Blog PostsAFRL Video Features Aptima

AFRL Video Features Aptima

The Confined Space Monitoring System

Even with an attendant nearby, a mechanic operating inside an aircraft wing or other enclosed space can be quickly overtaken by noxious fumes in minutes. To improve on the safety of workers at Air Force and other defense depots, Aptima and its partner, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (LM-Aero) are devising a new Confined Space Monitoring System that draws on several R&D innovations. The new end-to-end system will provide continuous real-time monitoring of worker locations, their vital functions, and surrounding environmental conditions, improving detection and injury prevention.

Boosting worker safety and efficiency

Current safety protocols require an observer to check in and communicate with a confined space worker every 15 minutes or so as they operate in small, out-of-sight areas in the presence of toxic gases, low oxygen, electrical, and other hazards.

The new system uses non-invasive sensors worn by maintenance and repair workers to transmit their physiological, environmental, and location data to a central monitoring station. Algorithms assess and classify their health and safety status by interpreting heart rate, breathing, motion, air quality, and other indicators. A single operator using the Confined Space Monitoring System can readily monitor the “green, yellow, red” health status of multiple workers simultaneously. Should the system sense or identify a problematic worker state, its built-in decision support will coordinate appropriate interventions and emergency response.

Confined Spaces

United States Air Force aircraft mechanics work in claustrophobic spaces, such as the fuel tanks within the wings of an aircraft, to do their job. Some of these spaces can be as small as the size of a commercial aircraft window. The Air Force Research Laboratory – AFRL is currently developing a confined spaces monitoring system that significantly improves worker safety while reducing the manpower costs compared to current monitoring processes.

Posted by Wright-Patterson AFB on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

For more information about the Confined Space Monitoring System, please contact