Functional Mobility Testing: A Novel Method to Create Suit Design Requirements 2008-01-1857
This study was performed to aide in the creation of design requirements for the next generation of space suits that more accurately describe the level of mobility necessary for a suited crewmember through the use of an innovative methodology utilizing functional mobility. A novel method was utilized involving the collection of kinematic data while 20 subjects (10 male, 10 female) performed pertinent functional tasks that will be required of a suited crewmember during various phases of a lunar mission. These tasks were selected based on relevance and criticality from a larger list of tasks that may be carried out by the crew. Kinematic data was processed through Vicon BodyBuilder software to calculate joint angles for the ankle, knee, hip, torso, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Maximum functional mobility was consistently lower than maximum isolated mobility. This study suggests that conventional methods for establishing design requirements for human-systems interfaces based on maximal isolated joint capabilities may overestimate the required mobility. Additionally, this method provides a valuable means of evaluating systems created from these requirements by comparing the mobility available in a new spacesuit, or the mobility required to use a new piece of hardware, to this newly established database of functional mobility.