Monday, 30 Nov, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: Baggy Spacesuit that Shrinks to Fit the Astronaut


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According to David Akin and Shane Jacobs from the University of Maryland in College Park, in the near future astronauts will have the possibility to get suited and booted in just a matter of seconds. This would be possible by stepping into a special baggy suit that afterwards contracts with the help of pneumatic artificial muscles to ensure an ideal fit.

The new invention will significantly improve the efficiency of astronauts' movements during their missions. Jacobs described their new project at the International Astronautical Congress that recently took place in Daejong, South Korea.

"Our research shows that of the physical work astronauts actually do on a spacewalk, only one-quarter of it is mission related. The rest goes into just moving the spacesuit around," outlined Akin. The same technology is used to fit the suit's gloves.

In addition, the new invention will feature stereo LCD spectacles and a video screen incorporated into the helmet. These could be used to receive augmented reality imagery, for instance, which will allow seeing the spacecraft that is hidden from view. Currently, researchers carry out tests of the new spacesuit in the university's neutral buoyancy tank.

Posted by Maxriter

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