NASA has developed a new software tool for optimizing interior layout designs of highly constrained, highly integrated, and/or confined spaces, such as space habitats. This tool will automatically generate or evaluate interior layout options while taking into account multiple end-user objectives. Development and evaluation of interior layouts are often ignored during conceptual design because of the subjectivity and long times required using current evaluation methods (e.g., human-in-the-loop mockup tests and in-depth CAD evaluations). The NASA tool will allow for early, more objective assessment that will prevent expensive design changes, which can increase vehicle mass and compromise functionality.

An OpenGL output of the layout evaluation tool.

After evaluating interior layouts against multiple objectives and constraints, the software will automatically generate feasible layout alternatives that perform well across these objectives. The method uses geometric modeling and a multi-criteria objective function to assess layout alternatives in seconds, enabling optimization of layouts based on designer preferences. For spacecraft or similar designs, this innovation will allow for the early determination (in the conceptual phase) of the adequacy of habitat size and the identification of potential design issues related to layouts. The tool will generate higher-fidelity conceptual designs, leading to mass and cost savings. Although the technology has been implemented for conceptual space habitat applications, it is also relevant to other highly constrained human systems, such as submarines, naval vessels, aircraft, recreational vehicles, small terrestrial residences, some factories, and workstation design.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact The Technology Gateway at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link for more information: http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TB2016/LAR-TOPS-217 .


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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