Thursday, March 15, 2007


Outside the triblogosphere I've seen a few links to this Wired article on the Pentagon's "human enhancement project".

There's lots of nifty stuff, but here's one for athletics: the Glove.
Grahn and his research partner, biologist Craig Heller, started working on the Glove at Stanford in the late 1990s as part of their research on improving physical performance. Even they were astounded at how well it seemed to work. Vinh Cao, their squat, barrel-chested lab technician, used to do almost 100 pull-ups every time he worked out. Then one day he cooled himself off between sets with an early prototype. The next round of pull-ups — his 11th — was as strong as his first. Within six weeks, Cao was doing 180 pull-ups a session. Six weeks after that, he went from 180 to more than 600. Soon, Stanford’s football trainers asked to borrow a few Gloves to cool down players in the weight room and to fight muscle cramps.
In trying to figure out why the Glove worked so well, its inventors ended up challenging conventional scientific wisdom on fatigue. Muscles don’t wear out because they use up stored sugars, the researchers said. Instead, muscles tire because they get too hot, and sweating is just a backup cooling system for the lattices of blood vessels in the hands and feet. The Glove, in other words, overclocks the heat exchange system. “It’s like giving a Honda the radiator of a Mack truck,” Heller says. After four months of using it himself, Heller did 1,000 push-ups on his 60th birthday in April 2003. Soon after, troops from Special Operations Command were trying out the Glove, too.
I'm still not taking ice baths. :-P

[Hat Tip: for highlighting the money quote]


Anonymous Nigel. said...

You are still not taking ice baths. I guess the cold showers suffice...

3/15/2007 09:14:00 am  
Blogger Bolder said...

so, what do you recommend for triathletes then?

3/15/2007 11:06:00 am  
Blogger Andra Sue said...

Ooooh, that IS cool. Maybe a whole-body suit is next. :)

3/15/2007 11:32:00 am  
Blogger Brent Buckner said...

Nigel: this would be a week for cold showers (if I took them), as the spring break brings some attractive women in bikinis.

Bold: maybe I should write a post.

Andra Sue: literally, a decompression suit!

3/15/2007 04:03:00 pm  
Blogger Taconite Boy said...

unrelated...Thanks for the link to the tri volume article! Really made my day!


3/15/2007 06:28:00 pm  
Blogger Comm's said...

I saw an interesting piece on warming up a body suffering hypo-thermia. Instead of a blanket, it was a long tube that went over the hand and forearm of one arm. It created a vacuum that somehow transfered heat to the heart and upper body, raising core temperature faster than the blanket. They used thermal imaging to show its effects.

technology is pretty cool.

3/17/2007 03:58:00 pm  

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