26 September 2023

UC researchers send product into space

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A University of Canberra researcher has delivered a game-changing piece of wearable technology to the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to minimise the impact of weightlessness on astronauts.

Professor of Physiotherapy at the University, Gordon Waddington said the wearable device was a type of sensory sock designed as a countermeasure to the weightlessness of space, which disrupts astronauts’ sense of balance when they return to earth.

“This represents an exciting stage in the project for our team here at the University of Canberra (UC),” Dr Waddington said.

“The Australian Space Agency-funded grant enabled us to fabricate and deliver new Australian-designed technology to the Human Sensorimotor Research Lab at the NASA Johnson Space Centre (JSC),” he said.

“We know that movement ability after long periods of space flight is severely reduced for astronauts, and this technology will allow us to undertake the next exciting stage of the project to address that.”

Dr Waddington said his team would be working with staff at NASA JSC and assessing ways of increasing the safety and wellbeing of astronauts when they needed to move about immediately following a long trip to Mars.

He said the next stages of the project would involve integrating a pilot of the systems within the human research program at NASA JSC later this year.

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