A variety of devices are currently available to collect astronaut medical data in space. However, almost all of these devices were designed as stand-alone systems and hence do not combine data with other collection devices and are unable to interconnect with therapeutic devices. Dr. Gary E. Strangman is leading a project to develop a prototype platform, called SpaceMed, to integrate the biomedical devices used in space. SpaceMed will be based on the sensornet concept and will have three primary components: (1) sensors and effectors with wireless communications capabilities; (2) communication software and an associated database for acquiring and storing incoming data; and (3) a graphical interface to query, analyze and display data, and to control aspects of the network of medical devices.
The researchers will also modify current medical hardware to integrate with SpaceMed. This process will help identify adapter hardware and an associated process for retrofitting existing medical devices. The researchers will test individual software and hardware components and the SpaceMed platform as they are developed and will establish a plan for testing in spaceflight analog environments. The goal of SpaceMed’s platform design is to make it easy to connect additional devices or future medical kit components to the system.
Gary E. Strangman, Ph.D.
Harvard - Massachusetts General Hospital
Over the past three decades, scores of biomedical monitoring devices have been deployed aboard U.S. spacecraft and the International Space Station. These have enabled collection of sleep/wake activity, temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, ultrasound images, and numerous other parameters. However, nearly all such measurement systems have been stand-alone devices, unable to operate together, synchronize data streams, be easily augmented with new sensors, or coordinate in any way with therapeutic devices. Although some systems under development can record multiple signals, even these composite systems remain stand-alone devices. Currently, there is no flight-ready platform that can bring together data from disparate human and environment sensors for diagnosis, make acquired data available from nearly any location or display device, or intelligently incorporate computer aided diagnostic ortherapeutic components of the spaceflight medical system.
The objective is to develop a prototype platform, called SpaceMED, that can seamlessly integrate disparate biomedical devices, including future decision-support and therapeutic systems. SpaceMED software will consist of three primary components: 1) listener services that probe the external environment for both wired devices (e.g., ethernet, USB, A/V feeds) and wireless devices (e.g., Bluetooth, radio, WiFi), 2) networking middleware that enables any data or control signals that are "published" to be automatically delivered to any interested receiving systems (as well as being archived), and 3) graphical interface software for display of the collected data and to facilitate device control. In addition to developing the SpaceMED software, we planned to incorporate demonstration hardware devices to integrate with SpaceMED.
Thus far, we have integrated three types of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware systems with SpaceMED, using a variety of communication capabilities: Bluetooth, 802.15.4 radio communication (using both ANT and TinyOS standards), and USB mass storage devices. The available devices--including sensors for ECG, heart rate, temperature, accelerometry, environmental carbon dioxide, and USB memory sticks--are automatically discovered, connections are created, and data is acquired and loaded communicated through the system without human intervention. We plan to demonstrate support for various sensors, including the current ISS carbon dioxide monitors (CDMs) and the next generation ultrasound system, and are working on integrating a wireless near-infrared neuroimaging (NIN) system capable of recording brain or tissue oxygenation. This development process will also help us develop adapter hardware and an associated process for retrofitting existing medical devices. Given this platform design, future additions to the medical kit should require only a communication capability that SpaceMED supports in order to integrate with the SpaceMED system.
Specific Aims 1) Provide a prototype, but standardized, platform for future medical capabilities integration; 2) Leverage previous NASA/NSBRI funding for the CPOD and NIN devices; 3) Demonstrate the feasibility of seamless interoperation of such components; 4) Validate the approach for integrating telemetrically gathered physiological data streams from multiple devices and display time-synchronized data from multiple nodes as the information is acquired; and, 5) Demonstrate the “upgrade path” to connect future medical kit components with the system.