The new SmartTex shirt can use integrated sensors to transfer physiological data from astronauts to Earth via a wireless communication network. In this way, the effects of the space environment on the human cardiovascular system, especially with regard to long-term manned space missions, will be evaluated and documented.
Developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany, in cooperation with DSI Aerospace Technology GmbH, Bremen/Germany, the Medical Faculty of Bielefeld University, Bielefeld/Germany, and textile research partner Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheimt/Germany, SmartTex will be tested for the first time as part of the Wireless Compose-2 (WICO2) project by German ESA astronaut Dr. Matthias Maurer, who left for the “Cosmic Kiss” mission on the International Space Station (ISS) for 6 months on the rescheduled start on November 11, 2021.
Maurer can wear this tailor-made shirt comfortably on his body during his everyday work on the ISS. For this, his body measurements were used as the basis for the cut development and the production of the shirt. The necessary sensors as well as data processing and communication modules were integrated into the shirt's cut in such a way that they interfere as little as possible and are always positioned in the right place, regardless of the wearing situation.
The SmartTex shirt is intended to provide a continuous picture of the vital functions of astronauts. This will be particularly relevant for future long-term manned space missions to the Moon and Mars.
During the BEAT (Ballistocardiography for Extraterrestrial Applications and Long-Term Missions) experiment, Maurer will be the first astronaut to wear a T-shirt equipped with sensors that measure his ballistocardiographic data such as pulse and relative blood pressure.
For the future, a technology transfer of the SmartTex shirt for application in the field of fitness or even in telemedicine is conceivable.