University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. May-Win Thein, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Computerized Exercise Platform
Earth has a gravitational pull that the human body has adapted to, and is used to functioning against. Environment’s where the presence of gravity is obsolete are called microgravity environments. In a microgravity environment, muscles atrophy and bone mineral density decreases because the body has no gravitational force to oppose .A computerized, gravity independent, exercise platform is proposed to be developed as a countermeasure to the effects of microgravity. Resistance, plyometric training is an effective countermeasure to maintenance of the human body in a microgravity environment. For this research project a countermeasure platform that generates resistance as a function of feedback controls will be developed. The platform will be tested with 10 male subjects in their early 20’s. Acquiring appropriate muscular fatigue will be the benchmark for success in the device, as fatigue is an early stage sign of muscular hypertrophy. The device will be programmed to optimize a necessary load and fatigue, using repeated variations of stress, enabling muscles to rebuild stronger and stabilize the bone the muscles support, in regions of the body most affected by microgravity. The device will be tailor-programmed to address the needs of each specific user on an individual basis. Because muscular atrophy and loss of bone mineral density can be the result of any generic disability and/or disease (and not just as a result of a microgravity environment) the broader impacts of such a space efficient product are wide, and can be employed on Earth.