Home
Student Gallery
Enrollment Academic Year Program Fall 2019 PreVu
About Us What is NuVu Calendar Team + Advisors Partners Blog Press Jobs Contact Us
Nuvu X What is NuVuX Offerings Partners
Reset Password
  • Our project is a harness that one would wear in space to prevent the atrophy of muscles in one's core specifically the lower back muscles and the abs. There are two pieces on that is worn on the lower back and one that wraps around the butt and thighs. Elastics are attached to the both pieces and the elastics sort of simulate gravity. The elastics want to pull your upper body and lower body together so you are forced to use your core muscles to keep your upper and lower body apart. In space because there is no gravity one's muscles and posture begin to deteriorate because they are not be used. We decided we wanted to come up with a device that would passively stimulate one's core muscles so they don't deteriorate. This project is important because on average astronauts loose thirty percent of their muscle mass while in space and this beomes a health risk for them. Since astronauts loose so much muscle mass in space they are forced to spend two hours working out everyday, our project attempts to lessen the amount of time they have to work out because it forces them to passivly use their core muscles.

  • The muscle atrophy of astronauts is due to the inactivity of the muscles in zero gravity. When there is no activity muscles deterioate, and when muscles are inactive circulation is decreased. Our "sleeve" incorporates STEM technology with RockTape technology to allow for increased muscle activity and blood flow in space. Our 3d printed control system redirects wires, eliminating much of the clutter and making the device more wearable. This project has the potential to prevent the muscle atrophy experienced by astronauts in space in a straightforward, inexpensive, and wearable way.  

     

  • Inspiration:

     

    The main problem that we were faced with was muscle atrophy in space, or the the weakening of muscles due to lack of use. We decided to focus on preventing atrophy in the core muscles, and we intended on creating a device that would help astronauts in maintaining their core strength while in space.

     

    Iteration 1:

     

    Our first design idea was to create a chairlike device that applied pressure on the user’s back. WIth a constant pressure applied to the back, the user is forced to flex their core muscles. The chair could apply a pulling force, or a collapsing force on the user—both triggering different muscles.

     

    Iteration 2:


    We decided to create a device that an astronaut could wear instead of creating a ‘seat’. The device would consist of two separate pieces—one attached to the upper body, and one to the lower body—and elastics that would provide resistance.

  • Problem:

    Working out in space takes about 2.5 hours. These 2.5 hours are spent working out each muscle individually making excersizing in space highly inefficient. In addition, these 2.5 hours are on a machine called an ARED that takes up a lot of space and is very heavy which increases the price of the machine significantly.

    Solution:

    The SpErg is an excercise machine that works out the entire body in one fluid motion, effectively cutting workout time in space by a large margin. 

    The SpErg is a lightweight, cost efficient, solution to the difficulty and ineficiency of working out in space: an Ergometer's, which is what we originally based our design on, primary focus is to simulate rowing on the water. However, it also happens to work out every major muscle in the body. So, we took the fact that ergometers excersise the entire body and priotitized that effect over simulating being on the water.  A rowing machine on earth applies resistance through a fly-wheel that is attatched to a fan that uses air pressure as resistance. In a zero-gravity enviornment the fly wheel would spin with no resistance, and if one was to apply friction to the fly-wheel the mechanics of the erg would not work. To solve this problem, we used elastics to provide resistance instead of air friction. This would apply more resistance than the traditional erg due to the fact that there would be pressure applied on the recovery as well as the drive (stages of the rowing motion). 

    This design significantly cuts the workout time of an astronaught, it would decrease the cost of bringing equipment to space, it would take up little space, and it also provides an alterative, space, time, and cost efficient way of working out on earth if we decided the purpose of the machine was for it to work on earth.

  • Brainstorming Process:

    At the beginning of the studio, on day 1, we began thinking about the problems astronaughst face in terms of working out in space. We made a long list of problems and then started to list out and brainstorm possible solutions for each problem. Max and I chose to adress the fact that working out takes too long, the equipment is too bulky, and it doesn't work out your muscles eficiently. Max knew that Erg's (rowing machine's) work out your entire body so we chose to use that as a precedent for our project.

    Iteration 1 (Elastic Mechanism)

    We made a box with elastics stapled to the inside of a wood box with a small rope hot glued to it. This demonstrates the mechanism we would use instead of a fly wheel (which is what Erg's use to provide resistance). A flywheel is a mechansim that uses air to create resistance. Also, the elastics would provide tention in the recovery stage of the Ergometer excercise which would significantly decrease the amount of time an astronaught would need to work out.

    Iteration 1 (Seat-sliding Mechanism)

    We debated whether or not to make a simple rod where a seat slides back and forth but we took a risk and decided to rethink that whole mechanism. In order to save space we decided to make a joint mechanism that could fold up and stretch out. We made a cardboard model of how this mechanism would work. 

    Iteration 2

    We continued with that design and built a functioning wood model with elastic bands super glued to the foot pedal. We also made wooden stops so that the joint wouldn't bend the wrong way.

    Iteration 2 (Elastic)

    We decided to re-make the elastic mechanism completely. Instead of having it be a box with elastics attched to a rope, we made the elastics directly attached to the wall and have it be just the elastics and no rope. 

    Iteration 3

    Then we made a box-like wall that would house the elastics and connect the seat-joint mechanism with a hinge. This would make the whole thing much simpler and much more space efficient.

    Ending process:

    We explored some alternative seat components because it turns out that the joint compression mechanism causes more problems than it solves. The joint makes it hard to stay on one line of motion so an astronaught would be wobbling up and down while working out. We found this complicated lateral motion joint that we could use in the future. Or, we could just go back to using the straight rod that the seat slides on becuase that is the simplest and most effective, low maintanence, solution.

  • Problem: Excersising in space is inconvenient and time consuming, but is necessary to prevent loss of bone density as well as muscle atrophy. 

    Toward the beginning of the project the group was focused on two problems:

    1. Neck muscles become inactive in space.

    2. Blood does not properly circulate in space

    We started off focusing on problem #1, but eventially transitioned into focusing more on problem #2.

    We initially envisioned placing STEM electrodes on a person's neck to flex their muscles and keep them from attrophying in space. We then realized that muscles cannot function properly without a good supply of blood, so we needed to tackle the muscle atrophy problem from that angle as well. We decided to focus on the arm instead of the neck so that we would be forced even further to make the device as light and flexible as possible.

     

    Iteration 1:

    Tyler made a simple felt sleeve. This was before we were entirely certain about using RockTape as the "fabric" of our sleeve. The sleeve did not incorporate any motors. The felt sleeve was simply a jumping off point for future iterations. 

    Iteration 2: 

    Originally, we wanted to amplify the effects of RockTape to promote even more blood flow. Tyler made some cardboard and tape models of how this could have potentially been acheived. Unfortunately, though, through more thorough research I learned that too much blood flow can be dangerous, or at the very least counterproductive. Significantly increasing circulation would not solve our problem, so we moved on to other ideas.

    Iteration 3:

    For our third iteration we simply envisioned pieces of RockTape with holes for the buzzy motors. I suggested that we take inspiration from Apple headphones to control the wires of the buzzy motors. Cole created the shape in Rhino and 3D printed it. Our sleeve evolved to having additional holes for the wire directing system. 

    Iteration 4:

    Our 4th iteration was a more evolved version of the third. Cole had begun to incorporate a beautiful pattern to be laser cut into the RockTape. We learned that it made no sense to put stimulation on the ligaments, so we adjusted the design to place tape on top of the ligaments and stimulation on top of the muscle belly. Additionally, we created an acrylic box to house the battery pack and Arduino. Even after resizing it twice, the box could not accomodate all of the different wires, so we moved on to a more flexible idea.

    Iteration 5:

    The tape component of iteration 5 still had the general laser cut pattern from iteration 4, but some of the shapes were resized and rearranged slightly. Cole created 3d printed pieces to "snap" into the RockTape and house the buzzy motors. The battery pack and arduino were housed in a felt pouch, as opposed to the acrylic box from interation 4. 

     

  • Our idea was to create a safe and effective way for stretching in outer space. We created a design that is self-contained and creates a system using resistance stretching without the help of an external force.

    Our design problem was that the outer space environment creates muscle atrophy from not having to constantly engage muscles. We thought that to solve this we would focus on stretching because, much like strengthening, the pulling of the muscles makes them repair and grow stronger.

    This is important right now because there are not many self contained stretching options for outer space.

  • The problems that my partner and I have been working to solve for the past two weeks is that stretching is more difficult in an environment without gravity, injuries are more likely to occur without effective stretching, and without stretching properly, the workouts completed become less effective. In space, astronauts have to work out for over two hours in order to maintain the proper muscle mass. With exercise to this extent, the importance of stretching become magnified. We came up with one suit that allows one to get the best possible stretch by using their own force in a self contained manner before and after a workout.

    At first, we focused on devices that had to be installed. My partner and I discussed structures to fit into the space ship environment. We also thought about specific stretches and concepts that go with them. When looking at some standard stretches, we identified which muscles are being worked and how. Wit hall of the precedents that were found and the ideas we had come up with, there was no extra force being added. We eventually moved away from more standard ideas, such as linear bars, to involving ones body more.

    Next, my partner and I looked into some connection methods as well as tension lines and where the force comes from. This allowed us to see where the force needs to come from and where it needs to go. Eventually, we picked a few muscles to stretch and a few positions to help do this in order to make our device the most effective/useful and easy to maneuver.

    This led us to an idea containing two concepts: A suit, and a rope. The biggest parts in the design process came from the suit itself and the way the rope would connect to it. The attachment method is a key part to redirect the force and stretch multiple muscles at once. I also wanted to find the way to get/create the most force possible.

    The final clip was chosen to redirect the rope and, thus, the force, for multiple reasons. The first, is for its ability to produce a lot of them in a reasonable amount of time because they don't have a lot of material. The lack of excess material, also makes it more aesthetically pleasing. Because the loops were easy to make, our design has a lot of them which takes away the trouble of having to rearange them for different stretches. The loop has a large enough diameter to allow the rope to pass through, but not wiggle to the point where the force is not direct. The bottom bar is hidden but provides the support. One side is longer than the other so that when we put them in, it can fit through the hole better.