Modular Integrated Stackable Layer (MISL): An AcademicPublic Sector Partnership for Rapid Prototyping and Development Conference Paper uri icon


  • American Society for Engineering Education, 2015. The rapid product development process continues to increase its demands on hardware prototyping tools. These tools need to create prototypes with higher levels of functional integration necessary to accommodate a diverse selection of embedded intelligence, sensors, actuators, communications and data storage technologies. In addition, the turn-around time from prototype to commercialized product continues to decrease so that companies can be first to market, thus gaining important market share. Although there are a number of hardware development tools available, none of these fully meets the demanding requirements of the aerospace, automotive, communications, medical, petrochemical industries1. Based on a number of successful applied research and capstone design projects, the Controls and Data Handling Branch at National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Johnson Space Center (NASA-JSC) recently formed a development partnership for its unique Modular Integrated Stackable Layer (MISL) architecture with the Electronic Systems Engineering Technology Program (ESET) at Texas A&M University. The MISL architecture encompasses a series of layers (printed circuit boards) that can be quickly "stacked" into a small form factor footprint that provides a wide range of technologies. Developers can quickly configure an application-specific configuration by selecting from multiple options for power, microcontroller, communications, sensors and other signal conditioning circuitry. The ESET Program has three primary responsibilities to the newly formed partnership: 1) New layer design, 2) Educational course and laboratory material development, 3) Establishment of an open development community environment. This paper provides an overview of the MISL partnership, the educational and research activities that have been successfully conducted to date, the lessons learned, and the move forward plans for the space qualified rack-and-stack hardware development platform.

name of conference

  • 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings

published proceedings

  • 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Morgan, J., & Porter, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Morgan, Joseph||Porter, Jay

publication date

  • January 2015