Researchers from the University of the United Arab Emirates are studying the impact of space suit designs

Al-Ain: Rashid Al-Nuaimi

A team from the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the College of Information Technology at UAE University is working with Tohoku University in Japan to study the importance of hearing as a sensory signal that allows astronauts to move safely through space. and avoid the risk of tripping that could lead to serious injuries. It can lead to death.

The research team, led by Dr. Jose Berengueres, studied the records found from NASA’s study of the Apollo mission on the moon, and revealed that 27 falls and 21 trips took place due to the difficulty of reading the terrain in the surrounding area, along with other factors. This confirms the need to develop space suits so that they are strong and flexible, giving astronauts freedom of movement without hampering their senses or limiting their ability to perform some movements, especially in space missions en route to the moon and soon to Mars.

The study measures the impact of hearing on a person’s ability to perceive, understand and remember spatial relationships. The researchers conducted the Fukuda-Unterberger test for 14 participants, in order to determine the impact of limited hearing on a person’s ability to balance and move. .

“All the data we have at the moment indicate that the development of hearing range through spacecraft is important for the success of space missions, but how much improvement it ultimately represents is still unknown, how much we can do to increase the safety of astronauts, “Dr. Jose said. If it’s 1 percent, it’s worth exploring, especially if it’s a cheaper or heavier option than tactile simulators. “

The team includes student Maryam Al-Kuwaiti, who previously worked on tactile feedback devices installed inside the shoes to record information about the ground, and they are still testing the effectiveness of placing a type of regular microphone inside the shoes as a cheaper, easier and more sustainable option.

Although the team has already started performing preliminary experiments with microphones attached to the shoes, it is seeking to perform further experiments and research using a real space suit to achieve more realistic results. The difference between the density of the atmospheres on Mars and Earth plays an important role in evaluating the effectiveness of integrating the microphone boot into the spacesuit.

“People are usually unaware of how much sensory information they are using to navigate their immediate surroundings,” said Jennifer Fogarty of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. There are many sensors in our bodies and I guess we take them for granted. On Earth, our visual and tactile senses work well enough, for perhaps hearing is not essential, but things may be different in space. “

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