December 10, 2012

According to the caption on the back of this photograph, this human centrifuge was the first built in the United States. The centrifuge was located in a balloon hangar on the flight line of Wright Field, and was constructed by Capt. Harry Armstrong and Dr. John W. Heim. Human centrifuges were designed to test the resistance of the human body to g-forces, a force commonly felt by pilots. Armstrong, who is pictured sitting on the table to the left, eventually became one of the leading minds in aerospace medicine, and would also serve as Surgeon General of the United States. Interestingly, the centrifuge in this picture has the human subject lying on his or her side. Today's centrifuges generally have the subject seated in an upright position.

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