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NASA to Study People Horizontal for Weeks

In one of those uncommon times when space travel research and virtual reality development collide, the NASA bed rest study program is designed to observe the effects of staying in bed for long periods on healthy individuals. NASA's interest is of course to study the effects of long periods of time in microgravity. The VR angle is it is an excellent way to gather data about extended periods with the mind plumbed into a virtual reality environment with the body just…there.

The volunteer participants will be doing something similar - with books to read, and endless videogaming console capabilities jury rigged above their beds, in the effort to keep them laying there. Five thousand usd in payment for each 24 hours spent layingthere is an added incentive aswell, of course. At this present time, it is unclear if catheters are to be used to alieviate the need for bathroom breaks. If they are, then it makes the study all the more relevant for us.

There are two separate studies scheduled. One, the short-term study is to have 21 days of laying in bed, the other, is the long-term study. Ideally, 90 days.

The study results will be invaluable for further development of VR interfaces for those individuals for whom a normal life is not really practical. Many of those have significant disabilities to overcome, which means their bodies start out with problems, potentially influencing any studies done on their prone forms. In the NASA study, all participants are fit, healthy, and have passed a US Air Force physical at the start of the process. This work thus lets us know what deterioration, if any, occurs in the body during this time, and what areas to focus on in order to alleviate or eliminate those issues.

References

"Pillownaut" Stays in Bed for the Sake of Science

NASA Bed rest study home

Staff Comments

 


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