“Seaward ho! Hang the treasure! It’s the glory of the sea that has turned my head.” “We must go on, because we can’t turn back.”
A unique way to begin this article is recalling a few sentences from the adventure novel of Robert Louis Stevenson “Treasure Island” (1), isn't it? But if we think about Peter Diamandis, Steven Kolter, and their bestseller “Abundance,” the great availability of advanced technologies leading to exponential trends, is the key to unlocking a world of unlimited resources; a zone in which boundless, incredible opportunities and new emerging businesses gave us free access to democratized knowledge, energy, healthcare, Internet, 3D-printed objects and much, much more (2); Treasure Island was not a chance.
If in Stevenson's Novel, the hidden treasure of Captain Flint was the goal of exploring this imagery island, Moon and Mars are like the treasure islands to flourish in abundance nowadays; indeed, Jeff Bezos is already planning a suborbital trip this summer and Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars (3) (4). Lunar and Martian missions are not limited to small talks, but Earth and Space can indeed share advanced technologies to support astronaut’s health and bring this treasure back to us, terrestrials.
Lunar and Martians missions support health tech development
Recently, I came across an interesting article from The Medical Futurist (3), in which it described how advanced technologies assisting and monitoring astronauts’ needs and health can be adapted and developed to further support humans back on Earth. Besides Hexoskin, the smart clothing manufacturer that designs medical monitoring systems characteristic for space missions (5), other technologies were reported to assist astronauts located on the International Space Station (ISS).
Treasure technologies to bring abundance back to Earth
VisualDX (6) designed a machine learning algorithm trained on clinical data to help non-healthcare professionals in diagnosing specific health conditions. Thus, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) is collaborating with VisualDX to extend the implementation of this clinical diagnostic system to support astronauts when a medical doctor cannot be physically there.
Thinking back on Earth, the usability of such an App acquires a very high value when considering emerging situations and places characterized by low-resources and scarcity, in which medical support (e.g., therapeutic decisions and patient safety) can be dematerialized and democratized just within a simple algorithm. Similarly, NASA developed an algorithm supervising health that was adapted to be used on Earth. The Ejenta’s system would allow professionals to even detect early onset diseases while enhancing prevention and further reducing complications (7).
Moreover, NASA proposed a miniaturization of health assessment in Space developing a portable, user-friendly device enabling blood sample analysis. With 1Drop Diagnostics several biomarkers can be measured including cardiovascular, kidney, and liver functions (8). A nanosensor system based on nanochemicals sensors was also created (9) to identify specific biomarkers on an individual’s breath related to particular medical conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes.
Back on terrestrials, “Downsizing the Lab'' can be the solution to assess medical conditions anywhere at any time on Earth, moving the needle again from scarcity to abundance. From digitized, dematerialized to democratized; just a few features but with such a high impact.
24/7 self-monitoring: an abundance of health
If you thought that your smartwatch was the latest on the market, you have not yet tried what astronauts are ready for. Next-generation wearables are among the newest technologies to monitor health parameters 24/7. Emrbraceplus is the latest low-power smartwatch based AI designed for Mars mission that can continuously monitor several vital parameters like heart rate, oxygen or electrodermal activity, in which an on-wrist charger allows constant monitoring (10).
But more is yet to come and having a super powerful brain, highly performing and constantly boosted is another plus that astronauts are soon acquiring. The City College of New York is working on a project, in which safe lights are applied on frontal brain regions to improve cognitive abilities by measuring neural activity; hence, the enhancement of cognitive performances is supported by the implementation of these near-infrared lights to increase vascular and metabolic activities (11). TRISH is planning to create an innovative wearable that uses ultrasounds to increase the cognitive performances of astronauts by applying brain stimulation on target regions non-invasively (12). However, brain stimulation techniques are already on the market and lots of research in neuroscience is already focused there, but next-generation, high tech, ultrasound headbands can bring great advantages on Earth supporting brain functioning even more than before and thinking of democratization, also in those conflicting environments where such technologies wouldn't now be imaginable.
Lastly, bioprinting tissues and organs (13) in space represents the ultimate futuristic advancement leveraging organ transplant, although already implemented on ISS. In this regard, Dr. Morgan explained that microgravity is the best atmospheric condition for 3D printing tissues because it minimizes the high risk of collapses due to gravity (14). The possibility on Space to bioprint customized organs and tissues with high precision and safety for the patient would represent an incredible fortune generating abundance in healthcare, although this leading-edge method would be applicable only in a few decades on Earth.
Do something differently
If “Exponential Organizations is not only about implementing technology, but about doing things in a different way”, growing an abundance mindset is the key to unlock this unlimited potential. In Peter Diamandis Abundance360 coaching program, (15) he aims to ‘inspire and guide you towards creating a hopeful, compelling and abundant future, for yourself and humanity” surrounded by the large availability of disruptive technologies, to support and enhance us in this growing process.
Even having our feet well-grounded on Earth, our minds can reach imagery and unexplored islands, full of hidden treasures that even Captain Flint couldn't even imagine to exist. And probability Moon and Mars are the moonshots to unfold this shining gold.
Marianne Williamson said: “The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.” Binoculars and map in hand, let’s go exploring!
- Hammond, J. R. (1984). Treasure Island. In A Robert Louis Stevenson Companion, Palgrave Macmillan Literary Companions. London: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-06080-1_6
- OpenExO. (2019). ExO Attributes: the 11 key elements to build an Exponential Organization. OpenExO Blog. Available at: https://blog.openexo.com/exo-attributes-the-11-key-elements-to-build-an-exponential-organization [Accessed July 25, 2021]
- The medical futurist. (2021). Top 5 Healthcare Areas That Space Technology Can Enhance. The Medical Futurist. Available at: https://medicalfuturist.com/healthcare-and-space-technology [Accessed July 24, 2021]
- Tiffany, K.. (2018). Elon Musk thinks he’ll die on Mars. Vox. Available at: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/2/18053824/elon-musk-death-mars-spacex-kara-swisher-interview [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Hexoskin. (2018). Government of Canada confirmed Canada’s commitment to NASA Lunar Gateway program. Hexoskin Health Sensors & AI. Available at: https://www.hexoskin.com/blogs/news/canada-announce-its-participation-to-the-nasa-lunar-gateway-mission [Accessed July 25, 2021]
- Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Space Medicine. TRISH INNOVATIONS. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/academic-centers/space-medicine/translational-research-institute/research/trish-innovations [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Pierce, M. (2020). Astronaut Artificial Intelligence Monitors Patients At Home. NASA. Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/spinoff/Astronaut_AI_Monitors_Patients_at-Home [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Space Medicine. Miniaturizing Health Assessments in Space. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/academic-centers/space-medicine/translational-research-institute/research/trish-innovations/miniaturizing-health-assessments-in-space [Accessed on July 24, 2021]
- NASA Technology Transfer Program. NASA Technologies that Can Improve Healthcare and Fitness. Available at: https://technology.nasa.gov/page/nasa-technologies-that-can-improve [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Emraceplus, Empatica. The world’s most advanced smartwatch for continuous health monitoring. Available at: https://www.empatica.com/en-gb/embraceplus/ [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Space Medicine. Behavioral Health Research. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/academic-centers/space-medicine/translational-research-institute/research/research-portfolio/behavioral-health-research [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Space Medicine. A Wearable to Focus the Astronaut Mind. Available at: https://www.bcm.edu/academic-centers/space-medicine/translational-research-institute/research/trish-innovations/a-wearable-to-focus-the-astronaut-mind [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- The medical futurist. (2021). 3D Bioprinting: Eradicating Transplantation Waiting Lists And Testing Drugs On Living Tissues. The Medical Futurist. Available at: https://medicalfuturist.com/3d-bioprinting-overview/ [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Sims, J. (2021). Why astronauts are printing organs in space. BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210601-how-transplant-organs-might-be-printed-in-outer-space [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
- Diamandis, P. Abundance 360. Available at: https://www.abundance360.com/summit [Accessed on July 25, 2021]
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