Engineering students revamp rehabilitation machine

May 13, 2015
Ottensman Hall

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Platteville senior mechanical engineering majors Michael Broge of Winslow, Ill.; Taylor Carlson of Glenview, Ill.; Samantha Gahlbeck of Genoa, Ill.; Caleb Strand of Plymouth, Wis.; Mathew Hefty of Blanchardville, Wis.; and Alex Neumann of Mukwonago, Wis., worked with VibeTech to redesign the VibeTech One, a non weight-bearing rehabilitation machine.

The VibeTech One was originally designed to help astronauts, who typically lose approximately 20 percent of their bone mass after a year in space. It has since been applied to nursing home patients.

The machine uses varying levels of vibration to exert leg muscles without using any body weight.

Because the current design is being used in nursing homes, it’s very expensive. “Our sponsor wants it to be more tangible and easily accessible to the general public,” Carlson said.

“The ideas are there, but they have to be put into the computer in a solid model,” Carlson said.

Although designing a product for the biomedical field has come as a challenge for the team, they expressed that their sponsor has been extremely helpful.

“[Our sponsor is] very communicative. When we first met with him he had an idea and a great description,” Neumann said.

The team also expressed their gratitude towards the Pioneer Academic Center
for Community Engagement.

“This has been a very unique experience being able to meet the people who already use [the product]. Our entire trip [to the company] was funded by PACCE, so without them we wouldn’t be able to do any of this project,” Carlson said.

Written by: Emalydia Flenory, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, flenorye@uwplatt.edu

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