DNA Medicine Institute Completes Reduced-Gravity Experiments on its NASA-Funded rHEALTH Sensor
Tests demonstrate operation of a universal blood diagnostic in a space-relevant environment
Cambridge, MA, December 14, 2010 – The DNA Medicine Institute (DMI) successfully completed reduced-gravity experiments on its rHEALTH sensor for the 2010 Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) program, at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston, Texas, at the end of September. The rHEALTH sensor is designed to extract a multitude of diagnostic information from a single drop of blood. Although designed for use in reduced-gravity environments in space, the technology can be applied to real-time health monitoring at patient’s bedside or in a doctor’s office, and allow for real-time clinical intervention in acute situations. It was one of 17 technology demonstration projects, from 10 different states, for reduced-gravity aircraft flights. The DMI device was subject to zero, lunar, and 1.8 g conditions for periods up to 25 seconds in a Boeing 727 airplane flying repeated parabolic trajectories. A joint team from DMI and NASA’s Glenn Research Center (GRC) successfully performed experiments on the rHEALTH platform, which included sample loading, mixing, and detection. The device operated without fail on all four lunar and zero gravity flights.
“The reduced gravity tests from NASA’s FAST 2010 program provided simulated conditions for implementation of the rHEALTH technology in space. The ability to successfully operate this technology on the parabolic flights also mean that the device is rugged and robust in environments with vibration and variable g-forces, which may be seen in many emergent clinical scenarios here on Earth,” said Eugene Y. Chan, M.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of the DNA Medicine Institute.
NASA’s FAST program is designed to demonstrate whether emerging technologies can perform as expected in the reduced-gravity environment of the moon and Mars, or the Earth orbit’s zero-gravity environment, thus allowing the incorporation of new technologies into the agency’s flight programs and other commercial aerospace applications. It can also reduce the risk of using new technologies during space missions by providing an opportunity to prove how they work in a reduced-gravity environment, providing insight, before expensive testing, into the reasons some technologies may fail.
For a complete list of NASA’s 17 selected FAST projects, their associated leading organizations, partners and information about previous FAST flights, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/innovation_incubator/FAST/index.html
For more on the rHEALTH test, visit: http://www.dnamedinstitute.com/space-medicine/