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Vestimumax, anyone?

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  • Vestimumax, anyone?

    I like the background info in this IITSEC PR piece from November about the inventor, kind of a home-story touch, touching indeed. Interestingly, though, didnt find anything on the net neither about the company nor the guy, nor the trainer. Too early? Or is this an Air America type of company? Anyone has details? Or someone can enlight me about what "combat head" trauma is? R.

    DATE: NOV 28, 2008

    Engineering A Solution

    One of the first time exhibitors at I/ITSEC this year is Ultrathera
    Technologies (Booth 3726), which is here exhibiting its Vestimumax
    system. Vestimumax is a computer controlled multi-axis rotating
    trainer capable of producing quantifiable vestibular (inner ear bal-
    ance organs) stimuli.

    Company CEO, and the inventor of the Vestimumax, Kevin Maher
    told the Show Daily that he was here this year at the show because
    he believes the system has potential in the military, medical and
    training environments. However, the conception of the Vestimumax
    lies in more personal circumstances.

    “I invented it for my daughter who has cerebral palsy,” Maher
    explains. “As a result of this cerebral palsy she had significant sen-
    sory integration disorder and the doctors prescribed a number of
    spins and rolls on the floor for her, but that was very difficult to pro-
    vide and we were hurting her,” he states.

    “I’m an engineer and I said I know I can automate this and that
    was the birth of the Vestimumax,” Maher says. But that wasn’t the
    end of the story. Maher happens to live in Colorado Springs, CO,
    the home of the US Air Force Academy, and he soon realized that
    his new invention could be used for other applications.

    “They have a lot of these new cadets come in and there is a
    washhout rate that occurs there. They don’t know if these kids are
    going to be good pilots or not,” Maher explains. Vetimumax can be
    used to set a benchmark and measure responses to the stimuli
    and with the right metrics has the potential of being a good indicator
    for suitability for flight duties.

    However, the potential goes beyond that. Maher believes that given
    the right circumstances, Vestimumax could be used to reduce the
    effects of motion sickness and spatial disorientation. “We can use the
    system to get over the motion sickness hump as pilots call it,” he
    states. “My daughter, with this significant brain injury, when we first
    started she was very sensitive to it and I could give her perhaps ten
    rotations, but after two months I could not rotate it fast enough for
    her and it was fun.”

    The company Maher founded believes that there are a variety of
    applications for the Vestimumax.

    It could be used inpilot training, to push the physiological capabilities
    of fighter pilots, or even for astronauts preparing for microgravity
    environments. There is also the potential for further medical
    uses including helping warfighters returning from conflicts that are
    suffering from balance disorders caused by combat head trauma Rings a bell somehow...

  • #2
    ...oops..., correction, actually found this vid (actually, good interview - especially liked the bit about the F-16 guys comment - , just too many ads for my gusto), and the guy, turns out he is an aerobatic instructor... Still nothing on the combat head trauma, though. R.

    SOURCE: Aero TV
    DATE: JAN 21, 2008.
    VIDEO: Scroll down

    Unusual Attitudes Demand Unusual Solutions

    At the 2007 I/ITSEC (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation Education Conference) imagine our surprise the first time we laid eye on the "Vestimumax." This was a device that sure seemed like it had one inclination above all else... to shake a pilot up in ways that were rarely equaled by any aircraft. A first time exhibitor at I/ITSEC, its manufacturer, Ultrathera Technologies, was showing off its brainchild, the Vestimumax -- a "computer controlled multi-axis rotating trainer capable of producing quantifiable vestibular stimuli." In other words, it was a whirling dervish of a machine designed to turn a pilot every which way in order to evaluate their sensitivity or acclimate them to the rigors of aggressive maneuvering... especially for those flying front line fighters in air combat maneuvering.

    The inventor of the Vestimumax is Kevin Maher... who, after some encouragement from initial military forays (including guidance from the Air Force Academy), decided that the device had the potential to help pilots in a number of ways... to evaluate their suitability for the rigors of flight, to help line flyers stay prepared for aggressive flight regimes and lower the accident rate for those who maintained their abilities (in part) with the help of devices like his... and help those who had had some problems in the past, ease past the issues that were plaguing them and "toughen" their tolerances for such maneuvering.

    It was a pressing personal challenge that led Maher to develop the highly maneuverable capabilities of Vestimumax. He had originally invented it for his daughter, stricken with cerebral palsy. Her condition had saddled the child with "significant sensory integration disorder"... for which medical experts had actually 'prescribed a number of spins and rolls' on the floor for the little girl. Maher noted that doing this by themselves (without external aid) was difficult to maintain and wasn't the most comfortable process for his little girl... But, since he was an engineer, he "knew there had to be a better way." For this reason Vestimumax was born... but it was after an association with the US Air Force academy that he decided that other applications were possible.

    Maher hypothesized that Vestimumax could be used to set benchmarks and evaluate/quantify responses to the maneuvering/physical stimuli and when properly combined with the right evaluation tools, that the device had the chance to offer a new set of tools to those selecting flyers for new generations of future airplanes.

    Evaluation turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg, as research showed that regular "exercise" in the Vestimumax seemed to offer the possibility of allowing for reductions in motion sickness and spatial disorientation and even increasing one's tolerance to such upsets. He saw such results in his own daughter... who was somewhat sensitive to the maneuverability of the device at first but within a few months he found that he "could not rotate it fast enough for her -- and she was having fun."

    Maher has founded a new company, Ultrathera, to promote new aeronautical uses for the Vestimumax. With potential utility in pilot training duties, as well as evaluation and rehabilitation, the future of the Vestimumax program would seem to be a solid one. We're intrigued as to the future of this concept and intend to follow along... we'll do our best to keep you updated. Rings a bell somehow...