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Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007. This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (p. 178-187). Artificial gravity (AG) created by short-radius centrifugation is a promising countermeasure to the physiological de-conditioning that results from long-duration spaceflight. However, as on Earth, gravity alone does not ensure fitness. We will need to supplement passive exposure to AG with physical exercise to achieve a comprehensive countermeasure. Before AG exercise can be deemed safe and effective, we must understand how Coriolis accelerations and a gravity gradient affect our biomechanics and how centrifuge-based exercises differ from Earth-upright ones. Two experiments were designed to investigate the squat biomechanics while upright in the laboratory and while lying supine on a horizontal, clockwise-rotating short-radius centrifuge at speeds up to 30 revolutions per minute. Constant force springs provided additional resistive force up to 25% of body weight. Dependent measure included the three-dimensional position of the left and right knee, left and right foot reaction forces, and muscle activity. We investigated the Coriolis-induced mediolateral knee perturbations and the sensory-motor after-effects from a multiple repetition protocol. The upright and centrifuge biomechanics were compared for similarities and differences between them. In addition, a two-dimensional kinematic model was developed to predict foot reaction forces, Coriolis accelerations, and joint torques. (cont.) Our results show that mediolateral knee travel during the AG squats was 1.0 to 2.0 centimeters greater than Earth-upright squats. Increasing the rotation rate or adding resistive force did not affect the results. The peak foot forces increased with rotation rate, but rarely exceeded 200% body weight. The ratio of left-to-right foot force during centrifugation was non-constant and approximately sinusoidal, suggesting a postural correction for the Coriolis accelerations. There was a qualitative difference in the foot force vs. knee angle profile between upright and centrifuge-supine because of the centripetal acceleration. Muscle activity, however, was qualitatively similar between the conditions. The kinematic model was used to evaluate the exercise safety and extend the results to larger-radius centrifuges. We conclude that centrifugation provides a unique and challenging environment for exercise and that a brief artificial gravity squat can be carried out safely. The results are extended to cycle ergometry, when possible, and recommendations are made for future AG squat protocols. Supported by NASA Grant NNJ04HD64G and the MIT-Italy Program Progetto Roberto Rocca. by Kevin Ronald Duda. Ph.D.
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Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2004. This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. "September 2004." Includes bibliographical references (p. 73-75). (cont.) The last experiment showed that individual subjects PER values changed over time intervals as short as ten minutes, and revealed the importance of the subject's prior experience in PER experiments. This suggests that limitations of working memory may effect the repeatability of the PER measure. The definition and measure of PER for each subject may also provide a means for quantifying the magnitude of a clinical condition known as oscillopsia, where we perceive the world as non-stationary, such as moving independently of our head motions. These findings are important for a perceptually sensitive environment, such as virtual reality. Designers of virtual environments that utilize self-motion perception should consider calibrating PERs within a session for each individual user and be aware that that the subject's calibration may change over time. If we walk on a treadmill and are looking in the direction of motion of a moving virtual environment, the perceptions from our various senses are harmonious only if the visual scene is moving in a narrow range of speeds that are, typically, greater than our walking speed. This observation has been reported when we project a virtual environment through a display with a restricted field-of-view, such as a head-mounted display (HMD). When the subject feels that the scene-motion is natural for their walking speed, the ratio of the speed of his visual surround to that of the treadmill walking speed is defined as his perceptual equivalence ratio (PER) in that setting. Four experiments explored a set of conditions under which the PER measured on a treadmill is constant. The experiments, motivated by several hypotheses, investigated the relationship between PER and display type (HMD vs. either desktop monitor or on-screen projection), sense of presence in the virtual environment, and the magnitude of illusory self-motion (vection). We also investigated differences among subjects, and the stability of PER over time due to the limitations of working memory. Most experiments considered more than one hypothesis. The first two experiments found that PER was affected by the type of display used, but found no correlation of PER with the sense of presence reported by the subject. A third experiment showed that PER was nearly the same whether we manipulated visual or treadmill speed (and asked the subject to match the other.) While PER values were often constant versus treadmill speed for any individual subject, they were very different from subject to subject. PER appears to be relatively stable over a short test session, but may be highly variable over extended periods of time. by Kevin R. Duda. S.M.