Microgravity Science and Technology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 77–88 | Cite as

A Novel Microgravity Simulator Applicable for Three-Dimensional Cell Culturing

  • Simon L. Wuest
  • Stéphane Richard
  • Isabelle Walther
  • Reinhard Furrer
  • Roland Anderegg
  • Jörg Sekler
  • Marcel EgliEmail author
Original Article


Random Positioning Machines (RPM) were introduced decades ago to simulate microgravity. Since then numerous experiments have been carried out to study its influence on biological samples. The machine is valued by the scientific community involved in space relevant topics as an excellent experimental tool to conduct pre-studies, for example, before sending samples into space. We have developed a novel version of the traditional RPM to broaden its operative range. This novel version has now become interesting to researchers who are working in the field of tissue engineering, particularly those interested in alternative methods for three-dimensional (3D) cell culturing. The main modifications concern the cell culture condition and the algorithm that controls the movement of the frames for the nullification of gravity. An incubator was integrated into the inner frame of the RPM allowing precise control over the cell culture environment. Furthermore, several feed-throughs now allow a permanent supply of gas like CO 2. All these modifications substantially improve conditions to culture cells; furthermore, the rewritten software responsible for controlling the movement of the frames enhances the quality of the generated microgravity. Cell culture experiments were carried out with human lymphocytes on the novel RPM model to compare the obtained response to the results gathered on an older well-established RPM as well as to data from space flights. The overall outcome of the tests validates this novel RPM for cell cultivation under simulated microgravity conditions.


Random Positioning Machine Microgravity Tissue engineering 3D cell cuturing Kinematic acceleration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon L. Wuest
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stéphane Richard
    • 2
  • Isabelle Walther
    • 2
  • Reinhard Furrer
    • 3
  • Roland Anderegg
    • 1
  • Jörg Sekler
    • 1
  • Marcel Egli
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for AutomationUniversity of Applied Science Northwestern SwitzerlandWindischSwitzerland
  2. 2.CC Aerospace Biomedical Science and TechnologyLucerne School of Engineering and ArchitectureHergiswilSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of MathematicsUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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