Partial- and microgravity simulation through random positioning

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Technology abstract

A Dutch independent establishment of an international company offers microgravity research. They do this with a self-developed Random Positioning Machine (RPM), which provides microgravity by continuously changing the orientation. This generates effects similar to the effects of true microgravity (space).
The company is looking for research and development companies in life sciences, astrobiology and regenerative medicine for commercial agreements with technical assistance.

Technology Description

The Random Positioning Machine (RPM) of the Dutch company simulates micro-gravity. A sample container, which is connected to two independent axes, is rotated by the machine with random speeds in all directions. Due to the random
motion, the sample experiences gravity from every direction. Thus, after some time the average of the gravity affecting the sample goes to zero. In this way, the RPM simulates microgravity for objects inside its container. This is sometimes also referred to as ‘3D clinostat’.

Thanks to its versatility and quality the RPM is invaluable for research and development in many different fields, such as:
- Life science, cell biology and microbiology
- Astrobiology and planetary research
- Regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and stem cell research

Partial gravity
The RPM simulates ‘partial gravity’. This provides all gravity levels from 0g up to 0.9g. Partial gravity is achieved by changing the random motion pattern in such a way that on average the sample experiences some influence of Earth’s gravity. It is used for simulating e.g. the 0.38g Mars’ gravity or 0.17g Moon’s gravity, but also for determining e.g. the gravity level at which organisms or cells change behaviour.

Life science, cell- and microbiology
Gravity has many important effects on cells and introducing microgravity allows new cell-, micro- and mechanobiology research. For example, microgravity leads to different intra- and inter-cell communication, changes in genetic expression, cell growth and shape, gravitropism and mechanosensitivity effects, etc.

Regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and stem cell research
Recently published papers describe the use of RPM for regenerative medicine and 3D tissue engineering / cell culturing. For example, research has shown that microgravity can be used to reduce differentiation of stem cells.

Astrobiology and planetary research
The partial gravity feature (0g – 0.9g) of the RPM is also very useful for astrobiology research. It is used to research organisms survival, development, behaviour etc. in extra-terrestrial environments such as the 0.38g Mars’ gravity and 0.17g Moon’s gravity. Furthermore, the instrument is involved in different control, pre- and post-experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). For example, microbiology is researched with the RPM since bacterial virulence and growth rate increase in microgravity.

The company is looking for research and development companies in life sciences, cell- and microbiology, astrobiology, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, stem cell research, astrobiology and planetary research within the frame of
commercial agreements with technical assistance.

Innovations & Advantages

Gravity related research and simulation is usually costly or unreachable:
• low cost
• proven system and methodology
• scalable in size, depending on sample size (from table-top to full-room sized machines)

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Current domain:
Space

Potential domain:
Microbiology
Stem cells and biobanks
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
Laboratory equipment