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.
Interested in wellbeing programs, events and resources? Every Wednesday at noon you can stop by virtually and ask any questions you may have about Student Health Services, Counseling and Mental Health Services, and the PEACE office.Virtual Event
Floor captains play a critical role in emergency preparedness, safety awareness and crime prevention techniques throughout the university. They focus on safety and security initiatives while providing guidance and direction to building occupants. During emergency activations, they assist with required evacuations and reentry, shelter-in-place commands, interface with police and other first responders, and help those who may require assistancer.MyTraining Webinar
Roadrunners who plan to learn, teach, live, work or research at UTSA this summer are invited to attend one of these town halls where members of UTSA's Public Health Task Force will share updates from their recently released 4.0 report. The town halls will be a terrific opportunity to ask questions and learn more about summer campus operations.Virtual Event
Honors College students will be presented with their stoles to wear to Commencement. The Honors College provides stoles only to students who are eligible to graduate with honors.Retama Auditorium
Victory celebrations in San Antonio always include honking car horns, and we are carrying that tradition over to UTSA. If you are in San Antonio, join us for a nostalgic Commencement Drive around the Main Campus. This new tradition began in May 2020 and will begin at the Brackenridge (BK 5) parking lot adjacent to the Child Development Center. Vehicles can begin gathering at 5:00 p.m. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.Brackenridge (BK 5) parking lot, Main Campus
In person ceremony for students recieving their doctorate degrees.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom, Main Campus
In person ceremoney for University College students.Retama Auditorium, Main Campus