Reliable, real-time health monitoring is crucial for ensuring crew safety and well-being, especially with limited in-vehicle medical resources and spaceflight induced health risks. However, while individual modalities for vital sign sensing have been well studied in controlled indoor settings, there is little research on a composite sensor system, and limited literature on RF sensing in a reflective module environment. In this Phase I proposal, we suggest potential for greater coverage and accuracy by leveraging the unique abilities existing remote sensing techniques, as well as the reflective nature of vehicle modules. AKELA proposes to develop a brassboard sensor system containing RGB and IR video cameras and passive bistatic radar (PBR) utilizing vehicle embedded WLAN; to develop vital sign data extraction and fusion algorithms; and to conduct laboratory experiments analyzing the feasibility and performance of vital sign monitoring by individual modalities and of the composite system in a module-like setting. For the PBR component, we will also investigate the potential benefits of vital sign Doppler velocity detection from receiving nonlinear harmonics emitted by devices in the environment in the presence of the WLAN, compared to receiving at the WLAN transmit frequency. With growing interest in continuous, unobtrusive day-to-day health monitoring, potential markets for this technology include standoff health, stress and fatigue monitoring for office employees, aerospace and military personnel, physicians, and patients.
The proposed remote sensing system aims to provide in-vehicle health monitoring for astronauts during training and missions. This system would also provide capabilities for health monitoring and human detection/tracking in similar environments (with reflective walls and, if necessary, harmonic emissions). If the system is not immediately applicable to more general environments, possible adaptation of the RF component to accommodate non-reflective enclosures would allow functionality in other NASA facilities, such as offices and laboratories.
With the growing interest in continuous, unobtrusive health monitoring, and the widespread use of WLANs, potential non-aerospace applications include standoff health, stress and fatigue monitoring for military personnel and other individuals in similarly reflective cabins. The system may also be extended to operate in typical drywall rooms, to monitor individuals in homes, offices, or hospitals.