Bodycap wearables check astronaut health on International Space Station
December 21, 2016
Two of French company Bodycap’s wearable health monitoring devices are being used by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet (pictured) aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as part of ESA’s EveryWear programme, an ambulatory data collection system.
This programme, developed by France’s space agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), its affiliate Cadmos, a ground laboratory focusing on microgravity science, and space medicine specialists Medes (Institute for Space Medicine & Physiology) includes a personal assistant that astronauts use via a tablet named EveryWear. Pesquet will be the first to use it, during his six-month Proxima mission.
EveryWear combines input from three wearable sensors, two of which are provided by BodyCap: the blood pulse wave sensor is a a tonometer to record how the astronaut’s arteries react to weightlessness; and the e-Tact is a patch that combines skin temperature and activity recording with the focus on studying sleep patterns in space.
E-Tact will be commercially available in Europe and the USA from February 2017 with pre-sales starting at the end of January. The wearable device was designed to combine activity tracking, skin temperature monitoring and body position detection, with data sent wirelessly in real time or stored on the device for subsequent analysis.
It can be worn on any part of the body for a long duration and is suitable for a number of general healthcare applications. These include monitoring chronic diseases and sleep disorders as well as for monitoring overweight people included in adapted physical activity-based rehabilitation programmes.
The blood pulse wave device is a piezoelectric flexible sensor based on Bodycap’s patented upper skin technology. It can detect the blood pulse wave and its changes while exposed to long-term microgravity. It has been developed in partnership with the Paris-based engineering school ESIEE.
“Devices used in space for scientific missions have to meet the strict criteria of rigorous quality checks by space agencies,” said Sébastien Moussay, co-founder of Bodycap. “We are delighted that in the new year we can bring e-Tact technology to everyday e-health applications. The successful use of monitoring devices on the ISS proves the reliability and accuracy of our products. We are now actively looking for investors to support us with the international roll-out of the product.”
Bodycap has experience in developing connected miniaturised devices. One of its already marketed devices is the e-Celsius Performance connected pill. This has been used for internal temperature monitoring during major world sports events, including the Olympics and the New York Marathon as well as international cycling events, besides being used by the military.
Having received ISO13485 and ISO9001 medical device certifications, Bodycap can design products that meet standards and regulations. Its scientific board is made up of professors of medicine and pharmacology.
The company was founded in 2011 by Fabrice Verjus, doctor of electronics, and Sébastien Moussay, doctor of sports science. The company is based in Caen, France and has 15 employees. It has an exclusive license for use of a Philips patent and owns two other patents. Between 2013 and 2015, BodyCap raised €1m from French investment fund Go Capital.