Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Micro-miniaturization technology enabling National Aeronautics & Space Administration Montreal, Quebec--August 20, 2007— As Dave Williams wraps up NASA’s STS-118 shuttle mission with the rest of the crew, years of training and a technology developed in Montreal have helped him soar to great heights. For decades, NASA has been studying astronaut's physiological responses to zero gravity, to living in outer space and to staying in a space vehicles and space stations for extended periods of time. NASA recently conducted under water research since the environment provides some useful similarities to working in space. Using off the shelf technology, developed by THOUGHT TECHNOLOGY LTD of Montreal. The device is a wearable outfit that records multiple physiological measurements simultaneously. The technology is ultra miniaturized, using a standard FlexComp Infiniti(tm) physiological encoder, storing the data using flash memory cards. The astronauts, Mission Specialist Dave Williams, a Canadian Physician, and Astronaut Ron Garin, an American, wore the "gear" throughout the day while living in an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) undersea habitat, off the shore of Key Largo Florida, 65 feet down below the surface. NASA researcher William Toscano described the mission, “Our project was called Nemo Nine. It was 22 days long, with 2 astronauts participating. They wore the FlexComp Infiniti(tm) system for three of the mission days. What we were looking was the effect of isolation, workload and fatigue on the individuals. We're using the Nemo Nine environment as an analog of a space station.” It was all stored on flash memory cards, “ We recorded five measurements-- heart rate and electrocardiogram, respiration, skin conductance, hand temperature and finger pulse volume. Throughout the day they had activities and tasks to do." New, micro-miniaturization technologies have enabled NASA researchers to use commercially produced biomedical devices like the FlexComp Infiniti(tm) to do what used to take a wall full of equipment easily weighing over 1000 pounds. Now, the device, manufactured by Thought Technology a company that is the world's largest provider of medical and consumer biofeedback instrumentation, weighs less than a pound and has built-in data storage using flash memory cards. NASA’s Toscano commented on the extreme research environment and on the air pressure, "at 65 feet is about 2.65 (atmospheres) -- different from at the surface. There were questions of whether the instrument would function, would it work? And it did, with flying colors! “Thought Technology also produces the GSR2, the world's best selling hand held electronic (computerizable) consumer Biofeedback device.
Posted by Communications Director at 6:10 PM