NASA taps Indiana firm to build device to study gravity's effects

August 6, 2012  


NEW ALBANY, Ind. - Astronauts in the International Space Station National Laboratory may use a device designed and developed by a technology company located at the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana to study how gravity affects living things.

Techshot Inc. has earned a NASA contract worth approximately $750,000 to develop a prototype of the Multi-specimen Variable-gravity Platform. The contract follows an earlier agreement with NASA for preliminary design work.

The device processes biological materials in space through a centrifuge, a piece of laboratory equipment that spins an object or liquid samples at high speed. Techshot COO John Vellinger said that once in space, each of the twin centrifuges inside the device can reproduce the gravity of Earth, Mars, the moon or even an asteroid.

"Every laboratory, including the International Space Station National Laboratory, needs a centrifuge," Vellinger said. "The Multi-specimen Variable-gravity Platform provides researchers with two that can accommodate experiments with cells, plants, insects and even fish."

 Vellinger said studying the effects of gravity on living things provides new insights into areas like disease prevention and treatment.

"In space, researchers can study fundamental biological processes that sometimes are otherwise masked on Earth because of its natural gravitational pull," he said.

The first Multi-specimen Variable-gravity Platform prototype is expected to be completed in 18-24 months.

About Techshot Inc.

Founded in 1988, Techshot  is a product development company. Besides NASA, its customers include Procter & Gamble, MobileMedTek, Prosolia, Mavizon Technologies and FAST Diagnostics. Techshot provides product development solutions to the consumer products, medical, aerospace and defense industries.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation program in the country. The park's four Indiana sites are in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The nearly 200 companies located in the park network employ about 4,000 people.

Purdue Research Park contact:

Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Source:

Rich Boling, Techshot Inc., 812-923-9591 ext. 246, rboling@techshot.com

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