When we talk about wearable tech, usually it’s in connection with smartwatches, wristbands, Google Glass and other gadget-y accessories that are strapped to a user, allowing for hands free functions. A piece of wearable tech isn’t enough to keep you warm or even decent, always requiring the liberal application of analog wearables (read: regular old clothes) in order to be used in public without warranting immediate arrest.
There is an exception to the above stipulation requiring wearables be worn with clothes, and it’s being tested out for use in space: the biometric shirt. Still obviously requiring the use of pants, Astroskin further integrates mobile identity with the human body by combining the utility of clothing with advances vital biometric measurement tech.
Astroskin was recently tested on a month long harrowing expedition, by explorers in Antarctica, for eventual use in the International Space Station. The testing was being done on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency.
The biometric shirt is the second offering from Montreal startup Carré Technologies, an upgraded version of its first product called Hexoskin (which is a biometric shirt you can actually buy right now through the Carré Technologies website). Astroskin measures heart rate, breathing rate and respiration volume. It measures footstep biometrics, both in total steps and steps per minute. Astroskin even measures you while you sleep, providing an efficiency score.
The measured data is processed on-shirt in a small device that fits in the explorer or astronaut’s pocket. The device then simultaneously relays the data to a synced smartphone and the company’s servers.
Much like the more health-focused wearables intended for the non-space-bound Earthlings requiring at home medical monitoring, Astroskin is being prepared to provide constant off the clock readings of vital signs. When it comes to remote health monitoring, the more data the better: an anomaly that goes undetected while an astronaut is sleeping could lead to complications that would otherwise be avoided with constant measurement.
Those who count themselves as regular readers of Mobile ID World will notice that, though incredibly novel, this new gadget fits into a growing trend of vital biometrics mattering in technological innovation.
Recently, journalist Eliza Strickland published an article on IEEE Spectrum about the Astroskin testing interviewing the explorers, the CSA and Carré Technologies.