Smart Workout Clothes To Help Astronauts Stay Fit and Healthy on Missions

Europe's oldest kingdom Denmark is also one of the most space-minded countries. Its University of Copenhagen, Danish Aerospace Company in Odense and Ohmatex in Aarhus collaborate on a project involving smart workout clothes for astronauts

The Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Copenhagen University has spent years with the project, validating intelligent sports tights that in the near future will be taken to the ISS to be tried out by astronauts.

The role of the Danish Aerospace Company is to ascertain that the electronics in the smart clothing are suitable and safe to use.

The three organizations signed a DKK 7.75 million contract within the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP) that foresees collection of data, launch and development of various space appliances, tools and instruments manufactured in Denmark over the next three years. The funding is provided by ESA.

The ESA intends to find out how astronaut exercise routine when in space can be improved, and what specific astronauts need to remain healthy throughout their missions. That's where automated mobile measurements Ohmatex smart tights provide come in.


The ISS crew will test the development in space, and the University of Copenhagen will run control tests on Earth using data the astronauts send. 

Dr Lonnie Grove Petersen, both of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen and at the University of California in San Diego, explained that these smart tights intended to be used for regular workout for crew members will also provide an excellent opportunity for researchers to learn more about the connection between the presence or absence of gravity and human physiology.

The manufacturer of the workout suits Ohmatex provides each of the items with six sensors to pick up electrical muscle activity, oxygen and blood flow data while the astronauts exercise. 

Dr Petersen believes that the new development will allow researchers to improve astronaut training programs and monitor their health to a greater advantage, seeing that they stay in shape during their missions, for instance, to Mars and the Moon, and return to Earth in good health. 

'Many of the changes we see in space are similar to an accelerated aging process and there are many parallels to specific diseases on Earth: Muscles atrophy, bones decalcify, and we see major effects on the cardiovascular system and the brain. Moreover, when the astronauts return, the opposite happens: A kind of regeneration process. In this way, physiology in space can teach us a lot about the development of diseases,' she explains.

See original article at the Copenhagen University website 


Helen Borodina