As the United States prepares to return to the moon in preparation for a future trip to Mars, scientists and researchers from around the world are working on new technologies that will help humans make the trip. One of these new technologies is the new smart astronaut glove developed by students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which can be used while exploring other planets.
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Start-up Ntention, formed by NTNU students, has developed the design and technology behind the new smart astronaut glove. NASA plans to return to the moon by 2024 as part of the Artemis program and then plans to send astronauts to Mars.
NASA partners have successfully tested the glove at the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) research station. The glove is described as an innovative device for astronaut exploration of the moon and Mars.
It uses a human machine interface that allows communication with machines using the body. It basically allows astronauts to control drones or other robots using gestures.
The new smart glove was tested at NASA's HMP research center on uninhabited Arctic Devon Island. The place is often called Mars on Earth because of its severe arctic climate and is one of the most Mars-like places on our planet.
Space suit gloves are typically resistant to movement and this resistance makes it more difficult to control robots and collect samples. The new smart glove can help remedy this limitation with its adjustable sensitivity.
The glove has an internal microcontroller that can read different sensors. These sensors can capture subtle movements of the astronaut's hand and fingers and then wirelessly transfer them to a mobile device that controls the drone or other robots. Tests conducted showed how the astronaut could perform various tasks using the smart glove and augmented reality glasses.
"Astronauts need space suits that facilitate interaction with their environment, including performing complex and delicate tasks," says Dr. Greg Quinn, head of Collins Aerospace, who is working with NASA to develop future space suits.
Devon Island testing team evaluated "Astronaut Smart Glove" technology through a series of field trials involving remote drone operations. Astronauts on the moon or on Mars could use drones for mapping, to collect samples that are beyond the reach of astronauts, or to assist with search and rescue operations.
Source: SlashGear, Norwegian SciTech News
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