Silicon Valley 2019 EDI Summer Experience – Vasper Systems and Escape Room by Christopher Asuncion

On Thursday, we first visited Vasper Systems in the NASA Ames Research Park. There, we met with the founder, Peter Wasowski, who gave us a background on his company.

The EDI Fellows with Vasper founder, Peter Wasowski (bottom row, second from the left)

Vasper Systems (Vasper being short for Vascular Performance) focuses on developing exercise machines that use cooling and compression to create an effective and efficient workout. According to the company, their machines can give the same results of a 2-hour workout in 21 minutes. As explained by Peter, the cooling and compression “hacks” the human body to increase the production of growth and recovery hormones. The compression cuffs are worn on the arms and legs, where they compress the muscle to quickly build up lactic acid to an amount that would normally be gained through a hard and intense workout for a long period of time.

Peter Wasowski helping Nik Chrones-Yanek with the Vasper machine

The cooling in the cuffs also helps more blood and oxygen to reach the muscles. Normally during a workout, the body temperature increases and more blood flows to the skin to help with sweating for cooling the body, which leaves less blood and oxygen for the muscles. By cooling the body, the blood oxygen levels remain high, and more blood reaches the muscles to give the oxygen and take away, which prevents the muscles from fatiguing heavily and increases performance. Also, it reduces or completely eliminates sweating, which is a nice addition.

Peter Wasowski helping Olivia Danielson with the Vasper machine

These machines have helped many people recover from major injuries. For example, an Army Veteran, who suffered from spinal shock and was paralyzed from the waist down, was able to walk again with the assistance of a walker after 8 months of using the Vasper Machine. Vasper also develops machines for NASA astronauts. While they are in space, the absence of gravity makes it hard to do hard and intense exercises, and when they land back on Earth, they have to rebuild their muscles. Vasper creates machines to assist in these exercises.

After Peter’s presentation, we all did 10-minute sessions on the Vasper Machines. During my experience, I could feel the lactic acid building up under the cuffs (basically it hurt) and it was a tough workout, but in the end I wasn’t sweaty and it really felt like I had done a hard intensive workout in 10 minutes.

To round out our trip, we ended by doing an escape room. We split into two teams by mentor groups. My team was Nik, Sarah, Keon, Charlie, and I. The other team was Maguire, Leah, Olivia, Caitlin, and AJ. We both did the spy-themed escape room, which gave us 60 minutes to solve puzzles around the room to eventually find a small brass key. Our team worked well and we managed to get out in 38:05, but while we were waiting for the other team to finish, we could hear the other team, especially Maguire and Olivia, yelling at each other. They finished in 56:42 thanks to a misreading of a clock. In the end, it was fun way to wrap up our trip and bond with our mentor groups.

Post by Christopher Asuncion EDI’21