Future Developments

Online. Future Developments

Published on Sunday, August 11, 1996 by Gideon Ariel

Future Developments

As discussed previously, a large diagnostic and/or exercise system exists but sheer bulk precludes it’s convenient use at home or in small spaces. One future goal is to develop a computerized, feedback-controlled, portable, battery-powered, hydraulic musculoskeletal exercise assessment and training equipment based on the currently available full-sized system. The device will be portable, compact, and operate at low-voltage. Although physical fitness and good health have become increasingly more important to the American public, no compact, affordable, accurate device either for measurement or conditioning human strength or performance exists. This deficit hinders both America’s ability to provide convenient, affordable, and accurate diagnostic and exercise capabilities for hospital or home-bound patients, children or elderly, to adequately perform within small-spaced military areas, as would be found in submarines, or in NASA shuttle projects to explore the frontiers of space.

The frame will be compact and light-weight with a target weight of less than 10 kilograms. This is an ambitious design goal which will require frame materials to have maximum strength-to-weight ratios and the structure must be engineered with attention directed towards compactness, storage size, and both ease and versatility of operation. The design of a smaller and lighter hydraulic valve, pack, and cylinder assembly is envisioned. Software can be tailored to specific applications such as for the very young or the aged, specific orthopaedic and/or disease training, or other applications.

Another future development will be the ability to download programs through the Internet. For example, each patient could have one of the small exercise device at home. His/her doctor can prescribe certain diagnostic activities and exercise regiments and transmit them via the Internet. The individual can perform the exercises at home and then submit the results to the doctor electronically.

Biomechanical quantification of performances will become available electronically by downloading the software and executing the procedures on the individual’s personal computer. Parents will be able to assist their child’s athletic and growth performances, doctors or physical therapists can compare normal gait with their patient’s, and many other uses which may not be apparent at this time.

The Internet can also function as a conduit between a research site and a remote location. Consider a hypothetical example of the National Institute of Health conducting a study on the effects of exercise on various medical, chemical, neural, and biomechanical factors for a large number of subjects around the world. The exercise equipment could be linked directly with Internet sources, the other data could be collected, and sent to the appropriate participating institutes. Findings from each location could then be transmitted to the main data collection site for integration.


National and international attitudes and policies focused on improving the health of older people must be directed towards good nutrition and improving lifestyles. Exercise is no substitute for poor lifestyle practices, such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, overeating, and poor dietary practices. Attention must be directed to the importance of creative movements, posture, perceptual motor stimulation, body awareness, body image, and coordination. However, the importance of physical activity is too valuable to be limited to the young and healthy. Exercise, sports, and other physical activities must include all ages without regard to their frailty or disabilities.

The laws of nature rule the human body. Chemical and biological laws affect food metabolism, neurological transmissions within the nervous system and the target organs, hormonal influences, and all other growth, maintenance, and performance activities. Mechanical influences occur at the joints according to the same laws that return the pole vaulter to earth. Food, water, air, and environmental factors interact with work and societal demands. Human life is an interplay of external and internal processes and energy and, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the system will move towards increased disorder over time (56). In terms of the universe, the first law of thermodynamics states that the total energy of the universe is constant. The second law states that the total entropy of the universe is increasing. The measure of a system’s disorder is referred to a entropy and Eddington said, “Whenever you conceive of a new theory of unusually attractiveness, but it does not in some way conform to the Second Law, then that theory is most certainly wrong” (57).

Everyone inevitably grows older. Delaying the process of disorder by keeping the subsystems of the organism at a low level of entropy does not flaunt the Second Law but rather exploits it. Logically, consumption of proper food, sleeping or resting sufficiently, and engaging in an appropriately amount of intense physical activity should keep the tissues and organs functioning maximally. To extend and improve the length and the quality of life depends on an increased awareness of human anatomy, biology, and physiology with continuous research efforts in these and other areas which impact human life. The aging process cannot be overcome, but it should be possible to negate many of the debilitating aspects of it. The Declaration of the United States of America is the only document of any country in history which includes the statement of “…pursuit of happiness…” and this concept should apply to the health and quality of life for all peoples, regardless of location, and at every age — even during the twilight years.

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