen to participate in the event which challenged college and university students to design and create spacesuit information displays within augmented reality (AR) environments. 

The SUITS Design Challenge, a part of NASA’s Artemis Student Challenges program, provided students with experience and opportunities to shape the technology that will be used by the Artemis Program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.

The team, assembled through the Kent State Advanced Telerobotics Research (ATR) Lab, is led by Jong-Hoon Kim, an assistant professor of computer science at Kent State University, and computer science Ph.D. student, Irvin Cardenas. The team is composed of 12 students, including School of Fashion students  Michelle Park Kołacz and Maame Amoah, both from the Fashion Industry Studies graduate program, and fashion design student Jin Liang.  School of Fashion associate professor, Margarita Benitez, served as one of the four faculty advisors on the project.

 For the past several months, the fashion students worked collaboratively  to research and develop new assistive features for the spacesuits to create a concept prototype in jacket form. They created a "telesuit" to monitor physiological activity and better assist the user and enhance the overall performance. The  “telesuit” is capable of collecting motion data and biometric data (such as heart rate and blood pressure) from the astronauts and showing a 3-D visual representation of this information on the AR helmet display that the team designed.  The concept’s features include different fabrics that stretch and support the piping of inserted biometric data sensors to monitor the user’s muscle groups and zippers along the sleeve that open where the polymer-based strain sensors will be placed.

In an interview with Kent Wired, Cardenas explained how AR technology could be used to complete a simple task like building furniture. “Rather than opening up a manual and saying, ‘Oh, you put this here and use this screwdriver,’ you have a device that augments the way that you're supposed to do things,” he said. “It could show you how to use this tool or even track and highlight in the room.” In terms of utilizing this technology for a spacesuit, the goal was to enable immediate access to instructions, procedures, graphics, spacesuit status and health status information in the form of this audiovisual display. This would allow astronauts to work more efficiently without constant direction from NASA’s mission control. “Augmenting the real world for the astronauts can actually reduce mental stress or cognitive overload,” he said.

The team presented its project titled “Coactive and Collaborative Interaction Platform for xEMU” on June 11 to a panel of NASA and industry leaders via Google Hangouts. The presentations were live-streamed to the general public via Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. 

To learn more about the project, check out this original article from the College of Arts and Sciences and visit the ATR_FLUX website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ATR_LAB.


Image Caption:

Kent State fashion industry studies student Michelle Park Kołacz, Kent State fashion design student Jin Liang and Kent State fashion industry studies student Maame Amoah collaborated on a "telesuit" to monitor physiological activity and better assist the user and enhance the overall performance. Photo: Kent State University Advanced Telerobotics Research Lab via Kent Wired. 



POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2020 04:29 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2023 09:24 PM