by Ayliffe Brown

September 2, 2015

Wearables for Space Exploration


Wearable technology didn’t just appear one day. It has taken the big thinkers of humanity, with dreams of traveling to other planets or universes to establish the technology used in the basic fitness tracker. Yet, even with this pioneering force the public is left in the dark about how useful and necessary wearable technology is for space exploration. We are featuring a talk on Sept 10 in the WT | Toronto conference that specifically touches on how wearables help humans survive in other worldly areas. Until then, read about a few wearables that do more promote wellness; they establish life where no person can live alone.

Redbull Statos Mission features Felix Baumgartner mission of breaking the sound barrier while free-falling from the Stratosphere in 2013.  The mission was successful! They special full-pressure suit was designed to withstand the high altitude and protect Baumgartner’s body from the force of gravity at such a high length. The suit is designed to withstand +100°F to -90°F, and can protect the body from experiencing ‘the bends’ while falling at the speed of sound. This works by applying pressure to the body, of about 3.5 pounds per square inch. The controller of the suit is about the size of a hockey puck. It records and displays the pressure of the suit at various altitudes. The pressure helmet is just as important as the suit itself. It weighs about 8 pounds. The helmet comes equipped with a visor to assist the eyes to orientate while descending or landing. Most importantly, the helmet comes with a 100% oxygen regulator, and a heating circuit to prevent fogging or icing. There are back-up systems to prevent the helmet from cracking, or coming loose during the mission.


WT has featured Microsoft Hololens OnSight as a method to use digital technology without a touch screen. As a re-cap, OnSight is a holographic interface for the HoloLens made in collaboration between JPL and Microsoft. From a space perspective, OnSight can give rover scientist the ability to walk around and explore Mars from the safety of Earth. Exploring a 3D space on another planet with a rover but still physically located in your office, is about the coolest progress in augmented reality.


Lastly, Jocelyn Dunn from HI-SEAS will be speaking at the WT | Toronto Conference next week! WT also just features an interview with her – check it out. She has been working with a team of 5 on an 8 month project. Their goal? To live and explore mars with the help of Hexoskin. The team lives in a domed habitat in a desolated part of earth that could represent conditions on Mars. Together they wear the Hexoskin while doing their daily workouts, as well as in EVA stories. The Hexoskin collects physical data on the body to bring awareness to the wearer when they begin to feel stress, and how to resolve it.  For more information please register for the WT | Toronto conference & you will be able to speak face to face with members from the HI-SEAS mission.


It seems as though technology is only enhancing the human ability to defy gravity and break world records. Yet, our bodies cannot handle the extreme conditions alone. We must use wearable technology to re-define what our minds and bodies are capable of. Time to see where we will go next.