A centrifuge creates excess gravitational force (G's) by spinning
things, and sometimes people. (It's excess G's that press you into
your roller coaster seat on those nauseating loops.) Aerospace
medicine types spent lots of time in the 1960s documenting the
unpleasant effects of excess G's. If a pilot starts spinning in a
high-altitude bailout, for instance, the outward force on his/her head
can rupture vessels in the eyes and brain and even, at spins in excess
of 175 rpm, spin the brain right off its brainstem. La, la la.
Seen here is an unusual example of excess G's being harnessed
for the good. The patent holders, George B. and Charlotte Blonsky,
contend that the centrifuge could be a boon to "more civilized
women," who, they surmise, often lack the muscle strength needed to
easily push out a baby. Centrifugal force would act as a sort of
invisible midwife, lessening the muscular force required for birthing.
Would it work, though? Could one create enough outward force on the
baby to make a difference -- without simultaneously making the mother
lightheaded? I sent the patent to April Ronca, who used to research
the effects of zero G on fetal growth and birth for NASA. "That is
an interesting invention," she replied.
As with so many U.S. patents -- the "Decorative Penile
Wrap" I stumbled onto while researching my previous book leaps to mind
-- one longs to know the back story. Did Charlotte undergo a
difficult birth? Did the couple actually build and use the thing? Perhaps they'll read this and post a comment.
Note the elasticized "pocket-shaped newborn net" - lest the
baby shoot out and bump its head with double-G force.