A rat model for studying hazards in industrial power tool operation

Project Overview

Power hand tool operation in factories and service facilities, including threaded fastener tools (i.e. screw drivers and nut drivers), present hazardous hand loads resulting in repetitive motion injuries. The rapidly rising impulse loads transmitted to the hands while operating tools often produces stressful eccentric muscle contractions, which exceed the operator's capacity to hold the tool stationary and stretch muscle fibers and tendons, resulting in chronic injuries due to repetitive loading. The objective of this research is to conduct animal studies leading to an understanding of the pathophysiology associated with repetitive tool operation.

In collaboration with researchers at Temple University and UW-Madison, this project proposes to develop a device that contains a handle that a rat can be trained to pull which initiates a controlled rapid impulse force in the opposite direction that results in eccentric muscle contractions in the rat's arms, simulating repetitive power hand tool operation. The investigators intend to train rats to repetitively pull on the handle using sufficient force to activate a motor that pulls the rat hand in the opposite direction in order to receive a food pellet. A micro controller will control activation and operation of the device including the pull force and rate of impulse loading. The device will need to fit inside a cage-mounted device of similar dimensions that currently controls passive pull force.


Team picture

Team members from left to right: Carlos Veguilla, Yash Gokhale, Mengizem Tizale, Luke Hetue


Project Files

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Mengizem Tizale - Team Leader
  • Yash Gokhale - Communicator
  • Carlos Veguilla - BSAC & BPAG
  • Luke Hetue - BWIG

Advisor and Client

  • Colleen Witzenburg - Advisor
  • Prof. Robert Radwin - Client
  • Prof. Mary Barbe - Alternate Contact