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Astronauts are subject to a high level of physical stress in weightlessness. The continuous monitoring of important bodily functions, especially of the cardiovascular system, is therefore urgently required during the stay in space. Findings from space medicine can also be applied to the diagnosis of heart diseases, which are the most common cause of death worldwide. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the cost of cardiovascular diseases in 2015 amounted to EUR 46.4 billion. Systems currently used for cardiac diagnostics offer only limited possibilities for monitoring high-risk patients or can only be used for inpatient treatment. The “Dr. Beat” project relies on ballistocardiography (BCG), originally developed for space, which can record actual heart function using modern, digital microelectronics.
Within the scope of the project, a high-precision and cost-effective BCG sensor system is being developed that can be worn on the body as a “wearable” and enables continuous health monitoring.
The extensive signal processing, data evaluation and diagnostics will be automated by means of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and should not only provide new insights into space medicine but also improve diagnostics and early detection of cardiological diseases in everyday life.