Rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries has been a major interest to the medical field in the United States. In a joint effort between several universities, tests have been performed to both human and also animal analogs to determine methods that can lead to the retraining of the individual to walk.
The focus of this project was to utilize an actuated platform to provide a particular stimulus to a rodent test subject. Studies found that these stimuli could lead to the recovery of some motor actions over time for rodents with spinal cord injuries.
The original device was created/built in 2005. This Summer 2011 project was mainly to rebuild and test a 6 degree of freedom robotic platform for rehabilitation of rodents with spinal cord injury.
After the success of the Cassini orbiter and the Huygens probe, NASA, partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA), had been considering sending an airship based system for the next mission to Titan. In the past, NASA planned to send a simple Montgolfier (hot air balloon) that would take photos at high altitudes. However, there had been an increasing interest for the airship to have the sampling capabilities.
The main focus of this research in Summer 2010 was to implement a system to allow the airship to travel at lower altitude and to take samples from the surface of Titan.
In this project, we had explored the concept of a sampling pod that could be dropped from the airship to Titan. The pod could take samples and transmit data back to the airship. The major component of this study was the design of an exterior shell that would allow the sampling pod to land safely and in a particular orientation. Thermal and electrical loads for the sampling pod were also examined. Apart from the sampling mechanisms, We also looked at the simulations of emergency ascent mechanisms for the airship. The results of this study were encouraging and showing that an airship sampling mission to Titan would be viable.
The sampling pod prototype was designed / built by Brian Mok in Summer 2010.