Recently, according to media reports, an astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) put on a smart sweatshirt for the first time. This dress can monitor the physical changes of the wearer without affecting daily activities.
Astronaut David Saint-Jacques arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in December last year. As part of the 58th expedition, he will test the role of the Astrokin biometric system in his six-month space life, including sleep and exercise period.
Astrokin is designed to be portable and unobtrusive. It consists of a comfortable, flexible shirt, a head sensor that looks like a sweat band, and a small recording device that can be tucked into a shirt pocket. The device also includes applications for iPhone and iPad, data synchronization software and web-based dashboards. Five wireless sensors are mounted on the shirt to continuously measure parameters such as skin temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate and blood oxygen level. The sensor is powered by two AA batteries and needs to be replaced every 48 hours.
Astrokin will allow scientists to remove clunky equipment while recording astronauts’ vital signs. CSA officials said in a statement: “This will not interfere with daily activities and does not require a lot of time or attention.”
Because the on-orbit controller transfers the information collected by the celestial body directly to the Earth, scientists can also receive the data directly for faster analysis. This will help them better understand the unique pressure that microgravity brings to the body, including how microgravity changes the sleep cycle. Once the unit is put into use, CSA will provide Astrokin to all participating countries on the International Space Station within the next five years.
CSA officials say the system also has potential ground applications, including those who are bedridden or have limited access to health care in rural communities. Workers can wear this clothing in hazardous environments, such as mines, industrial sites or factories.
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