Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Gravity Suit, The WonderSuit, and Compression Hose

G-suit Pictures from the Orthostatic Intolerance resource page* The Gravity Suit at this link is donned not by a Space Traveler or Fighter Pilot, but by a Dysautonomia patient who got tired of being tired all day from low blood pressure. The goal is to keep blood in your upper body, increasing the amount of time a dysautonomic patient can stay up or stand. Such aids can help minimize fainting, dizziness, light-headedness, exhaustion, confusion, and other low blood pressure symptoms. I was prescribed compression hose to help with this problem. I think you have to roll the hose on before getting up in the morning, while laying down. Not sure yet.

But I am fascinated by this G-suit and wonder how it would feel to wear it. My concern is how hot it would get - keeping in mind that high body temp and hot weather lowers blood pressure. I fantasize about a G-Suit that regulates blood pressure, ventilates air, and looks radical. They would be woven with a friction-activated nano structure that expands and locks to provide pressure and ventilation. Maybe we could design a suit for POTSies and for Mars colonists. We can prepare ourselves for the future, and for everyday combat here on earth.

The surface would employ multiple layers of refractive material – just like fish – to camouflage the wearer if needed. Or the surface could display information about the wearer’s activities or vitals – among colleagues working together in a group for example. How could this visual information displayed on the suits be deciphered only by those with proper security clearance?

Our vision will be filtered through the ever present Lens through which we view the Martian landscape. We may never see the Martian landscape with naked eyes. Individuals in the group would have software to run filters on their Lens corresponding to the color/pattern camouflaging – so that the succession of filters were coordinated with the changing pattern encodings. kind of like how signal-hopping is used to throw off the interception of radio communication signals (Hedy Lamar the actress came up with this idea). But perhaps the unfiltered display content has to also make sense on its own – to those without the decoder algorithms. Perhaps the public sees a picture on those WonderSuits instead of sensitive data.

Similarly our normal hearing must be supplanted, as any pressurized barrier would affect sound, not to mention the effect of extremely high wind on ear function. I imagine distributed piezo mics and filtered directional mics could contribute to an audio augmentation and spatialization system which would process ambient sounds from all directions. One could listen remotely to another’s sound environment by switching into someone else’s electric channel, and focus in on certain sounds.

It would even be possible to take any (or all) of these sensorial data, reprocess them, and feed them back to the User in a new form. Remote ambient sounds could become visuals in a hiker’s Visual Display Lens, in an environment where high wind renders sound otherwise incomprehensible to human ears, or for a deaf user. But are there detrimental effects from too many such switches? Do the signals become a synaesthesiatic cacophony?

* How the G-suit helped one individual with Dysautonomia, see Before and After the G-suit at the Orthostatic Intolerance Resource

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