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Destination: International Space Station. First Stop: Antarctica

The Canadian Space Agency uses an Antarctic mission to field test a "smart shirt for space"

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 01/22/14 -- Canadian Space Agency

XPAntarctik, a crew of six experienced explorers, leaves Canada tomorrow on the first leg of an unprecedented 45-day expedition to Antarctica. During their expedition, the team will be testing Astroskin, a prototype "smart shirt" for space for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Developed for the CSA by Carre Technologies of Montreal, Quebec, Astroskin is a prototype medical monitoring system designed for astronauts that could, one day, become an important tool for patients here on Earth. The shirt is equipped with a series of non-invasive sensors that automatically record and process the wearer's vital signs, sleep quality and activity level. This data is relayed to medical teams on the ground to monitor a crew member's health, behaviour and performance during daily operations and exercise, or to assist in watching over sick or injured astronauts. Although the system was designed with astronauts in mind, its ability to manage the wearer's medical data from any location holds great promise for patients on Earth requiring close medical surveillance, especially those in remote communities, far from a doctor.

Like all space technologies, Astroskin must be tested extensively to understand its performance and how it can be improved for use in space. The CSA has teamed up with the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, which will test the prototype in its labs, in addition to the tests with XPAntarctik. Professors Jean P. Boucher and Alain Steve Comtois will assess Astroskin's accuracy, reliability of data, ease of use and comfort.

Quick facts

--  Astroskin will be put to the test in the unpredictable conditions that
    the XPAntarctik explorers will face in Antarctica, which are comparable
    to the extreme environment and isolated conditions experienced by space-

--  CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who has an avid interest in polar
    exploration, will follow and interact with the expedition members on
    social media during their mission. Saint-Jacques will wear an Astroskin
    prototype during his regular exercise routine, comparing and sharing his
    experience with the crew in Antarctica.

--  Carre Technologies has also developed Hexoskin, a version commercially
    available for athletes and used by research institutions to monitor
    health outside of the usual clinical settings, during real life
    activities. XPAntarctik's expedition begins on February 2, when the crew
    will set sail from Argentina for Antarctica.

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Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
[email protected]

Rose-Aline LeBlanc, Press Relations Officer
Press Relations and
Special Events Division, UQAM
Communications Service
514-987-3000, ext. 2248
[email protected]

Juliette Boissinot
XPAntarctik Communications Director
[email protected]

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier
CEO, Hexoskin (Carre Technologies)
[email protected]

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