Exercising is an important part of daily life, more so for astronauts than us gravity-bound folk. To ensure those aboard the International Space Station get exercise that is both extensive and of adequate quality, the space agency has developed a pair of sandals called ForceShoes that are able to measure load.
When astronauts spend extensive amounts of time in space, they risk weakening of the bones and muscles caused by the lack of gravity. To combat this, NASA developed a device called ARED, which lets astronauts perform weight-centric exercises using vacuum cylinders for resistance.
The ForceShoes will be worn by astronauts on the ISS while they perform their daily exercises, and the related data will then provide researchers with information that helps refine the exercise system. Ultimately, says the agency, the researchers will be better able to recommend exercise regimens for those in space to maintain their strength.
The ForceShoes effort is split into three stages: first will be a validation of the technology through use, after which will be used to pull data on force experienced at specific joints, like the knees. Finally, if all goes well, the technology will then be evaluated for further use in other Human Research Program projects.