Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Remote health monitoring on the way to Mars

Steve Rogerson
January 5, 2016
Remote health monitoring is about to boldly go where mhealth has not gone before, to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The Canadian Space Agency, with help from Montreal-based Hexoskin, is developing a wireless sensor system that can be worn by astronauts to monitor their vital signs.
Hexoskin is helping the CSA develop the On Astronaut Wireless Sensor System (OAWSS.) The OAWSS is part of an advanced crew medical system (ACMS) that will help prepare the CSA to fulfil the needs of future human space travel, to the Moon and Mars, and even further.
The OAWSS enables the ACMS to monitor crew health remotely, and supports the development of a diagnosis and treatment plan in the event of injury or illness during long duration space missions. The sensors can be attached to the astronaut’s body using a biocompatible adhesive, and provide crucial data that can be accessed remotely in real time. 
The primary objectives of the OAWSS are the development and fabrication of wireless sensor units, the development of a sensor interface unit, and the development of a data management system. Each sensor can be attached to the astronaut’s body, as needed, using a biocompatible adhesive. The data management system includes an electronic health record (EHR), a real-time monitoring interface, and an application programme interface (API) compliant with the HL7 standard.
The OAWSS is an essential component of a highly integrated medical care system, and permits the automated collection of health data, data management and long-term monitoring of body metrics.
“We’ve designed a unique wireless body sensor platform that provides long-term vital signs monitoring with a high level of accuracy, reliability and configurability, and we’re very excited to have been selected by the CSA for this project,” said Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO of Hexoskin. “The technology developed will be useful to many space groups within the CSA, including the life sciences and space medicine groups.”
Through its Space Technologies Development Programme, the CSA invests in Canadian companies such as Hexoskin to foster innovations that are deemed essential for the pursuit of space exploration. OAWSS has the potential of becoming a crucial technology to monitor the health of astronauts during long duration space missions.
Hexoskin has been a technology supplier for the Canadian Space Agency since 2011. It previously delivered the Astroskin system, a wearable platform for remote health monitoring currently used in on-going studies and evaluations. Hexoskin also commercialises the company’s smart shirts for sports training and health tracking.