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2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Medical and Engineering research studies have shown the potential risks of long haul flight travel and methods of preventing it occurring. The risk of serious health problems or even death is known to arise from lack of venous movement and increased coagulation (clotting) of the blood. These factors contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and this is more likely to occur in situations where people are seated for long periods during travel on land or in air. Currently long haul airlines have yet to be seen to introduce physical preventative measures against this syndrome.
A prototype design of an in-flight exercise machine to prevent flight related deep vein thrombosis (FRDVT) has been developed. The prototype is an exercise device consisting of a foot pedal attached to a base by a hinge mechanism and is made from aircraft grade aluminium alloy material. Mechanical testing and medical experiments were conducted on a number of volunteers at the Faculty of Engineering, Dublin Institute of Technology and at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, respectively to confirm the design characteristics of the device. Test results have indicated that the use of such a device can increase blood circulation in critical areas of the lower body limbs and prevent the occurrence of DVT and this paper discusses the threat that DVT holds to both travellers and people prone to periods of immobility.
Collins, C., Kennedy, D., Jerrams, S., Corrigan, T.: The Tromped, an in-flight exercise device to prevent Flight Related Deep Vein Thrombosis, ICRAT Proceedings, Bulgaria, Summer 2006.