No ordinary outfit: UAE astronaut shows off cool 'smart shirt' that tracks his vitals in space

A previous version of this clothing has been worn by champion athletes during training, with an aim to improve their sports performance

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Photo source: Twitter
Photo source: Twitter

Angel Tesorero

Published: Wed 31 May 2023, 8:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 May 2023, 8:22 PM

At first glance, one would think UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi was wearing just an ordinary shirt on a typical day. But he’s in space, 400km above Earth, so what he was wearing wasn't just any other shirt.

AlNeyadi tweeted his OOTD (outfit of the day) aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday and captioned it: “What I'm wearing isn't just any shirt. The Bio-Monitor smart shirt & headband I have on track vital health stats such as heart rate, blood pressure & more offering insights into our body's response to microgravity.

“This technology can be a game-changer for remote healthcare,” he underscored.

All-in-one wearable technology

Created by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Bio-Monitor is an all-in-one wearable technology designed to fit into an astronaut's daily routine aboard the ISS so it can monitor and record an astronaut’s vital signs.

According to the CSA, the black smart shirt can measure the astronaut’s pulse and electrical activity of the heart, blood pressure, breathing rate and volume, skin temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and physical activity levels.

The smart shirt can be worn during sleep or while astronauts are exercising or doing their daily routines aboard the ISS. It can easily send information to the ground, where scientists can monitor the astronauts' health around the clock as they orbit the planet.

In the case of AlNeyadi, all his vital signs are sent to Dr Hanan AlSuwaidi, the flight doctor of the Emirati astronaut who is currently on the longest Arab space mission in history.

How is it worn?

The smart shirt is worn like a typical snug shirt. It has adjustable straps to position small metal sensors against the skin in order to get a good reading of vital signs.

If an astronaut is about to exercise, he or she can use a tablet application to specify the type of activity and see his or her vital signs throughout the session.

Once finished, the astronaut disconnects the battery pack and plugs it into a base, which downloads the data to Earth through the Station's communications system for scientific analysis.


AlNeyadi mentioned that the technology can be a game-changer for remote healthcare. He is right as the smart system has the potential to help people who are bedridden, house-bound, or living in rural communities with limited access to medical support.

It can also be worn by workers in dangerous environments, such as mines, industrial sites, or factories, and all their vital signs can be monitored, according to the CSA.

Astronauts, however, are not the only ones who have worn the smart shirt. An early version was used by champion Canadian skiers Chloé, Justine, and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe to train at elite levels and improve their sports performance.


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