Fighter pilots experience varying amounts of multi-directional G-forces during combat missions and training. The negative effects of this prolonged exposure to G-force can have a major impact on the health of the pilot. By requiring fighter pilots to wear a simple mouth guard containing a Piezo Floating Gate (PFG) sensor, the G-force experienced by the pilot during flight can be monitored through a low-power, minimally invasive method. Our original objective in this project was to experimentally derive a linear mathematical model between the input force applied and sensor output in order to 1) prove that the PFG technology can be used to monitor the force experienced by pilots and 2) open the door for other applications of mouth-guard based monitoring through the use of PFG technology. Overall our updated objective for the project became to obtain preliminary data in the application of PFG technology in monitoring the force experienced by pilots.

In this project, we developed an interface for the sensor as well as an experimental setup to validate the PFG sensor as a device for monitoring the compressive force applied by the wearer. The interface consists of series of MATLAB scripts that communicate with a microcontroller over a virtual serial port. The microcontroller interface swith DAC’s and ADC’s to communicate with the Adaptive Integrated Microsystem (AIM) Lab’s PFG sensor. These commands serve to either program the sensor (initialize it for use) or gather data from the sensor. Finally, we wrote an algorithm to automatically program the sensors overnight.

The experimental setup consists of an actuator that presses on a piezo-film with a constant force. We measured the quantity of force that we are applying as well as the output of our sensor in order to obtain preliminary data on their relationship. Running these experiments provided preliminary testing for the AIM Lab PFG sensor in mouth guard based monitoring.