Scientists working to help astronauts regain balance after extended flights in zero gravity say they’ve found a way to use the research to help elderly people avoid catastrophic falls.
An “iShoe” insole contains sensors that read how well a person is balancing. The point is to gather information for doctors and to get people to a specialist — before they fall.
Erez Lieberman, a graduate student who developed the technology while working as an intern at NASA, says a damaging fall is preceded by numerous warnings, similar to how high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure point to a coming heart attack.
“You gradually get worse and worse at balancing,” said Lieberman, who studies in a joint Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology health science and technology program. “If you know the problem is there, you can start addressing the problem.” (link)