Student: Samuel Murphy, graduate student in Mechanical Engineering, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Rachel Vitali
Activity Classification for Wearable Sensor Technologies to Capture Natural Human Behavior
Under the supervision of Prof. Rachel Vitali in the University of Iowa Mechanical Engineering department, my research project focuses on activity classification using body-worn inertial measurement units (IMUs) to characterize the physical (biomechanical) requirements to conduct planetary scientific fieldwork. Outcomes of this project will support decisions relating to extravehicular activities (EVAs) planned for future missions to our moon and eventually Mars. Despite the abundance scientific investigations outlined by the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) and Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG), the process for conducting scientific fieldwork is not-well documented or understood, including the timing of different tasks/activities, work cadences, and resource (e.g., tools or information) sharing between team members. Also, as space suits will likely never be able to support the full range of natural human movement, a better understanding of the expected tasks could inform future tool design and laboratory space suit testing efforts. The portability and noninvasive nature of IMUs allows for unstructured data collections with expert scientists conducting operationally relevant fieldwork. The data collected by this project will be used to develop a best case scenario baseline for conducting scientific fieldwork (i.e., unencumbered experts operating in a 1g environment). The proposed work relates to NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, specifically the goal of supporting science objective execution in future spaceflight missions (HEOMD-001). Under the HEOMD umbrella, this work also addresses aspects of the Human Research Roadmap, including the need to develop methods and tools to support mission, process and task design (MPTASK-01).