[…] MIT’s new approach is a next-generation version of Newman’s Biosuit, that goes on loose like a pair of coveralls, but when an electric current is applied, tightens up for the proper snug fit. This way, the suit would be both lighter and simpler than a pressure suit, and easy to don.
The new approach incorporates coils formed out of tightly packed, small-diameter springs made of a shape-memory alloy (SMA) into the suit fabric. Memory alloys are metals that can be bent or deformed, but when heated, return to their original shape. In this case, the nickel-titanium coils are formed into a tourniquet-like cuff that incorporates a length of heating wire. When a current is applied, the coil cinches up to provide the proper counter pressure needed for the Biosuit to work. […]