MIT's Latest Biosuit For Fashionable Astronauts

MIT engineers including Dava Newman are not giving up the dream of form-fitting spacesuits; here is their latest version.


( BioSuit, a skintight spacesuit )

Researchers at MIT recently unveiled their latest iteration of the BioSuit. The latest garments are outfitted with springlike coils that activate when heated and pull the suit tight against the skin like shrink wrap. The MIT BioSuits won't just help astronauts show off their rock-hard abs, the suits will give them better range of motion.

"With conventional spacesuits, you're essentially in a balloon of gas that's providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space," explained Dava Newman, a professor of astronautics and aeronautics at MIT.

"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counter-pressure -- applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether," Newman added. "We combine passive elastics with active materials. Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."

Form-fitting spacesuits have long been considered by engineers at NASA, but until recently, one major hurdle prevented researchers from turning the idea into reality. How do you get astronauts safely and efficiently in and out of a super-tight suit?

The answer is shape-memory alloys, materials that mimic shrink wrap when heated but that can be stretched back out with little force once cooled. After a number of experiments, MIT researchers found that the BioSuit worked best with nickel-titanium shape-memory alloys.

Here is a picture that I took in 2006; engineers don't give up.


(Dava Newman with Biosuit at NextFest 2006)

The earliest reference I know about for a space suit is the "air-tight suit" from Garrett P. Serviss' 1898 story Edison's Conquest of Mars:

While it was the intention to remain as much as possible within the cars, yet since it was probable that necessity would arise for occasionally quitting the interior of the electrical ships, Mr. Edison had provided for this emergency by inventing an air-tight dress constructed somewhat after the manner of a diver's suit, but of much lighter material. Each ship was provided with several of these suits, by wearing which one could venture outside the car even when it was beyond the atmosphere of the earth...
(Read more about Serviss' air-tight suit)


('Air-Tight Suit' from 1898 story)

As far as I know, the first use of the word "space-suit" was in The Emperor of the Stars, published in 1931 (see space-suit).

Via UPI. See previous articles BioSuit Space Suit Vs. Tentacle Monsters (2006) and Video - Building A Better Space Suit (2012).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/24/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.' - Harry Harrison, 1959.

Are Observed Radio Bursts An Alien Propulsion Technology?
'These cones were driven through space by light pressure, the possibilities of which force they had long utilized.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.

Caltech's ET Laboratory Looks For New Earths
'...set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

Shh! USAF's Secret X-37B Space Plane Breaks Record
'More airplane than spaceship...' - Robert Heinlein, 1951.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'

Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'

Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.

Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'

Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'

Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...

Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.

President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'

Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'

Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'

Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!

Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.