NASA iShoe Insole Could Prevent Falls On Earth

The iShoe insole has been developed by Erez Lieberman, an MIT graduate student working for NASA. It could help doctors detect balance problems before a fall.


(iShoe insole for NASA via MIT)

Lieberman, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, is now testing the device with a small group of patients. The current model is equipped to diagnose balance problems, but future versions could help correct such problems, by providing sensory stimulation to the feet when the wearer is off-kilter. "By doing that we can replace the sense and thus improve people's balance," Lieberman says.

The technology was originally developed so that NASA could monitor balance problems in astronauts after they had returned from space. Zero gravity environments are tough on the vestibular system, which is one of the three systems that help a person maintain their balance. The other two are vision and the sensory receptors that maintain your sense of proprioception, where your body parts are in relation to each other.

NASA astronauts are tested for 16 days following their return from space; problems with balance have typically affected astronauts for up to ten days.

"We've developed the first algorithm that is really capable of not just looking at the pressure distribution of proprioceptors on the feet but also analyzing what that's saying," he says.

After Lieberman's own grandmother suffered a bad fall several years ago, he theorized that a balance diagnostic tool could help doctors catch balance problems early.

The iShoe insole measures and analyzes the pressure distribution of the patient's foot; this data could be used to provide the patient's doctor with better information about balance and even to alert family members if a fall has occurred.

Science fiction fans have probably heard of the magnetic-soled shoes from Murray Leinster's Space Tug (1953) or the digital running shoes from Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net (1988). But feet can obviously provide more data.

Ideally, the iShoe insoles would be powered by foot motion; see the stillsuit desert boots for some of Frank Herbert's early thoughts about how it might be done.

Via MIT.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/4/2008)

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 - (" Medical ")

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue." - Clifford Simak, 1961

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1963.

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

 

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

Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

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.