Feeds

Sleep-scheduling software developed for ISS astronauts

Knit-up-the-ravelled-sleeve-of-care 'ware

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

American space boffins say they have developed fiendishly cunning software which uses "complex mathematical formulas" to work out the best times for people on irregular schedules to have a kip.

CPSS astronaut sleep program screenshot. Credit: NSBRI

Code zed.

The schlaf-ware was developed by programmers at the US National Space Biomedical Research Institute, aimed specifically at astronauts crewing the International Space Station (ISS). ISS space-aces have to work in shifts, and these are further complicated by irregular events such as spacecraft dockings.

The idea of the NSBRI's Circadian Performance Simulation Software (CPSS) and the accompanying "Shifter" package is that you would be able, as a busy astronaut - or perhaps a ground controller in charge of one - to key in a schedule of duties and activities. The CPSS then determines which are the best times for the harassed orbital operative to have a nap, or alternatively to chug down some refreshing coffee made from recycled rat wee - or alternatively a similarly moistened custom space sports drink.

"If there is a mission event, such as a spacewalk, scheduled at one or two o'clock in the morning, what can we do to help the astronaut to be alert and functioning well at that time?" says Dr Elizabeth Klerman of the NSBRI. "Do we suggest a nap or caffeine? Do we shift their sleep/wake schedule? There are a variety of options that we would like to be able to provide."

The snooze-suite also provides instructions for varying the space station's apparently extremely complicated dimmer switches to provide the optimum "timing, intensity and wavelength of light" so as to keep a weary spaceman or woman sharp and alert.

The NSBRI researchers suggest that this could be yet another case of spin-off benefits from the space programme benefiting humble groundbound humanity as well as astronauts. They believe that CPSS could also be of benefit to anyone who doesn't work normal hours: police, medics, transport crew, utilities workers, self-employed programmers, bar staff etc.

And those who work a normal 9 to 5 job would also benefit, as they would have less risk of being run over by dozy truck drivers or accidentally maimed by weary doctors, etc.

"Our lives, including our safety, are impacted by those people who have jobs requiring shift work or extremely long hours and who may be at increased risk of accidents and errors affecting themselves or others," says Klerman.

Software: the saviour of us all. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.