Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Think of the device, above, as a " black box" for the human body . The CPOD (pronounced "see-pod") , being developed by NASA researchers to monitor the health of astronauts, works in the same way as cockpit voice recorders that are invaluable repositories of information for investigators seeking clues in the aftermath of a plane crash. It can be attached noninvasively to the body and relay data on heart performance and other vital signs quickly enough to identify problems before the wearer becomes aware of them.
But the instrument has potential patient applications as well. NASA sees it being used one day by emergency medical technicians at accident scenes, by elite athletes to monitor exertion and to treat soldiers on the battlefield. So far, the device has been tested in deep sea and mountain expeditions, said NASA engineer Carsten Mundt, and could be ready for wider use within the next few years.
-- Gregory Mott