Scientists from MIT have designed a next-generation spacesuit that acts practically as a second skin, and could revolutionize the way future astronauts travel into space. (Photo : Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)
Astronauts are used to climbing into conventional bulky, gas-pressurized spacesuits, but this new design could allow them to travel in style. Soon they may don a lightweight, skintight and stretchy garment lined with tiny, muscle-like coils. Essentially the new suit acts like a giant piece of shrink-wrap, in which the coils contract and tighten when plugged into a power supply, thereby creating a “second skin.”
"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," lead researcher Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, said in astatement.
"We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure - applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration."
Newman, who has worked for the past decade on a design for the next-generation spacesuit, describes the new garment in detail in the journal IEEE/ASME: Transactions on Mechatronics.
The MIT BioSuit’s coils, which are a main feature of the outfit, are made from a shape-memory alloy (SMA). At a certain temperature, the material can “remember” and spring back to its engineered shape after being bent or misshapen.
Skintight suits are not a novel idea, but in the past scientists have always struggled with the question: how do you get in and out of a suit that is so tight? That’s where the SMAs come in, allowing the suit to contract only when heated, and subsequently stretched back to a looser shape when cooled.
Though the lightweight suit may not seem at first like it can withstand the harsh environment that is outer space, Newman and his colleagues are sure that the BioSuit would not only give astronauts much more freedom during planetary exploration, but it would also fully support these space explorers.
Newman and his team are not only working on how to keep the suit tight for long periods of time, but also believe their design could be applied to other attires, such as athletic wear or military uniforms.
"An integrated suit is exciting to think about to enhance human performance," Newman added. "We’re trying to keep our astronauts alive, safe, and mobile, but these designs are not just for use in space."
Scuse you, Dava Newman is a FEMALE professor at MIT.
(fyi, I passed out in a vacuum chamber wearing an earlier version of this suit. =D)
What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.
Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.
The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.
A poster on Reddit asks: What are two events that took place in the same time in history but don’t seem like they would have?
Spain was still a fascist dictatorship when Microsoft was founded.
There were no classes in calculus in Harvard’s curriculum for the first few years because calculus hadn’t been discovered yet.
Two empires [Roman & Ottoman] spanned the entire gap from Jesus to Babe Ruth.
When the pyramids were being built, there were still woolly mammoths.
The last use of the guillotine was in France the same year Star Wars came out.
Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded.
When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.
The first wagon train of the Oregon Trail heads out the same year the fax machine is invented.
Nintendo was formed the same year Van Gogh painted Starry Night.
Cleopatra (the last Pharaoh of Egypt) lived closer to the moon landings than she did to the building of the Pyramids of Giza.
When Kublai Khan became the Mongol Emperor, the first humans were setting foot on New Zealand.
If you thought the post on twins sharing consciousness was awesome, wait until you hear this.
A 44-year-old French man one day went to the trip to the doctor’s because he felt a pain in his left leg. He’s a married man with two kids and a steady job.
Doctor’s found that he had hydrocephalus as a child (when your brain is filled with fluids) so they decided to run some brain scans.
What they found was that the majority of his head was filled with fluid. Over time, the buildup caused his lateral ventricles to swell so much that his brain had been flattened to a thin sheet.
Doctors estimated that his brain mass had been reduced by at most 70%, affecting the areas in charge of motion, language, emotion, and, well, everything.
Shockingly, he was fine. While his IQ was only 75, he wasn’t mentally challenged. He held a steady job, raised a family, and didn’t have trouble interacting with others.
Over time, his brain had adapted to all that pressure, and even though he had fewer neurons that most, Jacques was still a fully functional human being.
The doctors drained the fluid and while his brain is much smaller now, he is still a healthy individual with a normal life.
Somebody tried to stump this squid by putting it in front of a background that its camouflage mechanisms could never hope to imitate…
So it turned itself transparent.
stick it to the man, Squid.
“Man, FUCK yo’ plaid.”
So apparently there’s this thing called Cute Aggression, where when you see something cute you FEEL VIOLENT because you are so frustrated you can’t pet it, or possibly can’t pet it enough.
Tumblr makes so much more sense after learning this.
#Steinbeck did it first
Orbital path of asteroid near miss in 2002. Yah, that’s how close we came to nuclear winter and possible total destruction.A visitor.
It’s like it’s trying so hard to hit us and it just can’t do it
These are all really cute
So remember, if anyone ever tries to tell you what’s ‘natural’, laugh the fuck in their face.
Here are a few more:
You know, if you’re someone who’s trying to design a culture for a story or such, be it fantasy or alient sci-fi stuff, these are actually pretty good resources to base the culture off of in aspects of reproduction.
the variety of animals out there is awesome. And you should youtube bird of paradise dancing, they’re so damn cool and look really surreal
The future is coming! Some are calling it the 3rd or “3D Industrial Revolution”. But how does 3D Printing work, and what can you expect?
…so basically what everyone failed to explain to me is that 3D printers are replicators.
I don’t know why I didn’t get this myself, but suddenly I’m really excited
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