This medical video is about how NASA has developed a new way to track the vital signs of astronauts in orbit, and the technology could help those of us on earth as well.
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Jennifer Matthews: One day, you could leave the hospital with one of these strapped to your waist. This device, called CPOD, does for humans what black boxes do for airplanes. Greg Kovacs: These lead to his heart. So, we're going to be measuring the electrical signals from his heart, and that we're going to wire it up with this cable and run it to the CPOD here, which is the instrument that's going to do all that. Jennifer Matthews: CPOD stands for Crew Physiologic Observation Device. It records crucial biological data. Brett Harnett: Currently it's picking up my EKG. It's picking up my heart rate, my respiration, and my pulse symmetry. Jennifer Matthews: The data is transmitted wirelessly, in this case from Newport, Kentucky to Stanford University in California. The device was developed by the NASA Ames Research Center to keep track of astronauts' health. Dave Williams: You can imagine if we're exploring the surface of the moon, and we're a mile away from our habitat, our colleagues in our habitat want to know how we're doing, and the CPOD technology enables us to do that. Jennifer Matthews: But it's not just for space travelers. The average hospital room has several large monitors keeping track of patients' vital signs. Tim Broderick: What the CPOD has done is taken all those monitors and shrunk it down into a package that's about this big. Jennifer Matthews: It may even help patients at home. Tim Broderick: Well, you can put one of these CPODs on somebody, and all of a sudden, the doctor can keep track of them through the phone line or through the Internet. Jennifer Matthews: NASA is still fine-tuning the device for space but says, we could see them in hospitals in the next few years. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.