World Footwear


NASA drives the ForceShoe investigation

Jul 17, 2014 United States

HRP ForceShoe Evaluation Video, Image Credit: NASA

The agency in charge of the American space program leads an investigation to address ongoing concerns about the maintenance of the astronaut’s bone and muscle health in microgravity

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA, is flying the ForceShoe, designed by XSENS, to the International Space Station (ISS) in order to collect data that allows them to study the force placed on crew member bodies during exercise on the space station’s Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), validating the use of portable load monitoring devices in space.

To reduce the loss of bone and skeletal muscle strength experienced by astronauts during long duration spaceflight, NASA developed the ARED. The device provides crew members with the ability to perform weight-bearing exercises in space by supplying resistance through the power of vacuum cylinders. “ARED is a sophisticated exercise device” and “although it has helped NASA provide better health outcomes for crew members, there is still progress to be made in understanding the effects of exercise on bone and muscle health, and the ForceShoe will help us do that”, commented Andrea Hanson, Ph.D. and ISS Exercise Hardware Specialist.

During the investigation, researchers will use the shoe to measure exercise loads and ground reaction forces (forces supplied by the ground to a body in contact with it). ”We are eager to understand how joint forces may be different between exercise performed on the ground and in space, and force shoe technology might help us do this in future investigations,” said Hanson.

Enhancing the researchers’ understanding of exercise forms and the forces applied to the human body while using this unique spaceflight exercise hardware will help them recommend the best exercise regimens for safe and effective bone and muscle strength maintenance during spaceflight. According to NASA the shoes will use the tool for other Human Research Program research or for ongoing day-to-day operations on the space station and in future exploration missions.

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