Date of Award

Fall 2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Second Advisor

Sergei Adamovich

Third Advisor

Bruno A. Mantilla

Abstract

Over the past few decades, research has been conducted to explore the effects of microgravity on human musculature, As seen in astronauts upon their return to Earth after prolonged spaceflight, extensive muscle atrophy due to adaptation to conditions of microgravity many times decreases a person's ability to walk or even stand, With an understanding of the anatomical mechanisms that provide postural control, the proper stimulation, resulting in a reduction in spasticity, could be provided by simulating these conditions of microgravity.

In order to simulate microgravity, a device has been developed that is capable of providing whole body stimulation of the otoliths, The design of this device is presented in detail in this thesis along with its performance characteristics. When subjected to the vestibular stimulation that this device will provide, persons will theoretically experience a reduction in spasticity, Therefore, this device allows spasticity to be explored further in the future.

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