Summary

As part of the continued need to protect soldiers in environments where they are exposed to chemical-warfare agents, the effectiveness of personal protective equipment must be ensured by testing. However, carrying out tests with human subjects presents numerous challenges. A wide array of humanoid robots and mannequins are increasingly used in national-security applications. Over the years, human-size thermal mannequins have been used to test military garments, and there is growing interest in making mannequins more human-like by adding motion to permit more advanced testing capabilities. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its counterparts in other countries have been pursuing the development of such systems for many years. For example, the United Kingdom has developed Portonman, and similar systems exist in the Netherlands and Canada. However, those systems and other U.S. efforts fall short of meeting the testing needs described by the U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, Joint Project Manager, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance, Product Director, Test Equipment, Strategy, and Support (PD TESS) requirements (see Appendix B).

This report addresses the feasibility of developing an advanced humanoid robot—the Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin (PETMAN) system—to enhance the testing of chemical-warfare personal protective equipment in the United States. The PETMAN system performance requirements include both threshold and objective requirements, where a threshold requirement is a “must have” while an objective requirement denotes a “would like to have” operational capability. Although most of the PETMAN system



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
Summary As part of the continued need to protect soldiers in environments where they are exposed to chemical-warfare agents, the effectiveness of personal protective equipment must be ensured by testing. However, carrying out tests with human subjects presents numerous challenges. A wide array of humanoid robots and mannequins are increasingly used in national-security applications. Over the years, human-size thermal mannequins have been used to test military garments, and there is growing interest in making mannequins more human-like by adding motion to permit more advanced testing capabilities. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its coun- terparts in other countries have been pursuing the development of such systems for many years. For example, the United Kingdom has developed Portonman, and similar systems exist in the Netherlands and Canada. However, those systems and other U.S. efforts fall short of meeting the testing needs described by the U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, Joint Project Man- ager, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance, Product Director, Test Equipment, Strategy, and Support (PD TESS) requirements (see Appendix B). This report addresses the feasibility of developing an advanced human- oid robot—the Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin (PETMAN) system— to enhance the testing of chemical-warfare personal protective equipment in the United States. The PETMAN system performance requirements include both threshold and objective requirements, where a threshold requirement is a “must have” while an objective requirement denotes a “would like to have” operational capability. Although most of the PETMAN system 

OCR for page 1
 SOLDIER PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT requirements taken independently are technically feasible, fulfilling all of PD TESS requirements in a single PETMAN (especially at the objective level) is not currently possible. The option of using a tethered mannequin significantly increases the feasibility of creating a PETMAN system. This report discusses variations on meeting the threshold and objective require- ments and a complementary approach to the PETMAN system that might be adequate to meet DOD’s short term testing needs. STuDy bACkgROuND PD TESS has identified the need for full-system testing and evaluation of individual protective ensembles (IPE) in chemical-warfare agent environ- ments and seeks to develop a PETMAN system to meet the need. PD TESS envisions the PETMAN system as a fully articulated robotic mannequin that will perform exercises that simulate war-fighter activities. The per- formance requirements set by PD TESS also call for the PETMAN system to be heated to produce body temperatures and to be able to perspire and breathe. It must be constructed of materials that will not be substantially degraded by exposure to chemical agents and that can be decontaminated to negligible levels of chemical contaminants without adverse affects on its operation. PD TESS requested that the National Academies assemble a committee to assess the feasibility of PETMAN system according to detailed perfor- mance requirements. The study task was specified as follows: • Determine the feasibility of a PETMAN system, based on all delin- eated PD TESS system design requirements for such a system. • Focus on the significant design challenges associated with the PD TESS PETMAN system and whether and how they might be addressed. • Discuss the cost-benefit and risk-benefit trade-offs associated with various design approaches to a PETMAN. • Discuss whether and how some or all of the necessary protective ensemble test capability could be obtained if a PETMAN capability is infeasible. Discuss the cost-benefit and risk-benefit trade-offs of these alternatives. The study was performed by an ad hoc committee consisting of persons with expertise in chemistry, chemical engineering, biology, human physiol- ogy, chemical sensing, respiratory protective equipment, materials science, robotics, articulated mannequins, cost-benefit and risk-benefit analyses, and warfare simulations involving chemical agents. These experts were sought

OCR for page 1
 SUMMARY from various sources and include people in the academic, national labora- tory, and industrial sectors. A committee of 10 met in person four times in January-May 2007, and received briefings on current capabilities, deliberated, and determined its conclusions and recommendations. PD TESS asked that the study conclu- sions and recommendations be submitted by August 2007. PETMAN SySTEM REquIREMENTS As discussed earlier, PD TESS envisions the PETMAN system as a fully articulated robotic mannequin that will perform exercises that simulate war-fighter activities. PD TESS has developed detailed performance require- ments for PETMAN, as provided in Appendix B, and summarized in the text that follows. Again, the PETMAN system performance requirements include both threshold (T) and objective (O) requirements, where a thresh- old requirement is a “must have” while an objective requirement denotes a “would like to have” operational capability. If a requirement is not iden- tified by (T) or (O), then it is considered to be a threshold requirement. While PD TESS desires a PETMAN system meeting all the objective-level requirements, a PETMAN system meeting the threshold-level requirements is also a suitable option for PD TESS. Is compatible with individual protective equipment. The system should be compatible with all individual protection and ancillary equipment weapon systems, including the ability to hold, grip, and aim a weapon. The system design must also meet the appropriate 50th percentile human male mea- surements. Ideally, the system would be compatible with the use of Skin Exposure Reduction Paste against Chemical Warfare Agents (SERPACWA) (O). Is not tethered. Ideally, the PETMAN system will be free-standing and self- contained (O)—that is, there will be no external support, and all power, fluids, heating, and other components for operation will be contained in- ternally. A tethered system design (T) is an option, but the tether must not compromise the integrity of the IPE equipment. uses off-the-shelf technology and can be decontaminated. The PETMAN system should use as many common, commercially available components as possible. The materials of construction cannot be substantially degraded by exposure to traditional chemical agents (T) and ideally will be resistant to toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and toxic industrial materials (TIMs) (O). It should be able to be decontaminated to negligible levels without adverse effects on the operation of the PETMAN system (T).

OCR for page 1
 SOLDIER PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT Operates continuously for 12-24 hours. The system ideally will be capable of operating for 24 hours before requiring operational maintenance, 6 months before preventive maintenance, and 12 months before calibration (O). At a minimum, the PETMAN system should be capable of operating for 12 hours before requiring operational maintenance, 3 months before preventive maintenance, and 6 months before calibration (T). Tests for agent in real time. Ideally, the system will be designed to enable integration with real-time (1-s increments) sampling technologies, proce- dures, and equipment and to record the following system characteristics over time: skin temperature, respiration rate, perspiration rate, and total mass (in nanograms) of chemical vapor that penetrates the IPE (O). At a minimum, the system must be compatible with current chemical-agent sampling technologies, procedures, and equipment (T). Simulates human physiology. The system will simulate realistic variable (O) or fixed (T) human skin temperature, perspiration rate (variable at 0.11-1.8 L/h or fixed at 0.4 L/h), and respiration rate (tidal volume of 10-115 L/min and variable breath frequency or fixed tidal volume of 1.5 L and breath frequency of 33 breaths/min). Is compatible with test-chamber conditions. The system must be able to op- erate at: a temperature of 90°F ± 2°F (T); –25°F to 125°F ± 1°F, measured every 5 min (O); a relative humidity of 80% ± 3% (T); 0-100% ± 1%, measured every 5 min (O); a wind speed of 0-10 mph ± 10% (T); 0-161 mph ± 2 mph (O); and 0.25 iwg chamber vacuum maintained ± 2%. In addition, the system will need to be compatible with the use of liquid and vapor chemical agents including: all nerve and vesicant agents, as well as the chemical simulants, triethylphosphate and methyl salicylate. Is compatible with Man-in-Simulant Test exercises. The system must be articulated and robotic so that it can simulate the Man-in-Simulant Test (MIST) exercises, which include standing, walking, marching, doing modi- fied jumping jacks, kneeling, crawling, and holding a weapon (T) (Figure S.1). The system must also be programmable to perform a series of exercises or motions and be able to track body position during all motions in 1-s increments (T). Ideally, the system would be able to perform a full jumping jack, which involves simultaneously bringing hands and feet together and apart (O). Has human-like articulation and construction. Finally, the system should be articulated and robotic so that it looks and moves like a human, including

OCR for page 1
 SUMMARY FIguRE S.1 Man-in-Simulant Test exercises in the chamber. The PETMAN system is required to perform the same set of exercises as the soldiers shown. SOURCE: Charles Walker, Dugway Proving Ground, U.S. Department of Defense. aesthetics, proportions, and how the joints respond to sudden movements (T). All movements must simulate realistic human control. A substantial effort will be needed to move from current systems, such as Portonman, to the type of system described in the PETMAN require- ments document. This report addresses the feasibility of meeting the major design challenges of the PETMAN system requirements on the basis of currently available technology. This includes a detailed consideration of human-physiology simulation, the mannequin under ensemble sensing con- ditions, robotic design, architecture and materials of the PETMAN skin, an integrated PETMAN system, and a complementary approach to PETMAN. The overarching conclusions and recommendations of the report are pro- vided below.

OCR for page 1
 SOLDIER PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT OvERARCHINg CONCLuSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS PD TESS should consider the following three overarching issues as it seeks to develop a PETMAN system: priority setting among the PETMAN requirements, contractor qualifications, and a complementary option to a PETMAN system. Each is discussed in the following sections. Priority Setting Among PETMAN Requirements The PETMAN requirements cover all the desired and required features of mannequin function with little or no priority setting. PD TESS indicated that a concurrent exercise was being carried out to set priorities among the requirements but that the results would probably not be available in time to inform the PETMAN feasibility study. This feasibility study concludes the following: Conclusion 1: Taken independently, most of the PETMAN threshold requirements can be met with current technologies or incremental de- velopments of existing technologies (see detailed discussions in Chap- ters 2 through 6). Conclusion 2: Several options are available for chemical-agent sensing, robotic actuation, and overall system design. Conclusion 3: Using currently available technologies, it may be pos- sible to meet some of the threshold requirements in a nontethered system, but largely due to available battery technology such a system would be limited to an operating time of two hours. The other thresh- old and objective requirements may be difficult or impossible to meet with a nontethered mannequin. Conclusion 4: Integrating all the current objective requirements will be a major challenge for design and implementation of a full PETMAN system. Conclusion 5: Meeting the threshold requirement of a tethered system, which would reduce the number of subsystems housed in the manne- quin, is feasible. However, design challenges still exist for incorporating all necessary systems into a single PETMAN. In light of those conclusions, PD TESS should take the following actions:

OCR for page 1
 SUMMARY Recommendation 1: To achieve greater success with the future pro- posal solicitation for a PETMAN system, PD TESS should set pri- orities among the PETMAN requirements according to the program objectives. Recommendation 2: PD TESS should adopt a phased approach to the development of the PETMAN system, first addressing the high-risk design challenges identified in the study (see detailed discussion in Chapter 6) and then deciding on the achievable objectives according to the priorities it has set. Contractor qualifications The development of a PETMAN system is a large undertaking for any organization. The development of individual components—in particular the robotics capability—will require considerable resources and expertise. Simulating human physiology in addition to developing a robot may be beyond the means of a single group. On the basis of that assessment, the study concludes the following: Conclusion 6: The design and development of a PETMAN system will require a multidisciplinary effort that encompasses expertise in computer software engineering, robot design, mannequin design, materials science and engineering, human physiologic simulation, sensor technologies, and systems integration. PD TESS should take the following action in connection with assess- ing the qualifications of the company or companies chosen to develop a PETMAN system: Recommendation 3: The primary contractor should have demonstrated capabilities in systems integration. Recommendation 4: A workshop should be organized to inform the proposing groups fully of the objective and threshold requirements. The in- vitation list should include system integrators and developers and suppliers of component technologies for the mannequin, materials, and sensors. A Complementary Approach The current Man-in-Simulant Test (MIST) protocol evaluates individual protection ensembles (IPE) on soldiers rather than mannequins, and this of- fers the benefit of testing the effects of actual human movements and physi-

OCR for page 1
 SOLDIER PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT ologic conditions. However, one of the major shortcomings of MIST is its method of under-ensemble data acquisition. It has been shown (see chapters 2, 5, and 7) that recreating human-like movement, respiration, perspiration, and body proportions will be difficult and expensive. In contrast, simulant chemicals mimic almost all the physical features of actual chemical agents. On the basis of that assessment, the study concludes the following: Conclusion 7: Some of the technologies reviewed in this report—such as real-time sensing of chemicals, temperature, and humidity—could be used in the MIST to provide real-time leak detection and characteriza- tion of the microenvironments in the protective garments. Conclusion 8: Some technologies are sufficiently mature to support construction of a whole-body suit for a human—a sensor-integrated body suit (SIBS)—outfitted for real-time sensing of chemicals, body temperature, heart rate, cardiographic characteristics, and humidity without the need for a tether (see Chapter 7 for discussion of the SIBS). Such a suit would allow substantial improvement in the MIST with- out the expense and risk associated with a fully developed PETMAN system and at a small fraction of costs in money and time. The only limitation would be the inability to use actual chemical agents. In light of those conclusions, PD TESS should take the following action: Recommendation 5: A SIBS should be seriously considered as an up- date of the MIST and as complementary to the proposed PETMAN system. Unless there is an absolute requirement of all the capabilities associated with the proposed PETMAN system, this sensor-integrated approach would provide many of the key capabilities in the interim. Such an approach would provide substantial improvements over current testing while the critical paths and absolute requirements for PETMAN development are explored. It would allow testing to continue with human subjects and allow collection of data on a broader array of human characteristics than will be possible with the PETMAN system. In light of the full list of requested functionalities of the PETMAN system, it will be difficult to design a nontethered, free-standing, 50th- percentile-male robotic test mannequin that can operate continuously be- yond the available battery capacity of two hours. Tests longer than two hours will require reduced motion, a recharging or refueling method, a tether, or other approaches that would require research extending be- yond the sponsor’s desired development timeframe. The main design chal-

OCR for page 1
 SUMMARY lenge for the PETMAN system is the integration of all system components (power, control, sensors, perspiration, respiration, actuation, and so on) within the size constraints. Setting priorities among the PETMAN systems requirements, improving guidance for proposing contractors, and consid- ering complementary test approaches with simulants and real-time sensing will enhance the ability of PD TESS to develop a PETMAN system and ultimately improve the protection capability of IPE against chemical-war- fare agents.

OCR for page 1