Young stars at home in ancient cluster. (Credit: NASA)
Young stars at home in ancient cluster. (Credit: NASA)

Watch space health webinar to explore virtual reality and other digital tools to assist missions

The evolving technology could offer innovative support for astronauts exploring deep space

Watch space health webinar to explore virtual reality and other digital tools to assist missions

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Baylor College of Medicine’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) is collaborating with Z3VR, a Houston-based digital therapeutics company, to host a daylong webinar on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, to discuss how virtual and augmented reality tools can support the health of astronauts during a mission to Mars.

Registration for the webinar, which begins at 10 a.m. CST, is available online.

The webinar will feature speakers throughout the day until 4:30 p.m. and all content will be available on replay for those unable to view the live-streamed workshop. (We will update this post with a replay link.)

The workshop is scheduled to begin with an introduction by Josh Ruben, co-founder and CEO of Z3VR. The company designs virtual reality experiences to treat chronic diseases.

Speakers include experts from the field including Dorit Donoviel, Ph.D., TRISH director; Eric Liga, co-founder of Houston VR; Evelyn Miralles, a NASA technology strategist; Valentino Megale, Ph.D., CEO at TOMMI Game; Javier Fadul, chief information officer at HTX Labs; Marissa Rosenberg, Ph.D., a senior neuroscientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center; Adam Gazzaley, Ph.D., founder and executive director of Neuroscape at the University of California San Francisco; and Becky Inkster, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge.

Topics will range from the future and challenges of extended reality (XR—a mix of virtual reality, augmented reality and other real-and-virtual combined environments) to behavioral and cognitive health in space as well as disorientation issues following long-term space flight.

Thematically, the workshop will emphasize how virtual and augmented realities can help NASA prepare for health challenges faced by astronauts on long-duration space travel as the agency plans its upcoming Mars mission.

“This is one of the most ambitious projects humanity has ever attempted,” Ruben said. “This 30-month mission will require psychological fortitude of enormous proportions. Astronauts will face isolation, latent communications, a high-stress environment and many other health care risks. And, we think XR technologies can help us prepare for these issues.”

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health, led by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine, is a consortium with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Together, the academic giants work to solve the most urgent issues in space health and technology and will be instrumental in helping humans explore deep space and Mars.

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