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 ")

Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... ' - Pournelle and Niven, 1981.

Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...' Gene Roddenberry, 1968.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.' - Jack Vance, 1962.

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...' - Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

 

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

Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'

LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '

Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'

Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'

Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'

Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...

Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'

3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!

Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'

3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'

News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'

Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

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.