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SSUlt Project – 1st Entry

October 10, 2016

SSUIt project – 1st entry

If you have to depict a Martian spacesuit, you would probably imagine it with a super cool interface either holographic or like a super swatch. After my two previous rotations at MDRS I get frustrated not having such neat feature on my spacesuit. After all, a spacesuit is a small spaceship and no one would imagine a spaceship without a screen.

And this is how a highly time consuming project began… What do I need?

Well, first I need an interface. Should I consider holographic one? Hum, probably no. So a touchscreen it will be.

Now I need something to display on my screen. Okay, I will need sensors. I will need sensors to monitor health issues, my environment and my position.

What else? Hum, no chance that I can plug sensors directly to the screen and having a cool interface with it. So I need a computer to record the sensors outputs and to display the information on the screen.



Well, no! This was not what I had in mind!

The screen should be small enough to be fixed on the arm. The computer should be small enough to be powered by the backpack battery.

When I started this project I did not know much about programmable electronics such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards and all the ecosystem of components that you can plug into them. But I learnt, I studied and asked many questions on dedicated forums.

I decided to have a Web-technology based interface. First I do not need to worry about how to draw a button, just a command line in HTML with an appropriate CSS style will suffice. Secondly, I can use a database to dialog between the local server and the daemons that record the sensors output.

But this project is not only about programming and electronics. It needs a proper case design and in that particular aspect of the project I have been very short on time. 10 hours before my flight I was still printing some parts of the casing.

I was so late preparing the hardware that I had to finish some wiring over here at MDRS… The first tests should be conducted soon, hopefully this week.