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unknown user
04-09-1996, 08:27 AM
The good news: soon we'll have a new biomechanics laboratory. The bad news:
we'll be on the second floor. Sound familiar to anyone? We're in the
process of designing the new USOC biomechanics laboratory space to support
our multi-sport biomechanics projects - limited of course to indoor and
pseudo-indoor applications, and we could use some help.

Our challenge is to find/design/fabricate/purchase a platform or set of
platforms to surround our force plates. No, we cannot sink force plate
mounts deep into the floor, nor can we convince the builder to place a
structural column beneath our force plates. We're unfortunately stuck with
bringing the floor up to our force plate surfaces, and limiting our studies
to non-impact sports (or the non-impact portions of impact sports).

Given what we have to work with, we'd like to have a central, relatively
permanent platform, perhaps 10 feet by 10 feet, with removeable sections in
the center accomodating several force plate mounting arrangements. Then,
modular platforms (maybe 5 feet by 5 feet) could be coupled in some way to
the central platform to permit the analysis of activities requiring
additional space around the central platform.

A couple of additional design criteria include:

* Surface material. The "everyday" surface material should be somewhat
resilient, non-slip, and non-reflective. This surface will probably be used
for 90 percent of all activities studied. Ideally, the everyday surface
material could also be fixed to the force plates to create a uniform
flooring environment. Additionally, other surfaces could be laid upon the
base layer (like tartan track surface).

* Strength requirements. We would also like to have the ability to study
certain weight training activities over the central platform in our new lab.
Consequently, the central, more permanent platform may have to be supported
beneath by 4x4s laid side by side to enhance the structural integrity of the
area. This would also give us the ability to move select strength training
equipment and other heavy sport-specific equipment into the area without
damaging the platform floor. The surrounding platform, perhaps 5' x 5'
sections, could then be supported more like existing platforms (on short legs).

* Platform stiffness. If we have a relatively stiff central platform (4x4
supports and rigid force plates), we don't want super resilient modular
platforms coupled around it. So we need a relatively stiff set of modular
platforms for integration with the central platform.

Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with platform integration around
force plates as I've described above? We're particularly interested in (a)
surface materials found to be most effective,(b) if commercially available
platforms have been succesfully used in such environments, (c) the cost of
such platform projects, (d) coupling arrangements - if anybody's tried it,
and (e) any and all success stories that may lead us in the right direction.

We greatly appreciate any help any of you can provide. I will certainly
post replies for the benefit of all if requested. Thanks so much - in advance.

p.s. - look for another request soon - for advice on projectile nets.

Jeffrey P. Broker, Ph.D.
USOC Sport Science & Technology
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909