Find a way to adapt common gym tools for a reduced gravity environment and design a workout routine that can minimize bone and muscular loss while being fun and easy to use during a long term mission. In doing so consider constraints regarding weight (equipment should weigh less than 500kg) and dimensions. Consider incorporating virtual reality to simulate a jog through an astronaut’s favorite Earth destinations or incorporate gaming to motivate users.
Find a way to adapt common gym tools for a reduced gravity environment and design a workout routine that can minimize bone and muscular loss while being fun and easy to use during a long mission. In doing so, consider constraints regarding weight (equipment should weigh less than 500kg) and dimensions. Consider incorporating virtual reality to simulate a jog through an astronaut’s favorite Earth destinations or incorporate gaming cloud to motivate users.
During the idea generation process we went over and considered many of the problems that NASA indicated.
-Bone and muscular loss
-The substantial amount and weight of the equipment currently in use
-The differentiation in pressure and magnitude in space
-The loss of tension from the repercussions of 0g (pertaining to the pressure needed to create muscle and reduce atrophy)
Currently astronauts use three pieces of exercise equipment. Each piece does something different. The Cycle Ergometer is a bicycle the main activity is pedaling. It is used to measure fitness in space and checks heart rate to see how much work is being done. The second piece of equipment is a treadmill that is used for walking or jogging Because the lack of gravity tends to make people float, harnesses are attached to the astronauts to hold them to the walking surface. The third is a resistance Exercise device (RED) it looks like a weight lifting machine to use it, astronauts pull and twist stretchy rubber-band-like cords attached to pulleys. The RED can be used for a total body workout. From squats and bending exercises for the legs, to arm exercises and heel raises, astronauts can do them all on the RED. Using three separate machines are heavy and all focus on different body parts.
Our creation is called BiaSpace, named after the Greek Goddess of Force, Bia (Vee-ah) sister of Nike. It uses a combination of heat sensors and an EMG biofeedback system used for finding the optimal tension and force levels of your muscles generated while working against a system of resistance bands based on a series of beeping (EMG) and visual thermal feedback, and monitors your health as well with EKG feedback for target heart rate. There will also be headset ports for the astronaut’s favorite music selections. The secondary application of the apparatus involves a series of resistance bands designed to strengthen the muscles and bones and counteract muscle atrophy and bone loss through a resistance strength-training program. Such training creates increase in muscle strength, tone, mass and endurance by stimulating microscopic tears inciting regenerative Anabolic (muscle building) responses in the body and hypertrophy or increase in size of muscle fibers.
A well-established type of resistance training includes power lifting and or use of exercise tubing. The configuration of the BiaSpace device includes stabilization of the subject through the use of detachable tethering resistance bands for the upper and lower extremities and a handrail. We feel this will be a cost effective, lightweight and fun intervention for astronauts to maintain optimal muscle strength and minimize atrophy and bone loss during long space journeys.