This year, NASA Glenn Research Center and ZIN Technologies, Inc. developed a gravity-replacement load device for the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Biomedical Engineering for use with their Zero Gravity Locomotion Simulator (ZLS). The gravity-replacement device was critically needed for a bedrest campaign at the Cleveland Clinic to validate exercise prescriptions for mitigating the bone and muscle loss that astronauts experience during long-duration space missions.
Conceptual view of the ZLS.
Using the ZLS, researchers can mimic microgravity loading conditions on the musculoskeletal system by suspending a human subject in a horizontal position while the subject runs on a vertically mounted treadmill (see the preceding photograph). To accomplish this, a gravity-replacement load was required to keep a constant force on the subject during exercise.
The gravity-replacement load device had to satisfy the following requirements:
ZIN Technologies, Inc., developed the engineering concept and prototyped the highly compliant pneumatic Subject Load Device (pSLD) (see the following photograph). They then teamed with Cleveland Clinic’s prototype shop to build the necessary interfaces for this unique application. The pSLD provides the following features:
Pneumatic Subject Load Device installed at the Cleveland Clinic.
The pSLD has proven to be a safe and reliable device over 7 months of operation and will continue to be used in the future. Implementation of this device enabled the Cleveland Clinic to begin an extensive bedrest study in a timely manner.ZIN Technologies, Inc., contact:
Last updated: December 15, 2007
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