- Design of a Drug Delivery System through the Gastrointestinal Tract by Kaixin Chen, Adel Husayni, Kayvon Mobarakeh, and Ankit Soni [View Image]
Kaixin Chen, Adel Husayni, Kayvon Mobarakeh, and Ankit Soni
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) afflicts an estimated 5.3 million individuals and is the sixth leading cause of death in America. The drug delivery method of interest is an orally administered sustained-release delivery system that addresses the needs of the associated patient population. By augmenting drug delivery with a higher effective payload per dose compared to current methods, drug efficacy and bioavailability would improve. This will result in a decrease of the overall cost for medication as a greater percentage of the administered drug will be viable.
This design addresses the release of AD drug from the drug delivery system at the small intestine. The design specifications are uniqueness and novelty, cost, ease of use, compatibility, toxicity, shelf life, and pH sensitivity. This design features the utilization of a pH sensitive hydrogel composed of PEGDA and PMMA-co-MMA that will encapsulate the drug through the GI tract and respond appropriately to stimuli in the small intestine to release its content in an appropriate manner. This prevents the release of drug in acidic environments like the stomach where it will be degraded. From experimental studies, the hydrogel drug delivery system was found to be effective. Drug release kinetics using fluorescent dyes indicated that the release was greatest in the pH environment that simulated that found in the small intestines whereas the release was the lowest in very acidic pH levels simulating the acidity of the stomach.
- Emergency Glucagon Injection Device by John Corbett, Zachary Cullingsworth, Christopher Ducic, and Ryan Meekins [View Image]
John Corbett, Zachary Cullingsworth, Christopher Ducic, and Ryan Meekins
Glucagon is a drug administered to people with diabetes that are experiencing a seizure due to low blood glucose levels. The current method of injecting glucagon during a hypoglycemic seizure is lengthy and complicated when time equates to minimizing the effects of an emergency situation. This project is student created and the result of the design team recognizing a serious problem and deciding to find a better solution. The goal of this project was to streamline this process. Several working prototypes were developed and evaluated before a final design was chosen. Safety, durability and usability were all considerable factors. The properties of glucagon require it to be stored in a powered form until before it is injected. Therefore, the device had to safely store the medicine and diluting solution separately. It is also important that the injection device is robust enough to be carried around by the person with diabetes to have it in case of emergency. The novel part of this design was how the two components were separated via a barrier and once that was removed and the two drugs mixed the injection device sealed itself. The approach taken with this development was an iterative version of the design process. Several concepts were brainstormed and from that a practical solution was developed. The final 3-D printed prototype meets and exceeds the goal by reducing the preparation time to one-eighth of the previous kit. This device has the potential to save lives and provide sense of safety to people with diabetes.
- A Tilting System for Powered Wheelchairs by Liam Cornwall, Brandon Heath, Justin McDaniel, and Alexander Stevenson [View Image]
Liam Cornwall, Brandon Heath, Justin McDaniel, and Alexander Stevenson
The objective of our project is to create a wheelchair platform that can tilt a power wheelchair and its user back into a nearhorizontal position. The purpose of this is to allow a dentist to work on the patient in the manner and position with which they are most accustomed.
The device currently used by our sponsor, The Virginia Home, is the Versatilt platform. The Versatilt is capable of lifting a maximum weight of 750 lbs. and tilting patients back, up to 65 degrees. However, the platform is too small to accept the power wheelchairs used by the majority of our sponsor’s patients. This means that patients in powered wheelchairs have to be transferred from their chairs and into manual wheelchairs for their dental service. According to OSHA, these patient transfers also cause 28.3% of workplace injuries for nurses and other care staff. Because of this we have created and prototyped a new design that will allow patients to remain in their powered wheelchairs when they go to get dental work done.
In order to accommodate the larger powered wheelchairs and meet our sponsor’s desires, our design incorporates three key design points. The first is the use of heavy duty linear actuators, each of which are capable of exerting 1010 pounds of thrust. The two linear actuators are able to lift the heavier weight of a powered wheelchair and its patient, as well as provide a redundancy system that will ensure that the system will not fail catastrophically. The second design point was the incorporation of a larger tilting platform. This allows the larger powered wheelchairs to be put onto our tilter. The final design consideration was creating a system that would allow the platform to tilt back 80 degrees, which allows for the dentist to work in their normal position. These 3 key design considerations create a system that meets all of the requirements of our project sponsor, while creating a unique system that is not currently on the market.
- 3D Heart Model for Mapping RF Ablation Sites by Danielle Corsino, Ashleigh Mims, Andrew Potter, and Alejandro Rivera [View Image]
Danielle Corsino, Ashleigh Mims, Andrew Potter, and Alejandro Rivera
Electro-Cardiologists routinely insert radiofrequency probes into the heart and conduct targeted ablation procedures to correct irregular heartbeats. Current techniques are very experience and “touch” based, and require the novice cardiologist about 50 procedures to become proficient. There is a need for a functional heart model device that can be used to reduce the amount of procedures on human patients before cardiologist become proficient. Project constraints included limited software availability for segmenting accuracy, available 3D printing technology and materials, and cost to 3D print heart models due to the complex geometry. The team began with a CT scan, ITK SNAP and MIMICS segmenting software, but the heart models appeared inaccurate and were filled with holes after segmenting. The team then downloaded an accurate heart model from an open source site and printed the model in thermoplastic material using a fused deposition modeling 3D printer. Metal nodes were placed throughout the heart model, which act as points the cardiologists can practice navigating the catheter to. Attached to these nodes is a circuit board which uses LEDs to display when the cardiologist correctly touches the desired node. There is not a model currently on the market that would help cardiologists become proficient with RF ablation; therefore this model will increase the safety of human patients during a RF ablation procedure.
- FiND: Framework for IntelligeNt research Discovery by Clint Cuffy, Tej Mehta, and Hengbin Li [View Image]
Clint Cuffy, Tej Mehta, and Hengbin Li
Computers are essential to research yet the different ways in which computers can automate or speed up research have not been fully explored. Researchers are publishing experimental results faster than ever before and the number of articles to read on a single subject now presents an overwhelming task. FiND aims to expedite this process through an extensible backbone infrastructure for the automated synthesizing of data. FiND includes a Web User Interface, Perl Core and MySQL Database developed using the software constraints of Perl, HTML, CSS, CGI and MySQL. FiND attempts to simplify this task by reducing time spent in exhaustive article searching and allow researchers to spend it perusing deeper in the article contents. In addition, a filtration system was also included so researchers can easily locate specific articles of interest. A remaining issue includes generation of specific author identification database values. The FiND infrastructure was developed to allow for the integration of automated text processing methods for the cataloguing of nanotechnology entities. This functionality would provide a more efficient search mechanism and enable the discovery of new relationships between entities. Nanotechnology based medicines can revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat diseases. Our ability to control matter at the nanoscale, which is 50 thousand times smaller than the diameter of a single strand of hair, opens new possibilities for targeted and personalized medicine. In order to fully harness the potential of nanotechnology, we need an automated system to collect and categorize data on nanotechnology.
- Capital One Mobile Authentication: Authentication using Biometric by Anh Dang, Hunter Miller, and Matthew Mosca [View Image]
Anh Dang, Hunter Miller, and Matthew Mosca
Capital One, a large US bank, is currently providing customers with a mobile servicing experience. One of the features of the mobile servicing app is easy and convenient access to account information. Capital One currently allows users to authenticate using a traditional username / password, their registered SureSwipe feature and even their finger on supported devices. The project's goal is to evaluate the viability of retinal recognition as a new method for biometric authentication.
By successfully developing this project, the application could offer retinal recognition as an additional biometric authentication option to customers. This can be used to help eliminate the risk of users losing their passwords as well as to solve many security concerns related to them.
Two development aspects:
• Mobile Application - the user interface that handles biometric authentication using the EyeVerify SDK
• API - the back-end that handles information and account management using node.js and MongoDB
Throughout two semesters, the team has managed to meet the application and business requirements, as well as produce working prototypes at different stages. Along the development process, the team learned Swift, Objective-C, MongoDB, as well as RESTful API design patterns. Furthermore, the team also gained experience in Swift and Objective-C interoperability, networking, and API integration from mobile clients.
While retinal recognition has many advantages over other methods of biometric authentication, the team would not necessarily recommend it at this time given the current SDK options. Throughout the project it proved to be difficult to work with and restrictive in its functionality. In conclusion, the team would recommend continuing to review additional solutions.
- 3D Immersive Visualization: Expanding Human Sensation by Megan Davis, Francisco Gonzalez, and Connor Waters [View Image]
Megan Davis, Francisco Gonzalez, and Connor Waters
Unmet Need: The constant push for better and more interactive data visualization aids: the Oculus Rift replaced a two-dimensional fixed monitor with head tracking and a three-dimensional virtual space to explore; the Novint Falcon replaces two-dimensional pointing tools with a haptic sensor with force feedback and three degrees of axial freedom.
Deliverables: A demonstration of the technologies involved, in the form of an Oculus- and Falconenabled physical simulation of a room containing several objects that can be handled and manipulated in three dimensions.
Constraints: The hardware is expensive and difficult to acquire, and it requires a beefy computer to run.
Approach: We chose two exciting alternative human interface devices and put together a demo that shows off their capabilities for real-time input and feedback when used together.
Results: We realized our goal of a physical simulation on a smaller scale than we initially planned; technological limitations got in the way of us expanding it beyond what we have here.
Issues: The devices used here and the technologies they represent are still new and experimental; they are prohibitively expensive, and their software is unstable and resource intensive. In order for the technologies to be adopted widely, they will have to become more accessible, and a software infrastructure will have to be built around them.
Impact: Devices like these are poised to change the way we interact with computers and think about virtual space and data presentation. This project shows off just two, aiming to give the user an idea of the interactions that are possible.
- Fluid Routing System: Industrial Automation and Simulation by Sean De Arras, Andy Fabian, and Shellie Lundquist [View Image]
Sean De Arras, Andy Fabian, and Shellie Lundquist
Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) builds the biggest ships in the world. These ships store and deliver millions of gallons of fluids via computer-controlled networks of pipes, valves, pumps, and tanks. A working, small scale demonstrator of these systems is needed for NNS to use in training and educational demonstrations. The demonstrator needs to allow for functional control of physical parameters by implementing a working instrumentation and control (I&C) system. Core components of this system are a programmable logic controller (PLC), a software development platform, a simulator, and a graphical user interface (GUI) on a human machine interface (HMI).
Project deliverables are the physically built demonstrator, as well as the PLC code with algorithm, HMI, GUI, simulator hardware and all of the applicable connections and driver boards. The demonstrator and all accessory equipment needs to be tabletop size while also being complex enough to show valid path finding techniques of the coded algorithm.
The students went with a simplified yet still multifaceted design based on four tanks, twenty-one electric valves and two pumps. With this degree of complexity, the demonstrator exemplifies how shipboard systems work, while also showing the routing algorithm’s ability to help increase efficiency in a larger network. The project’s simulator can be used to model arbitrarily complex networks, while the project’s routing algorithm can determine ideal paths through these modeled networks. The future of the project could see an interface that allows for more control of physical system that would have the ability to dynamically change due to conditions, such as sensed flow rates and blockages.
The routing algorithm could improve the efficiency of any fluid routing system. It also could allow for the reduction in the level of manual intervention needed during emergency situations, thus reducing the possibility of human error.
- Small Animal Thermal Support Device: Thermoregulation System for SCIREQ flexiVent Chamber by Alexander Dickey, Ashkhan Hojati, Matthew James, and Kathleen Vermillera [View Image]
Alexander Dickey, Ashkhan Hojati, Matthew James, and Kathleen Vermillera
During ventilation induced lung injury (VILI) experiments, anesthetized mice lose the ability to regulate their core body temperature. Without maintaining homeostasis, the experimental data may be compromised due to changes in the rodent’s internal functions. Traditional heating techniques utilize a water circulation heating system that is unable to fit inside flexiVent ventilator testing chambers. The objective of this project is to design and build an automatic thermoregulatory feedback system to regulate the core body temperature of a mouse inside individual testing chambers throughout the duration of the experiment. The project deliverables include a functioning prototype that achieves safe and effective thermoregulation of small rodents with flexiVent compatibility and evidence of desired function. The design constitutes a Raspberry Pi 2 B microcomputer connected to a temperature sensor, an electric heating element, and touch-control display with software that maintains homeostasis. The electric heating pad with an external water blanket was chosen over a water circulation heating system and a far-infrared heating system due to its large degree of control and ability to be implemented in a physically isolated testing chamber. Other similar designs are limited by size, ability to heat rodents within the flexiVent chamber, and automation. This product ultimately eliminates the need for researchers to manually monitor the core body temperature of the test subject and allows for extended ventilation periods utilizing the flexiVent ventilation system.
- Data Network Visualization by Marcangelo Dilinila, Carl Miranda, and Chase Keech [View Image]
Marcangelo Dilinila, Carl Miranda, and Chase Keech
Data visualization is an essential component of any data analysis. A visual image can aid in more in-depth analysis of any researched data. Although there are data visualization products that already exist on the market, such as Gephi, yEd Graph editor, and OmniGraffle, they are platform-dependent and can be difficult for novice users to install and get started. Data Network Visualization eliminates these weaknesses by being fully accessible through the web, while having a less cluttered user interface. This allows a user to take advantage of a variety of visualization tools without the need to download a program.
To achieve the goals of the project, the application would need to be able to visualize graph data given by the user. A user can then alter the graph generated to match their needs, then save it and open the graph at a later date. A major constraint has been making sure the data visualization functionality was as robust, editable, and feature-rich as possible in the amount of time given to work on the project. The project team divided the work based on individual strengths, while aiding others who were in need of help through communication on social media. Front end functionality of the website has been mostly completed with a few bugs, however, the back end server requires work in saving and opening graph files for users. Data Network Visualization will allow researchers to better understand their collected data, specifically analyzing trends and relationships.
- Phosphate and Selective Anion Removal of Waste Water in Industrial Systems by Daniel Dillon, Campbell McColley, and Laura Strukl [View Image]
Daniel Dillon, Campbell McColley, and Laura Strukl
Phosphorous is an essential nutrient for a functioning water ecosystem, however, heightened levels caused by waste water and agriculture can be damaging. High levels of PO43- cause toxic algae blooms, which kill wildlife and contaminate drinking water supplies. Therefore, cheap, efficient phosphate removal systems are beneficial for commercial settings in order to meet governmental standards. Similar research and technology can aid in the removal of toxic heavy metals in industrial waste water. Using a packed column with solid supported media, both phosphate and other selective anions were successfully removed from water. This was confirmed by inductively coupled plasma analysis. Constraints for this deliverable would include reagent cost as well as governmental regulations concerning substances in waste water. Another consideration was the ability to reuse spent columns through regeneration techniques. By creating a small scale column system, the team tested the effective removal of selective anions from water sources while keeping in mind the contact time and loading capacity of metals onto the media. Through design of experiment, optimal results were obtained. For removal, it was determined that, the higher the loading of the metal along with 4 minute contact times allowed for optimal removal. The most efficient media and regenerative were also determined. Future considerations should involve a real time controller to obtain instant analytical data allowing users to know when columns need to be regenerated. This ensures minimal waste of reagent during removal. This design is applicable to companies concerned with the environmental impact of their waste water.
- Electromechanical Robotic Platform for Patient Motion Management in Radiotherapy by Thomas Dwyer, Ross Cruikshank, Daniel Martinez, and Melvin Rosario [View Image]
Thomas Dwyer, Ross Cruikshank, Daniel Martinez, and Melvin Rosario
Head and neck cancer is often treated with radiation therapy. During this treatment, patient movement causes healthy cells to receive excessive radiological dose. We have designed an electromechanical robotic platform that enables compensation of patient movement during treatment. This project includes analysis of materials and motion of the system, design of the control system and model, and the functional prototype. The design of the robotic platform will be compatible with pre-existing head and mouth harnesses in order to keep a patient’s head steady while the patient’s headrest in motion. For radiotherapy, this system requires radio-compatible materials. Through the use of computer-aided engineering technology and technical calculations, the project team demonstrated the feasibility of the design. Finite element analysis was used to determine which specific materials were best suited for the project, taking into consideration the difficulty in obtaining certain materials. The development of a prototype device was established with electrical motors to allow for precise controls and movements of the device. Overall, this project will benefit patients by ensuring the optimal treatment delivery. The project will lead to advancement in patient motion management systems and radiation therapy, and will serve as a foundation for future radiotherapy systems.
- Suture Trainer: Improving Tissue Handling Technique by Albara Elshaer, Sindora Baddam, Veronica Peterkin, and Millie Shah [View Image]
Albara Elshaer, Sindora Baddam, Veronica Peterkin, and Millie Shah
Tissue handling is fundamental to performing mechanical tasks of suturing and surgery on live humans and animals. While the mechanics of suturing can be taught, there is no available simulation product designed to specifically teach tissue handling skills. It is important as a future medical professional to gain better tissue handling skills in order to prevent unnecessary injury to the tissue via scarring. The suture trainer focuses on providing feedback in order to standardize tissue handling technique in order to prevent poor habits from developing. Our project deliverables included a model, working prototype, and test data collected from practicing physicians which was incorporated into the final prototype. Constraints that were considered included cost of the product, having the device be reusable, and having the device be representative of suturing in surgery. The suture trainer is a modified Adson forceps with a piezoelectric sensor on top and a feedback mechanism that incorporates two ranges: a safe range and a danger range. The suture trainer reinforces proper grip and pressure of the Adson forceps in order to improve tactile and proprioceptive skills to allow development of gentle tissue handling skills outside of a live patient situation . Future designs would incorporate a microprocessor which would be able to record data over a certain period and would give the user feedback on improvement of tissue handling skills over time. This invention can be used in suturing simulations for medical students and for all medical providers that suture patients. This includes physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and surgical technicians and residents. It can be used for a variety of simulated tissues including skin, hollow organ, and blood or lymphatic vessels.
- Treatment of Menorrhagia and Irregular Menstruation: Cryo-Fluid Ablation of the Endometrium by Baha Endisha and Benjamin Green [View Image]
Baha Endisha and Benjamin Green
Menorrhagia and irregular menstruation, characterized as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), is a condition that affects 15 to 20% of reproductive and pre-menopausal women. Common treatments are invasive, painful, or have low success rates; there is a need for new treatment. A 2014-2015 senior design team developed a prototype treatment based on the hypothesis that if free fluid was circulated in the uterine cavity at temperatures between 0 and -15ᵒC, cell death of the 2cm reproductive endometrial layer in the uterine cavity could be achieved and induce long term amenorrhea. The current senior design team significantly modified the prototype to reach more appropriate temperatures, increase control mechanisms, and developed a complete mathematical model of the heat transfer from the uterus. It was necessary for the improvements to be made to maintain the safety and regulation required under biological treatments while also keeping it cost-effective. The current senior design team developed and solved a version of the Pennes-Bioheat equation to model the heat transfer in the system and employed various other modifications to the system in order to achieve all project goals. These included insulation and piping progress as well as the development of a catheter design. The team was able to achieve, and surpass, required temperatures required for cell ablation to occur. However further work is recommended that includes cell, tissue and human trials to determine the viability of the model and develop viable therapies for the treatment of menorrhagia and irregular menstruation.
- Adjustable Pipe Hanger: Newport News Shipbuilding by Ryan Fitzgerald, Ahmad Othman, Emily Holland, and Zinullah Ghaznawi [View Image]
Ryan Fitzgerald, Ahmad Othman, Emily Holland, and Zinullah Ghaznawi
This senior design project is sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding. The objective of this project is to design a pipe hanger system that could be installed during initial fabrication while still allowing adjustment when the pipe path deviates from the initial drawings. The design must be cheap and utilize already existing parts. One key constraint is to hold a load of 250 pounds and withstand a velocity between 100-120 inches per second. The original design created utilizes a C-channel track attached to the ceiling and a spring locking mechanism to provide flexibility. This final design eliminated the spring device with a nut and rod locking mechanism and a threaded rod between the C-channel track and the marine style pipe hanger. This design was tested against the constraints given by NNS, using the program ANSYs workbench. The design was found to be able to withstand 100-120 inches per second velocity without faltering. The design was found to be able to withstand up to 6014 psi. Once the computer testing was complete, the total cost was calculated. This was estimated originally at a range of $50- $60. The end price was calculated at $90, this was without the track. For the constraint of a cheap product to be achieved, the design will need to be altered to use either cheaper materials, cheaper tools, or cheaper components.
- Improved Way to Affix IV Components to Gurneys from Operating Tables by Corey Gilbert, Braulio Rosales, and Jason Warren [View Image]
Corey Gilbert, Braulio Rosales, and Jason Warren
The current issue in the process of transporting a patient from the operating room (OR) to the intensive care unit (ICU) is the risks involved with the IV stand being top-heavy due to two or three IV pumps weighing approximately 15 pounds each. This can lead to injury to the patient, or other personnel, if an instance occurred where the IV stand were to tip over. Having a single person to manage both the IV stand and gurney during transport can increase this risk.
To remedy these problems, the project team established the goals of developing a working prototype, testing and evaluating its feasibility, and demonstrating the use of the design to the sponsor. The constraints addressed in completing the design were safety (ex. maintaining access to patient’s head), a quick attach/release function, manufacturability, practicality, cost, and ease of use. The safety of those involved is of utmost importance during this process.
To solve these issues two separate solutions were developed in conjunction with two common approaches to affixing IV poles. One solution uses an IV stand on a set wheels and couples this to a bed, while the other transfers individual components to a stand affixed to a bed.
- Human Occupancy: A Non-Invasive Solution by Hamid Golgiri, Patrick Van Hoecke, and Derrick Williams [View Image]
Hamid Golgiri, Patrick Van Hoecke, and Derrick Williams
Currently, it is difficult to find an available location within a crowded setting. To solve this spatial issue, the team wants to be able to inform people of the density in commonly-occupied areas. To do this, they will need to develop Area Occupancy Device Modules (AODMs) to gather thermal readings. After which, the data will be sent to a central coordinator via mesh network communication. This coordinator will then interpret the data and display its analysis in a graphical user interface (GUI). The system is constrained in that it cannot gather defining characteristics of the people it’s observing. Additionally, the system must be able to reliably communicate in a point-to-multipoint architecture. Currently, the team has interfaced a 4x4 thermal sensor/pyroelectric sensor pair. This data is communicated back to the central coordinator (Raspberry Pi) with the use of a mesh network formed by XBee modules. To reduce data corruption the team has implemented their own communication protocol. The current implementation allows for numerous AODMs to relay information back to the central coordinator reliably. Also implemented is a GUI that can be displayed on a television or monitor. Remaining project goals are to develop a more seamless dispersion of information to the user. This can be done via a phone application and/or an online website. Currently, this system is able to reduce the amount of search time for users, and allows for businesses to spatially optimize their surroundings.
- Remote Control Aircraft by Thomas Gutema, Catherine Jones, Judy Liang, and Kendall Moore [View Image]
Thomas Gutema, Catherine Jones, Judy Liang, and Kendall Moore
The purpose of the RC aircraft design was not to address a problem that has not been solved, but to redesign an aircraft with the intent to understand the practical applications of the building process. Our approach to completing this project involved two phases; the planning phase and the building phase. In the planning phase, we made selections for the airfoil, wing, fuselage, tail, elevators, and ailerons. These choices were made using aeronautical engineering concepts and theory. For the building phase, we focused on materials selection, fabrication, and testing.
During our design process, a lot of time went to choosing the airfoil. While researching, we considered three governing factors: drag coefficient, lift coefficient, and manufacturability. Each airfoil offered a variation of these parameters.The Eppler 423 airfoil was picked for its low drag coefficient. There were issues during fabrication. These issues mainly stemmed from the lack of quality equipment. For example, initial attempts to cut the balsa wood into the airfoil profile caused wood splitting. This happened because the saw was too coarse for that grain of wood. If this project were redone, we would utilize tools that are commonly used within the hobbyist community to optimize fabrication.
Our project focused on the application of the engineering design process that we have become familiar with as undergraduate students. In terms of purpose, our project would identify most with the R/C aircraft hobbyist community and FSAE community that also engineer and build aircrafts for personal or competition uses.
- Dynamic CG Display for Recovery Cranes by Tariq Haddad and Steven LeMasters [View Image]
Tariq Haddad and Steven LeMasters
The objective of this project is to give recovery crane operators the ability to visualize the crane's center of gravity, while picking up a load. With this ability, the operators will know when the crane is close to tipping over. Currently, no system dynamically calculates the center of gravity. This is especially important for recovery cranes, which typically work on un-level ground. This system can save a recovery crane company millions in damage to the crane, and prevent injuries to the operator or support personnel on site. Also by storing the data it can help in determining fault if a crane were to tip over.
For this project to be successful we had to develop a system that feeds sensor data into a computing unit on the crane that then displays the cranes center of gravity on a screen to be read by the operator. Our sponsor Cranemasters provided us with a model crane as a platform for the system.
Our process for developing this system started with identifying all the variables needed to find the center of gravity for a crane. Once confirmed, we began paring variables with sensors, and decided where best they could be placed on the crane for accuracy without interfering with the cranes functionality. Then by using vector analysis we take the sensor data and turn it into a display that the operator can easily read.
- Friction and Wear Measurements in Automatic Transmission Clutch by Steffen Harm, Dabin Kim, Jean Paulo Mulles, Eric Stavitzski, and Hoang Tran [View Image]
Steffen Harm, Dabin Kim, Jean Paulo Mulles, Eric Stavitzski, and Hoang Tran
In order to create alternate pathways to increase fuel efficiency, flexible ways to alter and test fluid properties are needed when transmission manufacturers change the operating conditions or components used in automatic transmissions. A prototype was fabricated to satisfy this need by reducing the cost, time of conducting tests while producing accurate results, and also increasing the amount of trials that can be conducted in a laboratory setting. The limitations of developing a new prototype are: safety, weight, ease of use, laboratory size, and establishing accurate results within the amount of time given. This project was approached using the Engineering Design Process: define the problem, background research, specify requirements, brainstorm, develop and prototype, test solution, requirements met/unmet, and communicate results. Fabrication has been completed as scheduled. The raw materials were converted to usable parts and assembled. Final adjustments have been made to accommodate the functionality. Remaining major problems include temperature regulation, computerized data measurements, and improving the data accuracy compared to the benchmarked test rigs. The project reduces the cost and time of testing new fluid additives for different companies (e.g., Afton Chemical). This device will help them gain a better understanding of fluid friction. The project will contribute to improving fuel efficiency by 1%.
- KinectVision360: A Real-time Human Tracking System by Robert Ha, Ravideep Marwaha, and Joseph Crouch [View Image]
Robert Ha, Ravideep Marwaha, and Joseph Crouch
KinectVision360 project integrates multiple Microsoft Kinect sensors to investigate the capabilities of the low cost human interactive device to apply them to modern problems in comparison to high cost devices. The project includes human face/skeletal tracking and a larger field of vision. We incorporate three Kinects (1st generation) and a custom computer with components necessary to process large amounts of data in real-time. Figure 1 represents an overview of the processes the program follows in order to execute and visualize the data for tracking. The “FaceTracking” class contains algorithms and logic to retrieve skeletal information from infrared depth sensors in the API. In a two-stage process, body position is understood by calculating a depth-map with structured light and then infers the body position using machine learning. Microsoft trained the system with over a million samples using a random decision forest. We enhance the tracking by rejecting poor construction of skeletons or faces. The class also transfers data between the sensors to allow for communication. We are restricted in how much data we can process due to hardware limitations. We compensate for complexity of code and computer performance which we overcome by limiting ourselves to 3 sensors. Overall, the system can analyze realtime data and visualize the data as it is being recorded with multiple integrated sensors.
- 3D Printed Microwave Hyperthermia Applicator by Umar Hasni, Christopher Deloglos, and Patricia Moseh [View Image]
Umar Hasni, Christopher Deloglos, and Patricia Moseh
According to the CDC, every year approximately two million people are diagnosed with some type of cancer in the United States alone. Common procedures for cancer treatment include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Hyperthermia, an effective collateral treatment, is not included as part of regular cancer care. This is primarily due to its high cost.
Clinical studies for hyperthermia coupled with chemotherapy/radiation therapy have indicated up to a three-fold increase in survival rates of cancer patients. Unfortunately, current microwave hyperthermia systems are bulky, expensive and require special infrastructure in hospitals thus driving up the cost. The objective of this project is to design and test a low-cost, power-efficient and conformal 3D printable microwave mild hyperthermia applicator for regular breast cancer care.
Our approach involves designing a new protocol that combines 3D printing technology and microwave antennas, reducing power required for heat transfer. Antenna designs and their response to human breast tissues were simulated in HFSS. A Matlab model software was created that simulates the heating effect of an array of antennas to predict the theoretical heating affect from the applicator. Utilizing dual print technology, the housing of the applicator was printed with plastics (PLA) while conductive filaments were used for the antennas.
The antennas required a conductive polymer that was extrusion and 3D print capable. Methods such as solution mixing and melt mixing of conductive nanoparticles, and sputtering were explored to accomplish this. The conductive materials were characterized using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and Infrared Spectroscopy (IR). This information was used to determine the best technique to enhance the electrical properties of the material.
The applicator is designed to be conformal, catering to a patient’s body type. This increases efficiency and makes it cost-effective. The protocol designed can/will be used for other cancer types as well.
- Swummary: Self-Documenting Code by Keith Herbert, John Goldhamer, and Dylan Ilvento [View Image]
Keith Herbert, John Goldhamer, and Dylan Ilvento
Using Natural Language Summaries of Program Elements to Improve Code Search
There are countless people that are intimidated by reading computer programs, potentially driving away future engineers. Even current software developers, when moving from project to project, face downtime due to acclimating themselves with a new, poorly commented code base. Our project, which we call Swummary, strives to eliminate these problems by providing succinct natural language summaries of source code.
We were tasked with developing a functioning prototype of a natural language source code summarizer, based on the frameworks SrcML and Software Word Usage Model (SWUM), as well as the methodology outlined by Giriprasad Sridhara and his colleagues at the University of Delaware. These frameworks pass source code that has been parsed for natural language syntactical elements such as verbs, nouns, and objects to our Swummary tool, which uses Sridhara’s methodology to extract the most pertinent lines of code to create an easy-to-read, natural language summary.
The current prototype of our Swummary tool converts a designated piece of source code, written in C/C++, C# or Java, into a natural language summary that is then outputted to the user. We accomplished this by creating a code pipeline where each framework was broken into its own discrete class, building upon the information extracted in the previous step. Swummary still requires added robustness, such as the ability to parse conditional statements, but in its current state, it shows how to bring human-readable programming code to the masses.
- Flow-Differential Pressure Test Rig by Stuart Jennings, David Keegan, Juan Ramonet, and Nicholas Upton [View Image]
Stuart Jennings, David Keegan, Juan Ramonet, and Nicholas Upton
provider of filters for critical applications in various industries, Porvair Filtration Group often needs to validate the pressure drop across a given filter medium at various flow rates and to perform quality assurance prior to delivery. The Flow-Differential Pressure Test Apparatus will allow for a test cycle with significant savings in time and money for Porvair going forward.
The design uses high-purity deionized water as the test fluid and performs continual filtration to ensure consistent properties. Flow rates of 0-100 gallons per minute at pressures up to 100 psi gauge are achieved by controlling a pump with i) a variable-frequency drive, ii) a bypass valve to allow diversion of excessive volumetric flow, and iii) a throttling valve to reduce excessive pressure head. A highly-adaptable test section allows for testing of any of Porvair’s products. Deliverables included a functioning Test Apparatus and accompanying documentation, including design specifications and manual for assembly, operation, and maintenance.
The unit was iteratively designed with ergonomics and practicality in mind. The entire unit is portable and as small as possible for easy placement in Porvair’s facility. Piping was selected based on material characteristics and pressure requirements. The flow meter is situated and adapted for easy replacement if a different measurement range is needed.
- Educational Nuclear Reactor Simulator by Kevin Jeunang, Koueni Tchamambe, Mutasem Albulushi, and Malcolm Breckenridge [View Image]
Kevin Jeunang, Koueni Tchamambe, Mutasem Albulushi, and Malcolm Breckenridge
The VCU Reactor Simulator provides a solid technical and visual approach to simulating a commercial pressurized water nuclear power plant. The simulator provides several benefits for VCU including: a hands on learning instrument that can be used in nuclear engineering courses, an opportunity for students to gain experience in nuclear modeling and simulation, and a community outreach tool to expand the public’s knowledge of nuclear technology.
In the six years since its inception, the only prior major modification to the simulator was the replacement of in-house written LabVIEW coding as the calculation engine with the RETRAN- 3D code, a program designed for the transient thermal-hydraulic analysis of complex fluid flow systems such as nuclear reactors. The 2015-2016 enhancements consisted of major redesigns of both the simulator hardware and the simulator user interface with the goals of improved ergonomics, portability, viewer experience, ease of use, and robustness. The design focus changed from the emulation of an actual plant simulator for operator training to one of enhancing student instruction in nuclear power plant design, behavior, and operation. Replacement of the complex and maintenance intensive LabVIEW coding with a Fortran GUI provides a simpler and more intuitive user interface allowing operation by novice users without the need for instructor supervision.
The Capstone Design course at the College of Engineering of Virginia Commonwealth University is meant to be the climax of every engineering student’s undergraduate education. As a prerequisite to attaining a Bachelor’s degree, the Capstone Design course presents each student with the challenge of working in a team to tackle actual engineering problems within and across the fields of Chemical and Life Science, Mechanical and Nuclear, Biomedical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering and Science. At the end of the two semester course in April, the student teams present their work to the sponsors, faculty, students, invited guests and the general public at the Capstone Design Expo, held at the Virginia Science Center in Richmond.
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