May the force (shoes) be with you #WearableWednesday #NASA

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NASA has developed these interesting looking sandals to help astronauts maintain bone and muscle health. Good thing fashion doesn’t matter in space!

Maintaining astronaut bone and muscle health in microgravity is an ongoing concern for NASA, and now the agency is “forcing” the issue with a new investigation.

On May 29, 2014, NASA will fly the ForceShoe, designed by XSENS, to the International Space Station (ISS) and, although these shoes don’t measure the same force of Star Wars lore, they will help NASA collect data for studying the loads, or force, placed on crew member bodies during exercise on the space station’s Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED).

To reduce the loss of bone and skeletal muscle strength experienced by astronauts during long duration spaceflight, NASA developed the ARED. The device provides crew members with the ability to perform weight-bearing exercises in space by supplying resistance through the power of vacuum cylinders.

“ARED is a sophisticated exercise device,” said Andrea Hanson, Ph.D. and ISS Exercise Hardware Specialist. “Although it has helped NASA provide better health outcomes for crew members, there is still progress to be made in understanding the effects of exercise on bone and muscle health, and the ForceShoe will help us do that.”

The Force Shoes investigation is an engineering evaluation. Although a number of portable load monitoring technologies (often referred to as force shoes) are under evaluation on Earth, NASA elected to fly the ForceShoe on the space station because it offers comprehensive load measures. During the investigation, researchers will use the shoe to measure exercise loads and ground reaction forces. These are the forces supplied by the ground to a body in contact with it. The device measures force in three axes: up and down, side-to-side and front-to-back. It also captures the torque, or twisting force, applied under foot during ARED exercise.

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”We are eager to understand how joint forces may be different between exercise performed on the ground and in space, and force shoe technology might help us do this in future investigations,” said Hanson.

Enhancing researchers’ understanding of exercise form and the forces applied to the human body while using this unique spaceflight exercise hardware will help them recommend the best exercise regimens for safe and effective bone and muscle strength maintenance during spaceflight.

Read more at the NASA site.


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