The work is the produce of our very own Albuquerque brothers – both engineers and currently completing their MSc’s under my supervision. Marcelo Albuquerque is responsible for the building of the centrifuge itself, whilst his brother Eduardo has been creating the control and monitoring system for the performance of the HC, including rpm, angular velocity/acceleration and G-force, as well as physiological variables of volunteers.
The HC will be rotate entirely by manpower in one of three ways: a volunteer in a lying down position on the centrifuge arm will pedal; a volunteer positioned on an external bicycle attached to the drive system of the HC will pedal; two volunteers will pedal simultaneously from the HC and the external bicycle.
The MicroG Centre Manpowered Human Centrifuge is designed to achieve a maximum of 5Gs (z axis) and will eventually be used to train both experienced and student pilots, demonstrating the cardiovascular and neurological signs and symptoms of Gz+ exposure, such as grey-out, black-out and G-LOC.
Completion of the main structure of the centrifuge is expected by the end of March 2012, with the final tweaking of the control system to follow soon after. Many exciting new possibilities for future studies in space physiology, aviation medicine and aerospace biomechanics research lie in front of us, and close links between the MicroG Centre and The Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS) at King’s College, London should see future MSc students from King’s also benefiting from the possibilities of new research projects.
Well done to the Albuquerque brothers and pedal hard to the finishing line!