Veterans Affairs

Multipurpose arm cycle ergometer

Exercise machine provides upper and lower body exercises for patients

Medical & Biotechnology

Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering Program have invented a novel exercise machine. The patented invention is available to businesses for commercialization.

In order to allow exercise by a patient while lying supine, VA researchers have devised the equipment shown in the images.

Prolonged bed rest and immobilization are used in the medical treatment of several conditions in an effort to allow a patient’s body to heal from trauma or surgery, for example, spinal cord injury.

However, bed rest can negatively affect health in other ways, like muscle loss and cardiovascular and respiratory degradation, as well as extending the overall recovery time.

Exercise is an important activity to alleviate these negative health effects. However, most exercise machines are not suitable for use by a person lying in the supine position.

The VA’s new exercise device can be configured for performance of arm or leg exercises, which may be aerobic or anaerobic (weight lifting/strength) exercise. It can further be configured to be an arm ergometer, rowing exerciser, press-up or pull down exercise device, bicep curl, chest press, shoulder press, pec fly, leg extension, leg press, or leg ergometer.

The VA is seeking a business to commercialize the technology, which was invented for patients prescribed six weeks of bed rest following spinal cord injury surgery.

A tablet computer is used to monitor exercise performance such as duration, repetitions, or intensity, or may be linked to entertainment media.

Controls for the display are conveniently mounted on or near handles. In one example, a rotary encoder for measuring cycling speed has an output linked to a monitor. A pressure sensor or the like may be linked to a monitor to measure cycling torque or resistance.

The device has been trialed with subjects with consistently positive results. Contact TechLink now for more information on licensing this patented invention for commercial manufacturing and sales.

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