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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Next Generation Smartsuit Spacesuit with Soft Robotics

• by Brian Wang

The spacesuit will have a soft and stretchable self-healing skin (or membrane) located in the outer layer that not only protects the astronaut but also collects data through integrated, transparent sensors embedded in the membrane. These sensors are capable of visually displaying environmental and membrane structural information, providing visual feedback to the wearer about the surroundings.

The hybrid and intelligent spacesuit proposed will be designed with the philosophy of enhancing motion and dexterity, reparability and sensor integration to interact with the soundings and detect damage. The proposed hybrid technology adding full-body soft robotic elements to the gas-pressurized spacesuit will enable enhanced dexterity, increased comfort, and a feeling of normalcy that will facilitate both scientific and exploration operations on planetary missions like those expected for Mars' surface. Additionally, the soft-robotic layer has the potential to provide some level of mechanical counter pressure (MCP) to the wearer, thus decreasing the gas-operating pressure within the suit, therefore reducing the time needed for pre-breathing protocols while enhancing even more the mobility, which has a direct impact on the duration, metabolic cost, and fatigue associated with an EVA.