UTSA chemist awarded $300K by NASA to build lab-on-a-robot prototype
(Nov. 6, 2013) -- UTSA chemistry professor Carlos Garcia, UTSA physics professor Arturo Ayon and HJ Science & Technology Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., have been awarded more than $300,000 in NASA funding to build the fourth prototype of a "lab-on-a-robot" (LOAR). The Rover-like prototype will be designed to conduct on-site planetary compositional analysis.
Utilizing wireless technology, the current LOAR is able to navigate to a global position location, acquire an air sample, perform the analysis and send the data to a remote station without exposing the analyst to the testing environment.
Additionally it's equipped with a chemical sensor that sits atop a highly integrated mobile platform. The chemical sensor contains a microchip with the capacity to determine the composition of a sample in a few minutes.
"This lab-on-a-robot could lay the groundwork for the next generation of NASA robotic missions by allowing for the analysis of air samples or biological compounds without the threat of danger to a human operator," said Garcia.
Additionally, the LOAR also could be used commercially to monitor environmental pollutants that could pose a threat to human health or the environment. Evaluation of samples on-site would provide real-time data analysis and reduce the time and costs associated with conventional laboratory techniques.
The original prototype built in 2008 was a collaboration between UTSA chemistry professor Carlos Garcia and UTSA physics professor Arturo Ayon in the Micro-ElectroMechanical systems (MEMS) Laboratory. Subsequent prototypes were joint efforts with the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. A member of that team, Eric Tavares da Costa, will join Garcia's lab to work on the latest LOAR prototype.
The NASA funding will be directed to build the fourth upgraded prototype, using the experience collected during the development of previous versions that were funded through UTSA and the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research.
Emerging artists work in the full range of traditional methods and materials as well as in interdisciplinary and new media. Themes range from social and cultural critique to investigations that are challenging and exquisite explorations in creative form and image.UTSA Art Gallery, Arts Building, Main Campus
Juan Vallejo’s art conveys his experience as a childhood migrant worker. Opening reception: Thurs, Dec. 5, 6–9 p.m. Free and open to the public.UTSA Terminal 136, Blue Star Arts Complex, 136 Blue St., San Antonio
Portions of Cook Road will be closed for construction related to the new Student Success Center project and Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk upgrades.Cook Road, Main Campus
Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music and peace. A remarkable true experience, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. UTSA partners with The Public Theater for this event. Contact the theater at (210) 458-3288 for scheduling requests.Buena Vista Theater, Downtown Campus
Forty-six modular units will be delivered to Main Campus as part of the new Student Success Center project. The units will enter campus at Brennan Avenue and will travel to their final destination, south of the North Paseo Building and Graduate School and Research Building via Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road and Devine Avenue.Brennan Avenue, Tobin Avenue, Bauerle Road, Devine Avenue, Main Campus
Enjoy two classic holiday performances. Children’s Ballet of San Antonio will present two of The Nutcracker. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will perform a traditional Pastorela play, a morality tale about shepherds going to Bethlehem and the snares the devil uses to dissuade them. Performances are included with regular ITC admission.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chavez Blvd., San Antonio
Celebrating graduating students from the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Guest speaker: Susan Pape '86, chairman of the San Antonio Express-News.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio