Our innovation helps astronauts eliminate fecal, urine and menses waste hands-free in a hermetically sealed space suite for up to 6 days. An integrated collection and transport system in zero gravity environment is compatible with existing waste elimination paradigms. We propose an inflatable seat that is built into an undergarment, resembling padded biking shorts. When the astronaut is in the correct posture for elimination, the seat inflates creating a stable platform for the elimination system to attach and dock to the inflated seat. The elimination system locates the portals through RFID sensors. When the elimination process is completed the self-cleaning tentacle cups retract into the elimination system and disconnect. Seat deflates.
Biomimicry inspired our innovation for an in-suit waste management system. Having a smart, internal system that comes together on demand and ensures safety reinforces peace of mind.
What motivated us to move away from an inflatable rectum plug was to create a sense of wellbeing for the astronauts on their long journey. We didn't want the constant reminder of being attached to a toilet. Instead, a soft system which operates on demand.
Our story brings the wow factor because we took our cues from nature to make it a comfortable and dignified experience. Also, having a detachable elimination system will give the astronaut peace of mind. We used technology in a novel way that is passive, and not encumbered by gravity.
This project was co-created with Dr. Peter Angelo.