PSAs and CPODs: Could they be in our future?

By Dr. Dee McGonigle

McGonigle, D. (June, 2004). Editorial: PSAs and CPODs: Could they be in our future? Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI). Vol. 8, No. 2. [Online]. Available at

As I am reading all of the latest and greatest technological advances, two strike me as being worthy of comment in this edition’s editorial. The Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) and the Crew Physiological Observation Device (CPOD) are developments from NASA that could impact on the health of those outside of the space program. For further information, please access the links provided in the references below.

The PSA is a device that looks like a floating basketball. It has taken six years, but there is now a PSA that is fully mobile. The PSA is intended to support astronauts in microgravity environments by patrolling their living quarters and monitoring oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and other gases. It can also monitor atmospheric pressure, temperature and even the microgravity level. There are other features such as audio and video communication that can offer conferencing as well as just-in-time training.

The CPOD has been in the making for three years. It has emerged as a wearable monitoring system that reports on the wearer’s health. This small device continuously monitors multiple sensors and can transmit information such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs to health care personnel as well as warning the wearer of dangerous changes.

All of this high-tech gadgetry makes me begin to wonder about its possible use in the health care arena. Please send me an email with your thoughts.


Asaravala, A. (2004). A black box for human health. [Online] Retrieved June 11, 2004 from,1282,63034,00.html

Shactman, N. (2004). A jet powered PDA for astronauts. [Online] Retrieved June 11, 2004 from,1282,63782,00.html