Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018 Nov 1;89(11):985-995. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5123.2018.
INTRODUCTION: Human-spacesuit fit is not well understood, especially in relation to operational performance and injury risk. Current fit decisions use subjective feedback. This work developed and evaluated new metrics for quantifying fit and assessed metric sensitivity to changes in padding between the human and hip brief assembly (HBA).METHODS: Three subjects donned the Mark III (MKIII) spacesuit with three padding thicknesses between the lower body and HBA. Subjects performed a walking task with inertial measurement units on the thigh and shin of both the human and suit. For each step, cadence, human knee task range of motion (tRoM), difference in human and suit tROM (ΔtRoM), and the relative coordination metric (ρ) between the human-suit femur and tibia were computed.RESULTS: The MKIII significantly reduced user cadence by 20.4% and reduced tRoM by 16.5% during walking with subject-dependent changes due to added padding. In general, the addition of padding significantly altered ΔtRoM; however, variability did exist between subjects. Mixed-effect regressions of dynamic fit (ρ) reflect distinct positive spikes in ρ around heel strike (human-dominated motion) and negative dips following toe off (suit-dominated motion).DISCUSSION: There were mixed effects of padding on gait performance and dynamic fit measures. Differences in dynamic fit between subjects may be more reliant on alternate aspects of fit, such as suit component sizes and designs, than padding level. Subjective feedback supported quantitative observations, highlighting metric utility. Future work will explore the effects of suit sizing components on measures of fit and performance.Fineman RA, McGrath TM, Kelty-Stephen DG, Abercromby AFJ, Stirling LA. Objective metrics quantifying fit and performance in spacesuit assemblies. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018; 89(11):985-995.