Current spacesuit gloves used by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have sustained cuts during extravehicular activities (EVAs) due to sharp edges and burrs, possibly on damaged ISS handrails. A warning system in the glove would aid in identifying the location of sharp objects and the extent of damage to the glove. This work investigated various e-textile and flexible circuit technologies to determine the best ones for creating a glove cut/damage warning system for integration into a spacesuit glove.
Electrically conductive threads were evaluated and used to develop a pair of prototype gloves to demonstrate how e-textiles can be used to warn the user when and where damage or a cut has occurred on the glove. A pair of gloves with conductive threads, a microcontroller, and a battery were assembled to identify when cuts occur in the high-wear areas of the glove. The goals were exceeded by the incorporation of a program that allows the user to view a graph showing the health of the gloves.
This work shows that an unobtrusive warning system can be incorporated into the glove without any deterioration of glove performance. A real-time cut/damage system would tell the astronaut when damage to the glove has occurred.
This work was done by Robert C. Trevino of Johnson Space Center, and Keith Splawn and Greg Muller of ILC Dover LP. MSC-25416-1