Kellie Gerardie, a U.S. Payload Specialist and Bioastronautics Researcher for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), will become this week the first astronaut to use the Astroskin wearable vital signs monitoring system on a suborbital flight.
This is an important milestone for the Astroskin research platform, because the wearable sensors will be worn for the first time during a whole mission: launch, adaptation to microgravity, and landing.
This will allow the IIAS to collect physiological data during critical stages of the spaceflight: from rest to 3g acceleration and then microgravity, an astronaut's body experience stress and needs to adapt to the constant changing environment while the Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spaceship leaves New Mexico for space and comes back. These changes can be measured using Astroskin's wearable sensors.
The Galactic 05 research mission spaceflight is scheduled to launch on November 2nd 2023 from Spaceport America, 32 km southeast of the city of Trust or Consequences, New Mexico.
The Bio-Monitor Astroskin system is used aboard the International Space Station since 2019 to conduct medical research on the effects of spaceflight on human physiology. Four research projects are currently ongoing, mostly focusing on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Its deployment in space has been funded by the Canadian Space Agency and the system has been used by astronauts from CSA, NASA, ESA, JAXA, and the UAE Space Agency.
Over the years, Astroskin has become a standard for complex, continuous vital signs monitoring for space research. The system was awarded the 2022 International Space Station Research Innovation Award for Human Health in Space by the American Astronautical Society.
Kellie Gerardie has been training with the Astroskin to collect baseline data for over a year. The use of Astroskin before, during, and after the flight will be supported the IIAS payload integration team: Yvette Gonzalez, Dr Shawna Pandya, and Dr Aaron Persad.
Read more about Astroskin wearable sensors: https://hexoskin.com/astroskin
Read more about the Galactic 05 mission space research program here.
Since the late 19th century, modern research on human performance has led to the study of cognitive abilities, physiological, and psychological factors that influence human capabilities.
Although significant pioneering efforts have been made in the 20th century and in recent decades, there are still several unexplored research areas that could potentially enhance the resilience and health of military personnel and warfighters. Key areas include understanding the neuroscience of performance, human-technology interaction, performance in extreme environments, individual variability, collaborative performance, and ethical approaches to performance enhancement. Additionally, long-term skill development, cross-disciplinary research, non-traditional performance metrics, and performance in virtual environments hold untapped potential for transformative discoveries.
Top institutions such as the U.S. Navy Naval Research Center (USA), the Canadian Armed Forces, and the French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA) (France), are at the forefront of state-of-the-art studies pertaining to human performance, readiness, stress, fatigue, and fitness. Leveraging the Hexoskin and Astroskin smart garments with embedded health sensors and an end-to-end platform providing continuous health status and high-resolution data, these organizations are paving the way for deeper understanding and advancements in the fields of human physiology and performance optimization. From assessing the endurance, physical fitness and resilience of warfighters to unraveling the mysteries of physiological responses, their efforts promise to reshape our comprehension of human potential, enhancing readiness, and fostering safer and more effective operational environments.
One of the organizations leading the charge includes the team at the U.S. Naval Health Research Center located in San Diego that aims to improve the health, well-being, and performance of the United States military personnel and veterans. Their research revolves around monitoring and enhancing Warfighter performance and operational readiness through the integration of physical and cognitive monitoring.
The team at Naval Health Research Center uses cutting-edge wearable biometric sensors, including Hexoskin and Astroskin devices, to measure vital signs such as ECG, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and breathing rate in real-time and other important stress, fatigue, cognitive, and performance markers with heart rate variability (HRV). In their facilities that include simulation labs, driving simulators, and virtual reality (VR) environments, they are validating the accuracy and effectiveness of Hexoskin and Astroskin by comparing them with gold standard measurements. Their goal is to integrate solutions like Hexoskin & Astroskin with custom virtual reality programs and other research tools for comprehensive data analysis. The data collected will help them perform stress levels assessments, fatigue, and overall performance, leading to personalized training plans and strategies for stress and fatigue management for deployment in real-world scenarios.
Source: Astroskin Webinar: Amy Silder, PhD. Biomonitoring in Warfighter Performance
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) studied the performance and reliability of the Hexoskin garment. A Canadian Forces Health Services Group reserve unit used the Hexoskin garment during a two-day military field exercise that included reconnaissance, reacting to enemy fire, and providing tactical field care to casualties.
The final exercise was conducted over two nights and three days in moderate weather conditions in British Columbia, Canada.
Hexoskin was found to be comfortable during various environmental and weather conditions while continuously collecting cardiac, respiratory, activity, and sleep data.
Another innovative project with Astroskin is led by the Agence Innovation Defense under the Ministère des Armées in France. The SPEEN project aims to monitor pilots during flights, measuring their real-time health parameters including blood oxygen levels with the Astroskin SpO2 pulse oximeter. The project aims to alert pilots of unnoticed situations and predict critical conditions using artificial intelligence. Conceived by Ship-of-the-line lieutenant Christophe and supported by Frigate Captain Gautier, both test pilots at the Centre d'expérimentations pratiques et de réception de l'aéronautique navale (CEPA). The research involving Astroskin has been conducted in partnership with the Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA), the Département de Médecine Aéronautique Opérationnelle (DMAO), Hexoskin and Knopé, Hexoskin's Distributor in France.
Source: Agence Innovation Défense
Thanks to their efforts and for enhancing flight safety by understanding and predicting unexplained physiological events during flight through individual data and AI, the team received the Prix de l'audace award given by the Ministère des Armées in 2022.
By tracing new paths in human performance research and innovative technology applications, these efforts can support not only the resilience and well-being of active military personnel and warfighters but also provide better support and care to veterans, and beyond.
These groundbreaking studies and projects can also extend to the lives of veterans who transition to civilian life. As we refine our understanding of stress, fatigue, and resilience, the impact of the work accomplished can influence how we approach healthcare and well-being services to improve the quality of life of active personnel and our retired service members.
As we navigate unexplored frontiers, the journey extends beyond the laboratory and battlefield, shaping a future where the dedication of our armed forces is met with a reciprocal commitment to their lifelong health and success.
Contact Hexoskin today to discuss how the Hexoskin & Astroskin end-to-end platform can support your projects.