Space is the next frontier, and scientists are learning that the human body reacts differently to low- and zero-gravity conditions than it does here on Earth. As a result, collecting biometric data from space travellers is critically important. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet recently returned from six months in the International Space Station (ISS), where he was wired to record data about his body’s adaptation to weightlessness.

As part of the Proxima mission, Pequet wore a small sensor patch called e-Tact, made by the French company BodyCap. The same device is currently available for terrestrial users as well. The system records body motion and acceleration, position, and temperature, taking readings 50 times a second. It can record up to three days’ of data for later downloading, or it can link to a smartphone app using Bluetooth LE (low-energy). The device will run about a week between recharging, and is fully charged in about two hours.

Devices such as the e-Tact can be convenient ways to monitor the health and activity of individuals, which could have a major impact on the effectiveness of treatments for conditions such as heart disease or obesity, and help detect health changes in at-risk individuals.