Pneumatic Leg Press Workout Machine for Users with Multiple Sclerosis

Team members include Mohsin Al Bargain, Ahmed Al Rajah, Jay Allen, Samantha Bannister, Alexander Eisele, and Alexandria Persing.

Pneumatic Leg Press Workout Machine for Users with Multiple Sclerosis

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Team Members

Mohsin Al Barwani, senior, mechanical engineering
Ahmed Al Rawahi, senior, mechanical engineering
Jay Allen, senior, mechanical engineering
Samantha Bannister, senior, mechanical engineering
Alexander Eisele, senior, mechanical engineering
Alexandria Persing, senior, mechanical engineering

Faculty supervisor

Keegan Moore

This project tasked a team of mechanical engineering students to redesign and add on to an already existing pneumatic leg press workout machine for people with multiple sclerosis. The main reason for this design over traditional free weights is to allow for the integration of an emergency pressure release system in case the patient’s legs spasm during the workout. The engineers added a more-rigid linear footplate, a leg support system to increase safety for the user, and an integrated and adjustable chair for ease of use.

Alexander Eisele discussed the team’s project and the senior design capstone process:

Q: How did this team come to be working on this project? Were you assigned by a faculty advisor or did you have to come up with the idea?

Eisele: We were assigned to this project by Kurt Palik (assistant professor of practice in mechanical and materials engineering), but it was also on our team’s top five choices when given a complete list of all available projects.

Q: Are you working with a client outside the College of Engineering?

Eisele: Yes, we are working closely Daryl Kucera, the owner of MS Forward, which s a gym in Omaha that has specialty workout equipment specifically for people that have multiple sclerosis.

Q: What is the team’s experience in working with the client? How much are you learning about being an engineer from this part of the process?

Eisele: It has been a challenge to work through the entire process from start to finish, where you must take into consideration the needs and wants from the client, not just engineering and design principles. Overall, they laid out goals they wanted us to reach, but left a lot of the design up to us. I think it really speaks to the true nature of what being an engineer will be like: It’s not all about the ideas and the application of engineering principles learned all throughout college, there are sets of limitations and expectations, which we cannot change and need to be worked around. Working on this really put everything we learned together within the scope of a singular project, which also helped us get a feeling for what it’s like to have project checkpoints, update meetings, set timelines, and budget management.

Q: Have you gotten to work with multiple sclerosis patients/doctors/therapists, etc., in this process?

Eisele: We were able to meet some multiple sclerosis patients when doing a bit of research on the current state of the leg press machine to get a good idea of what currently worked well and what would need to be changed for them to utilize the machine safely fully. This was all done at the machine at MS Forward.

Q: What this project has meant for you and your teammates?

Eisele: No one in our group has personal experience or connections to MS, however the owner, Daryl shared his personal story about why he opened the gym and the impact the leg press machine had on him and others when it was working previously. When Daryl was able to use it, there was a time where he was able to gain enough strength to be able to walk. That really motivated our group.

Q: How will your design have an impact on people or the world?

Eisele: The fact that this machine has the potential to make a huge impact for people with MS is very motivating and brings us a lot of joy. Daryl also mentioned that some people flew to Omaha to be able to use the previous design of this machine, which also gives me hope for the future of this project and the impact it could have on the entire country.

Q: How has working on this project affected you and your decisions about the pathways you will take in engineering?

Eisele: Personally, I think it helped me pinpoint what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the entire engineering design process as it relates to an actual project. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you do and don’t like doing, but after doing everything for the project, I am more confident in my ability to decide on my future career path.