This is a rare opportunity for researchers and entrepreneurs from a variety of fields to conduct experiments in space.
Montfort Brain Monitor, or Mon4T, will be one of the 44 Israeli technologies accompanying Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe and 2 associates on their space journey.1
Mon4T’s technology provides remote neurological evaluation through smartphones, big data, and artificial intelligence.2 The FDA-approved Mon4t smartphone application uses existing smartphone sensors to remotely track neurological symptoms, including tremor, reaction time, and memory.
Stibbe is part of the Ax1 team aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule, a mission by Axiom Space company anticipated to leave for the International Space Station (ISS) in early 2022. Stibbe and his 2 fellow astronauts will conduct experiments and demonstrations of the preselected technologies and products. This mission, dubbed “Rakia” or Sky, is a 200-hour stay at the ISS led by Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science and Technology, in collaboration with IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries).
"The Rakia space mission is a fascinating opportunity for us to contribute to space research by monitoring astronauts' health remotely,” said Ziv Yekutieli, PhD, cofounder and CEO of Mon4t. “This is essential for long-term space missions, for guaranteeing the safety of the crew, and the success of their mission. At the same time, the knowledge we will obtain from space can improve our product on earth.”1
In the ISS, the Mon4t app will be used by the astronauts to perform motor and cognitive tests on themselves. They will manually perform the tests and obtain self-feedback while the results are sent back to Earth in live time. This allows physicians to examine the astronauts and compare their performance on Earth vs space.
An independent scientific committee, headed by director of innovation in the aerospace industry's systems and space division at IAI, Inbal Kreiss, selected the experiments and technologies, which are divided into 6 categories: astrophysics, optics, engineering, medicine, renewable energy, and agriculture. Several neuropsychiatric experiments are scheduled, including assessments of neurofeedback techniques; monitoring resilience and stress; analyses of the effects of microgravity on vascular function in the brain, and potential blood brain barrier-targeted drugs that can treat Alzheimer disease; and the aforementioned cognition testing. The experiments will be sent so long as the experiment is funded, the mission schedule is met, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) approves.
Astronaut Stibbe had this to say to the press: “I’m excited to be here, but I think that it’s particularly exciting for the scientists whose experiments will take the spotlight. Israeli technologies will appear on the highest stage in the world that orbits the Earth, where everyone can constantly see them, and I believe that alone is a remarkable achievement.”3
1. Mon4T. Brain monitoring startup Mon4t heads for space. SpaceRef. June 3, 2021. http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=57524
2. Research. Mon4T. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://mon4t.com/research/
3. Ovadia Y. Which Israeli technologies will soon be going to space? CTech. June 5, 2021. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3907068,00.html