Personal cabin pressure monitor and altitude warning system

Agency: 
NASA
Region: 
Southeast
State: 
Florida

Personal cabin pressure monitor and altitude warning system

The Personal Cabin Pressure Monitor is apager-like device that independently warns theuser—be it astronaut, pilot, or passenger—thatthe cabin pressurization of their aircraft orspace vehicle has been compromised and thatcorrective action needs to be takenimmediately to avert a dangerous, life-threatening situation.The significance of this innovation from theKennedy Space Center (KSC) can only becaptured by imagining a scenario in which abusiness jet is traveling at high altitude. Theplane streaks across the sky off-course andnonresponsive, only to terminate thousands ofmiles from the point of origin when its fuelsupply is exhausted. There are no survivorsand no conclusive evidence as to whathappened. Frosted windows observed by achase aircraft hint of an unknown cabinpressurization problem. Suffering from highaltitude hypoxia, the crew and passengerssimply succumbed to total unconsciousnesswithin minutes of the cockpit reaching rarifiedconditions. Hypoxia, a state of oxygendeficiency in the blood, tissues, and cellssufficient to impair functions of the brain andother organs, is a concern to pilots who flyabove 10,000 feet.Developed in response to the Mir/Progresscollision in 1997 and the Payne Stewart aircraftaccident in 1999, this personal cabin pressuremonitor warns the user of impending danger ofhypoxia through audio, vibratory and visualalarms. In addition, a lighted digital screendisplays a text message of the warning and thecondition causing the alarm. Utilizing itsinnovative technology transfer network, theNASA/KSC Technology Transfer Office hadthis technology available for licensing within10 months of initial development work, thensuccessfully negotiated and signed a licenseagreement the following year. With technicalassistance from NASA/KSC, KellyManufacturing Company had a commercialproduct on the market within a year after thelicense agreement was signed.This technology may be expanded beyondaviation and aerospace to include scubadiving, skydiving, mountain climbing,meteorology, space-borne and planetaryhabitats, hyperbaric pressure chambers,altitude chambers, and positive/negativepressure vessels. The potential to save livesthrough this technology makes this monitor priceless.
Award Year: 
Region: 
Southeast