By Erik Klevar
Ntention, formerly known as Arveng Technologies after co-CEO and co-founder Magnus Arveng, have worked on their smart glove for three years. This summer they contemplated giving up on their dream of making human-drone interaction easier through a glove covered in sensors, but now they might be going to the moon in 2024. Ntention is run by Arveng from NTNU School of Entrepreneurhip and several other students from NTNU.
NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis Program, and then send astronauts to Mars. Both missions are expected to include an expansion of surface extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) in both quantity and complexity compared to Apollo. Future planetary spacesuits are expected to improve in nimbleness and comfort over time. But, as pressurized vessels, spacesuits are likely to remain fundamentally cumbersome, limiting the dexterity and precision with which astronauts may perform tasks such as collecting samples and operating robots.
“A smart glove-equipped spacesuit could be a solution” said Dr Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute and the Mars Institute, and director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center. “With it, astronauts could easily control a range of robotic assets, making science and exploration operations on the Moon, Mars and at other destinations more effective and productive”. “When I first saw Ntention’s smart glove in action, I immediately thought of Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” recalled Lee. “A pressurized spacesuit is relatively rigid, and hand and finger motions meet with substantial resistance. In the “Astronaut Smart Glove”, the sensitivity of hand motions is adjustable and can be set high, which means the technology might be adaptable to a stiff pressurized spacesuit”.
The evaluation of the “Astronaut Smart Glove” for Moon and Mars exploration is expected to continue, in particular with applications to the control of other types of robotic assets including robotic manipulators, rovers, and other planetary science and exploration systems. The promising early results obtained this summer might herald a new era in human-robot interactions and space exploration capabilities.
Ntention has been mentioned in Forbes and last week they were featured and interviewed on TV2s God Morgen Norge, a morning TV show. We want to congratulate Ntention on this milestone and wish them luck in the future!