- Measurement of Impact Forces on Teeth and Jaw when Wearing Sports Mouth Guards by Alghamdi Abdullah, Alnaser Mobarak, Quiroz Ingrid, Serrate Ciro Alcoba, and Veizaga Rodrigo [View Image]
Alghamdi Abdullah, Alnaser Mobarak, Quiroz Ingrid, Serrate Ciro Alcoba, and Veizaga Rodrigo
The objective of this project is to accurately measure the forces the teeth and jaw experience when subjected to impact. For this purpose piezoelectric technology (PVDF), which converts voltage to force and vice versa can be used to measure forces applied to teeth. A PVDF cable is calibrated and used for measuring force along with a control measuring device (PCB Piezotronics). The method involves wrapping the PVDF cable around a 3D home-printed, customized denture. The cable was chosen due to the fact that it allows for adequate fit between mouth guard and denture. Two masses, a baseball and 2 lbs - 3D printed projectile, were dropped from a height of 1m onto the denture with and without mouth guard. Results showed a significant force absorption by the mouth guard (more than 50% of initial impact force). After several trials, (n=10 for each group, baseball with and without mouthguard, as well as 2lbs), it was found that the impact shock absorption by the mouth guard ranged between 60-70%. Figure 1 shows the values at which the denture was impacted, with and without a mouth guard for baseball and 2 lbm cylinder. Finally, FEA Analysis was also used to show the regional stress and strain along the denture.
- Transformer Support-Base:Design & Analysis by Tamrat Abebe, Hiba Aldar, and Charles Wold [View Image]
Tamrat Abebe, Hiba Aldar, and Charles Wold
Engineering design is vitally important and is the backbone of any industrial organization. The innovative approach to engineering design requires extensive calculations, estimations, workability and economic considerations to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction. Our project, for the ABB Group, was to design a structural frame-base for their transformers, and develop a set of design-standards to accommodate a range of transformer sizes. A transformer is used to step-up or step-down the voltage as needed to satisfy the electrical power needs of a facility. Industrial size transformers are an extremely heavy, sensitive and precise electrical devices that require a reliable support structure throughout their assembly, transport and usage by the customer. Therefore, a thorough design analysis must be performed to consider the engineering aspects of design, e.g. stress analysis, finite element analysis and commissioning of the design. The structural design analysis is of great importance because it involves human safety as well as asset safety. So for these reasons, we conducted several stress test analyses using SolidWorks CAD software to further refine our design. Since ABB wants to consider fabricating the frame-bases in their workshop, the designs’ simplicity is also important for this project. Several designs and multiple iterations were considered in this project. By including the considerations of function, scalability and economic viability, we have suggested our frame-base design for ABB Transformers to include their desired functions and low-cost materials. We are looking forward to the practical implementation and in-service commissioning of our design.
- Enhanced Dynamometer for Conducting Long-Term Brake Wear Testing by Grant Adams, Andres Alvarez del Piño, Casey Greenstreet, and Matthew Wall [View Image]
Grant Adams, Andres Alvarez del Piño, Casey Greenstreet, and Matthew Wall
The purpose of this project is to develop an automated control system for two constant torque dynamometers Krauss Friction Tester Type RWS60A – Serial no. 080 built in Orangeburg, West Germany recently obtained by FDP Friction Science. This control system will be efficient, effective, safer, and meet the standards of modern day technologies. Currently, the machines are outdated, obsolete, and unable to operate. Therefore, to bring the dynamometers back into full operation and be competitive in today’s industry a new control system that meets industry expectations must be implemented. For this reason, a programmable logic controller from Automationdirect named ClickPLC is being utilized. This industrial computer control system will continuously monitor the state of input for the device while determining the desired outputs based on a ladder logic program written by the control system designers.
To create interference between the operator and the machine a C-more touch panel human machine interference from Automationdirect will be use. The HMI will provide a graphical interface designed to interchange and display graphics, animation and data from the PLC by touching the screen. The HMI will be programed accordingly to replace pushbuttons, switches, meters and any other analog input devices. This will streamline the brake life testing process down to a one-man operation for cost effectiveness.
- FDP – VCU Data Acquisition Device by Ferdinand Agyei-Yeboah, Tommy Huynh, Charles Nimo, and Thomas Oakley [View Image]
Ferdinand Agyei-Yeboah, Tommy Huynh, Charles Nimo, and Thomas Oakley
There is a need to monitor critical information during brake testing to obtain feedback and, ultimately, more insight on the brake performance of a vehicle. Currently, much of the data logging equipment required for testing is very specialized and consequently expensive. Additionally, automotive test vehicles apply older technology that is often not integrated with data analytics for calibrating stopping distance, number of stops, deceleration, and brake squeal. Presently, drivers fill out forms describing issues with brakes.
Our team generated a device for FDP Brakes that monitors brake pad temperature, brake line pressure, and GPS location and speed of a test vehicle. This device is able to write data to an SD card in a tabulated format that can be interpreted by spreadsheet software to generate graphs of temperature, pressure, and speed/acceleration over time. Furthermore, the data can be viewed overlaying a map, implemented with a Google Maps web page applet, to show where events occurred. The device also displays up-to-date information at runtime regarding brake temperature and pressure, along with device status messages for error reporting and brake squeal detection, on a small LCD.
- Ergonomic Immobilization Frame for Radiotherapy by Raheel Ahmed, Travis Alford, Talal Almutairi, and Kaleem Farooq [View Image]
Raheel Ahmed, Travis Alford, Talal Almutairi, and Kaleem Farooq
The primary purpose of this project is to demonstrate that patients can be safely immobilized using air in the general torso area so that radiation can be administered to that region. The primary target will be to treat tumors in the lungs and liver. By immobilizing patients during treatment it allows for the radiation to be consistent in targeting the desired region of the body, which would not be the case if the patient was moving. Air was chosen as the desired medium to immobilize the patient because of comfort and it provides an easy medium for radiation to travel through which does not interfere with the radiation. Through research the limiting factor of human body was the pulmonary cycle which was determined to be approximately 0.15 Psi. In order to use air for immobilization airbags were incorporated as a means to hold the air and once pressurized would be used as the restraint force on the patient. As a means to demonstrate that air in fact could be used to immobilize a patient a prototype of a radiation chamber was built to provide a proof of concept. The radiation chamber frame was built to completely encapsulate the patient 360 degrees. The two airbags were placed in the frame which provides complete immobilization of the patient from all angles. The patient had to be standing while the radiation was being administered in order to target certain areas which could not be included if the patient was sitting or lying down. A circular frame was the desired shape of the frame because it allows for radiation to enter and exit the chamber at the same angle regardless of where it is administered. The radiation chamber requires the use of radiation safe materials in any given area where the frame comes into contact with radiation, for this reason non-metallic materials were used. The chamber prototype was built using wood and plexiglass. Finite element analysis simulated an allowable applied pressure of 6.0 Psi applied to the shell. Prior to the given prototype, there was no means available to immobilize a patient while standing for radiotherapy. Experimental tests demonstrated that a person could be immobilized in the general torso area using air.
- Thermal Insulation Coating for Pipe Applications by Ismail AlAithan, Alhawraa Husain, Wejdan Reda, and Katiana Slaton [View Image]
Ismail AlAithan, Alhawraa Husain, Wejdan Reda, and Katiana Slaton
NNSB tasked the Capstone team with testing the anti-condensation abilities of the Thermal Insulation Coating (TIC) Aerolon®, an aerogel-based insulation manufactured by Tnemec, using Federal test specifications for Coating Compound, Paint Antisweat. The main goal was to observe the anti-condensation abilities of the insulation and to initiate an analysis and comparison of the spray-applied aerogel insulation versus the hand-applied thick foam insulation that is currently used on ship pipes and ventilation. The plan includes creating a computer simulation of the thermal properties of the insulated cylinders as well as a physical experimental setup.
The Capstone team built an acrylic test chamber, and NNSB provided three copper cylinders that were coated in 3 different thicknesses of Aerolon®. The federal specification called for these 3 cylinders to be filled with ice cubes and water and maintained between 32°F and 38°F for the duration of a 3-8 hour test period. The specification also calls for the interior of the acrylic chamber to maintain at a relative humidity of 67% ± 2. Due to the difficulty maintaining the humidity of the chamber without expensive equipment, the humidity was not controlled, but the dew point was calculated. The physical testing right away showed that, even in a cool chamber with a relatively low humidity, the 50mils thick insulation layer allowed for condensation, without any drip. The 100mils and 150 mils thick insulation layers did not allow any condensation for the temperature and humidity tested. It is anticipated that with increased chamber temperature and humidity, all three insulated cylinders will show condensation and possible water runoff.
In addition to physical testing, a computer simulation of the insulated cylinders was created. The simulation allows for observation of the heat distribution inside the different thicknesses of the coating, which could assist in an initial estimate of the thickness of insulation needed for different applications.
Despite timeline differences that set the project back further than expected and financial limitations that prevented the level of control desired in physical testing, Tim Sherrange has proposed to NNSB that the project be continued. The further testing done during this extension could better define the condensation levels and water runoff that each thickness of insulation would allow. At this time the proposal has not been confirmed.
- 3D Printed Ear Canal Model by Ahmad Ali, Rosheena Hairston, and Hunter Locks [View Image]
Ahmad Ali, Rosheena Hairston, and Hunter Locks
A multi-material ear canal model was designed and created from CT scans of an actual patient. This ear canal model serves as a training model for trainees, surgeons and doctors to develop a better understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the ear by physically looking, touching and testing the model. The major task taken was to establish and identify the area of interest provided with the files of medical scans by using 3D Slicer. The files were then converted to a stereolithographic (STL) file where it was able to be edited for smoothing in programs such as Meshmixer or MeshLab in order to 3D print a high quality model that could be used effectively. An operate model was obtained that satisfied the given need for ideal surgical training purposes; where the design is composed of a two piece multi-material model – the outer ear is flexible and the inner ear canal is rigid. A replicated membrane is attached to the end of the inner ear canal to represent the tympanic membrane. Lastly, the entire model is mounted on a magnetic stand that has a 360° rotation for trainees or doctors to adjust for ideal positioning.
This project was very informative; while being educated on the current health needs, we were also able to serve the local physicians by producing the requested devices. The ear canal model is ready to use and can be used for a pre-surgery mechanism to allow for resourceful practice. Trainees in particular who are just beginning to learn can take advantages of using this model. Common type of surgery performed includes Otitis Media with effusion (OME), which is the accumulation of fluid buildup, often in the middle of the ear, with no sign or other symptoms of an ear infection. Roughly about two million cases of otitis media with effusion occur annually in the United States
- Automated DIN Rail Cut and Punch Machine by Youssif Alkheder, Gaston Charreun, Derrian Flemings, and Jonathan Liss [View Image]
Youssif Alkheder, Gaston Charreun, Derrian Flemings, and Jonathan Liss
Our project’s main goal is to optimize the process of punching and cutting DIN rail in a manufacturing setting. The current method for cutting and punching DIN rails is tedious and simply too time consuming. An operator is needed to manually load the DIN rail into the cutter, measure the required length and activate the cutter. While this simple process may not take too long at first glance, companies, like Weidmuller, must be able to produce large-quantity orders to successfully meet the demands of their customers. By turning to automation, we are effectively reducing the amount of time it takes to produce an order for custom DIN rails. Our machine features a belt-driven actuator placed inline with a cutter and puncher system driven by a pneumatic compressor and operated by a HMI interface. This allows the operator to input the desired length of rail, type of punch (transverse or longitudinal), and distance between punches. Once the DIN rail is placed manually into the actuator and locked into place, the machine will activate and go through the programmed routine. This eliminates the need for measuring each cut and punch of the rail, effectively reducing the time it takes to complete each order as well as reducing human error.
- Rolatube Deployment System by Zachary Allin, Zachary Ratliff, Nathaniel Trepatschko, and Jeffrey Wilson [View Image]
Zachary Allin, Zachary Ratliff, Nathaniel Trepatschko, and Jeffrey Wilson
The team has been tasked with designing a compact mechanism capable of deploying and retracting the Rolatube horizontally and vertically at a controlled rate in confined spaces (i.e. tank housing structures). Because workers are confined to tight quarters, a mechanism to aid in common activities is at times required. The mechanism will allow for tool deployment with attachments for easily sending tools and utilizing cameras. It will also be used to assist workers in stringing lights, keeping wires organized, and delivering hoses and tubes. This design will allow workers at Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) to save time and energy while working in the tight confines of modern naval vessels. Several constraints pertaining to the deployment methods must also be considered. The method in which the extension mechanism operates shall not interfere with mounting. The product shall mount to stainless steel surfaces. This mechanism shall withstand a wide range of conditions, including high temperatures, humidity, corrosive substances, and dirt/grime. In order to fulfill multiple roles, the design should allow for the tube to remain attached after deployment or allow it to be separated from the mechanism.
- Real-Time Measurement of Lung Motion for CT Guided Lung Biopsies by A. Al Saqer, A. Cerniuk, W. Houk, and D. Patel [View Image]
A. Al Saqer, A. Cerniuk, W. Houk, and D. Patel
The objective of this project is to develop a device that allows a physician to view and measure real time lung motion of a patient inside a CT scanner during lung biopsy. This will increase time efficiency and accuracy of lung tumor treatment CT procedures, as this device will enable the collection of clear and meaningful scans. With this application, size and simplicity are of the utmost importance, as the device must be as practical as possible. Given these constraints the design involves a low profile, low volume sensor to measure data while physically attached to the patient’s bed, and a computer base station graphical user interface which receives the data wirelessly. The interface of this base station, as viewed by the physician, displays a live graph of the lung displacement - accurate within 0.18 ms and 2 mm. This device will not only allow doctors to biopsy lung lesions more efficiently, but will also reduce radiation exposure to the patient by avoiding repeated scans. The device will work in tandem with the CT scan; the device triggering the scan to be taken when the patient’s lungs are held in the desired position. This procedure will help to minimize healthy tissue damage and to streamline the treatment process by reducing the amount of X-ray scans needed, thus positively impacting patient recovery time and overall process effectiveness.
- Collaborative Collective Algorithms to Coordinate UGVs by Kyle Archuleta, Christopher Lucas, Brian Richardson, and Michael Stewart [View Image]
Kyle Archuleta, Christopher Lucas, Brian Richardson, and Michael Stewart
Sentel/Brilliant Innovations has developed autonomous UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) capable of generating a map of an unknown location through exploration using local software and the power of Google Tango technology. This project was tasked with developing an efficient and capable map-stitching solution allowing multiple UGVs to coordinate their movements and share information in order to greatly improve the speed at which these drones can be used to generate maps. The solution utilizes the processing power of a Raspberry Pi to pull maps from a Redis server and stitch them together. Once stitched, the maps are redistributed via the Redis server back through the network, providing every UGV the opportunity to obtain the global map. All of this stitching is performed on a single UGV, freeing the other drones to focus on generating and uploading their own unique maps to the server. The drones can use this new information to better inform their next move to prevent multiple drones from generating a map of the same location. In the future, Sentel/Brilliant Innovations hopes to take this technology and attach more advanced sensors to the drones, allowing them to add greater detail of the environment to the map rather than simply drawing boundaries. These drones have many potential applications, such as search and rescue, seeking out potential hazards, and intelligence for military and civil use.
- Anthem Sustainability Project by James Askegren, David Coleman, and Luis Morgan [View Image]
James Askegren, David Coleman, and Luis Morgan
Data centers are multiplying in number and size as electronic business, communication, collaboration, and recreation continue to increase in popularity. A large amount of electrical power consumed by data center computing equipment is converted to heat, requiring dedicated cooling systems 24 hours a day. Some data center operators have begun taking advantage of this heat instead of expelling it to the atmosphere. This approach not only reduces the electricity costs of these facilities but also minimizes the environmental impact they generate. Anthem has a 2.5 MW data center for which they would like to develop an air-to-air thermal recycle method. Through research of data center cooling and existing thermal recycling methods, an applicable solution has been identified. Air Dumping consists of directly injecting warm server exhaust air into a conditioned space as supplementary heating input during winter months using a fan-powered box (FPB) located within the ceiling of the data center. In order to retain data center pressurization and mass flow of cooling air, replacement (make-up) air must be supplied to the ceiling plenum at a rate equal to the extraction. By replacing warm 90°F server exhaust with cool 60°F make-up air, computer room air handling (CRAH) unit cooling loads will decrease, resulting in additional savings. During the warm months of the year, the team evaluated other potential uses of waste heat, such as thermoelectric power generation.
- Explosion Damping Device (Blast Shield) by Cullen Bade, Juwan Cephas, and Raymond Long [View Image]
Cullen Bade, Juwan Cephas, and Raymond Long
The proposed device has the main goal to protect a vehicle and personal inside the vehicle in the event of an explosion from underneath of a Humvee most likely caused by an IED explosion. The constraints were that the vehicle could not be lifted too far off the ground to increase the chance the vehicle rollover; the design should not block accessibility to the passengers; be versatile in order to help fit different model vehicles; and most important be able to help in deflecting the blast away from the vehicle. The final design consisted on a V-shaped blast shield similar to what has already been developed for the larger Mine Resistant Armored Protected vehicles, but with an adjustable width feature. There are three main components the first being an I-Beam located in the center which will hold two plates together. These plates deflect the majority of the blast from below, outwards, and are set at an angle of 22o off the x-axis. Our calculations showed that this angle was theoretically able to reduce the force in the y-direction (direction in which the vehicle is located) by about 37.4%. The third component is a pair of two railings that will be able to slide into the metal shield and assist when the device is being installed on to the Humvee.
- IEC Fusor Mobile Shielding Unit by Dominic Balducci, John Lawson, Bryce McDaniels, Robert Rodi, and William Simmons [View Image]
Dominic Balducci, John Lawson, Bryce McDaniels, Robert Rodi, and William Simmons
The VCU Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) Fusor Senior Design Project provides Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with a mobile fusor complete with the necessary shielding to protect operators as well as the general public from potentially hazardous radiation. The VCU IEC fusor is a Farnsworth-Hirsch type reactor, and consists of five basic components; a high voltage power supply, vacuum system, gas regulation system, primary reactor vessel assembly, and radiation shielding. These components were serviced and reassembled on a customized mobile cart. In addition to these components, a specimen holder and viewing monitor were added to the design. The specimen holder provides a practical method for neutron activation experiments, while the viewing monitor allows for safer visualization and operation of the fusor.
An engineered cart provides the operator easy transportation of the shielding, fusor, and necessary components. The shielding consists of layers of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Borated Polyethylene (BPE), and lead to minimize radiation dose exposure to limits acceptable by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A camera inside the shielding is connected to a display monitor in order to provide a visual depiction of the deuterium ionization and fusion process. This allows operators and audiences to view the internal workings of the fusor from a safe distance. Lastly, an operator’s manual has been drafted to assist future operators with running the fusor. With these additions to the existing design, the fusor assembly serves as a vital asset for researchers, as well as an educational tool for students and teachers.
- Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircraft by Sophie Baldwin, Michael Pennie, Alex Roberts, and Dov Szego [View Image]
Sophie Baldwin, Michael Pennie, Alex Roberts, and Dov Szego
The primary purpose of this project is to combine the benefits of both multi-copters and fixed-wing crafts, reducing the drawbacks of both. The explosion of small unmanned aerial systems (“UASs”), also called unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”) in recent years is the result of their versatility and practicality. It is invaluable for obvious reasons to be able to send a small, comparatively inexpensive, remotely controlled vehicle with a camera or a payload into places where either people cannot or would prefer not to go. Quadcopters have the advantage of being able to take off and land without significant runway space, but require huge amounts of electrical power and have short battery lifespans. Small fixed-wing craft, however, have the advantage of needing comparatively little power and being able to stay in the air for comparatively long spans, but require significant, clear, flat spaces to takeoff and land. The Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircraft project will incorporate the VCU UAV lab’s existing unmanned, autonomous aerial vehicle software, as well as a high resolution video camera as a surveillance payload.
- Capital One Mobile Directory by Nicholas Bellucci, Ricky Lee, and Austin McCracken [View Image]
Nicholas Bellucci, Ricky Lee, and Austin McCracken
One issue that large companies struggle with is the ability for employees to find contact information and communicate with other employees. Capital One has had a mobile directory iOS application in the past, but their information was static and difficult to change, and the interface left much to be desired. Instead of refactoring the app, Capital One requested us to scrap the previous application entirely, and start from scratch, keeping just the basic principle of it being a mobile directory app. The purpose of the new application is to be able to easily access information and communicate with other members of the Capital One Development team, but provide a more dynamic interface. The iOS app would provide a user-friendly UI with intuitive functionality for a simple and meaningful user experience. A user would be able to view all employees and teams currently on the Capital One Development Team, including their own profile which they are able to edit from within the app. By searching a specific employee, the user would be able to view their profile containing the skills, teams, and contact information for that employee. The user would also be able to contact the employee directly within the app via call, text, or email. We developed the Capital One Mobile Directory application using Swift 3 and Xcode. Our team put a large emphasis on a clean UI and great user experience since that was an issue the previous app had. Our mobile app has gone through many iterations of development over the past 6 months including a complete overhaul of our UI, and adding several features in order to enhance our user experience. The data for our application will be pulled in from a non-relational realtime database. Included in the project is a Python script that was developed to read a CSV file from Capital One, which provides information on all employees and teams within the development department. With this script, Capital One can update the application’s database very easily with files of new employees, and can remove old employees. We will then use that information to populate the fields on each employee and team within the iOS app. The application will be distributed amongst Capital One employees through the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.
- Rapid Detection of Nicotine in E-Liquids by Niraja Bohidar, Ryan Joiner, and Benjamin Kirby [View Image]
Niraja Bohidar, Ryan Joiner, and Benjamin Kirby
Electronic cigarettes have gained popularity in recent years. Electronic cigarettes operate by vaporizing flavored solutions, called e-liquids, for inhalation by the user. No method is currently available for analysis of e-liquids in the field, making regulation of electronic cigarettes difficult and inefficient. Some regulatory issues related to e-liquids include mislabeling of e-liquids by providers to avoid taxes on nicotine, the sale of nicotine-containing e-liquids to minors, and the mixing of drugs of abuse into e-liquids. Regulatory and law enforcement agencies have a need for an accurate field test capable of analyzing e-liquids for nicotine. Proposed are two devices for the rapid detection of nicotine in e-liquids in a safe and straightforward manner.
The first device is a cheap, disposable test strip which detects the pH shift caused when nicotine is present in an e-liquid. The strip uses the reagent bromocresol purple, which changes color from yellow to purple over the pH shift caused by nicotine. This approach is an indirect test for nicotine and has the possibility of false-positive results.
The second device is a portable ultraviolet-visible light spectrophotometer programmed to detect the presence of nicotine in small samples of e-liquids. The device is designed and programmed for simple operation and straightforward results that do not require advanced training or interpretation. The device detects nicotine in e-liquids by analyzing an absorbance spectra for the wavelengths specific to nicotine. The device is also able to be reprogrammed for detection of other drugs of abuse in e-liquids.
- Improved Mixing System for Aquatic Mesocosm Facility by Kyle Boyce, Ben Chalfant, and Ron Fitch [View Image]
Kyle Boyce, Ben Chalfant, and Ron Fitch
The VCU Environmental Science Department had in its possession 24 500 gal tanks they had implemented to study the plankton and bacteria activity of the James River. Water was pumped up from the James River a quarter mile to the tanks and studied over week long periods to analyze the growth and survival of plankton and bacteria as it exists in the river. Over time it was found that the bacteria in the mesocosms would growth at an increased rate as sediments and inorganic matter fell out of suspensions. For this reason, it was necessary to develop an agitator that could allow the tank to imitate the turbidity of the river. Said agitator would have to be non-invasive as it couldn’t affect the pumping system beneath the tanks. There could also be no addition to the wall of the tanks or exposed metal inside the tank at all, as it would negatively affect the water conditions. The final design of the agitator was a pitch blade impellor suspended into the tank from above and powered by a 1hp electric motor. The impellor was fixed to a steel frame extending over the tank and fixed to a wooden post next to the tank. Initial testing of the impellor showed an increased turbidity at the onset, but, overtime, inorganic matter fell out of suspension to the same degree as a non-agitated tank. This was found to be due to a lack of torque from the impellor, and a gear reducer has since been added to remedy this. Currently, continued testing has shown a consistent maintaining of sediments in suspension in the stirred tank.
- Active/Active Cloud Infrastructure by Charles Bradshaw, Edwin Lobo, and Curtis Jackson [View Image]
Charles Bradshaw, Edwin Lobo, and Curtis Jackson
Determining a stable implementation of an Active/Active system has been a topic of great interest to those maintaining multi-datacenter cloud-based services. This type of infrastructure is highly valued because it allows for services and applications to remain continuously available, even during planned and unplanned downtimes. Before implementing an Active/Active system, one must first determine the most effective ways to satisfy its two key constraints: maintaining fast and reliable cross-datacenter replication, as well as determining efficient disaster recovery options. Based upon these two constraints, we had determined that the problem could be addressed at the database level using the NoSQL database Cassandra. In contrast to traditional SQL databases, Cassandra served as a much more intuitive cloud-based data store due to its cluster based architecture. Among its many benefits, Cassandra provides out-of-the-box functionality which directly addresses the two main problems in implementing an Active/Active system. Through a combination of its gossip protocol and snitch communications, it is able to achieve both resilient cross-region replication as well as seamless failover in disaster situations, with automatic load balancing.
- Radiotherapy Ergonomic Patient Positioning System by Anthony Briscoe II, Joseph Oliva, Yvette Smith, and Darius Stuvaints [View Image]
Anthony Briscoe II, Joseph Oliva, Yvette Smith, and Darius Stuvaints
External beam radiotherapy is a powerful tool to combat cancer, but requires precise positioning of patients. The standard practice involves patients lying on treatment tables within immobilization equipment. These systems have limited clearance between treatment sources and the patient that can be uncomfortable or claustrophobic for patients. Patients may move when uncomfortable, leading to improper dose delivery, possibly causing painful side effects or further cancers. We present an alternative, open configuration patient positioning solution for more ergonomic setup options with competitive positioning capabilities compared to conventional systems.
Our ergonomic positioning system consists of a seat for patients on a scissor lift for vertical positioning, a gantry system for horizontal positioning, all assembled onto a rotating base for treatment of tumors from any angle. Motion up to ±25 cm in 3D was achieved by controlling stepper motors with a Raspberry Pi computer. Computer-aided design was performed to complete finite element analysis on all load-bearing structures to ensure a maximum load of 200 lbs.
The design developed allows new treatment configurations with static radiation sources while the positioning system moves at a distance, which allows greater flexibility in patient positioning. Replacing conventional treatment tables enables patients to be seated during treatment, which could improve patient comfort for more comfortable immobilization and more effective radiotherapy.
- Applied Industrial Augmented Reality by Eric Brown, Riley Hanson, and Casey White [View Image]
Eric Brown, Riley Hanson, and Casey White
The goal of our project was to create an application that demonstrates the usefulness of augmented reality within an industrial context. In order to align our project goals with those of our sponsor, Newport News Shipbuilding, we created an augmented reality application to supplement a chainsaw’s instruction manual. Using an instruction manual for a Stihl MS361 chainsaw, we adapted the material into a digital context. In the application, we included step-by-step instructions for starting the chainsaw and changing the chain. In addition, we included an augmented part identification mode, where the user can identify parts of the chainsaw by touching them on the screen. Through the use of a mobile device’s camera and fiducial markers, the user is able to see the functionality of the instruction manual superimposed directly over the chainsaw.
We created the application using Unity, a cross-platform game engine. We used a set of Unity plugins from Vuforia, an Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (SDK) for mobile devices. Vuforia provided us the tools for image target identification and tracking, allowing us to easily show augmented content on a digital device. Our application aims to maximize safe and proper chainsaw use, demonstrates the potential of augmented reality for future industrial applications and exemplifies a paperless and eco-friendly guide.
- Automatic Dispensing Pill Caddy for the Elderly by Timothy H. Bruce, William Friend, Damien Nobles, Andrew Stasi, Courtney Bailey, and Damoneke Harper [View Image]
Timothy H. Bruce, William Friend, Damien Nobles, Andrew Stasi, Courtney Bailey, and Damoneke Harper
The report, Aging in the United States, finds that baby boomers who are at retirement age are in worse health compared with previous generations. More of them are living with chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease; all which require medication. The report also anticipates the number of people with dementia could nearly triple in the coming decades, resulting in senior adults requiring more assistance with daily activities.
Our product intends to enhance the quality of life of the older adult population by providing a pill dispenser that creates convenience with alerts and notifications. This makes the dosage easily accessible to those with cognitive and other impairments, and helps these adults to live a healthier lifestyle all the while minimizing the stress involved and time needed to take their medication. The demographics for our customer base include those who are ages 65+ who have difficulty with memory, individuals who live with multiple diseases/chronic conditions, and elderly individuals who live independently and require regular assistance. We will reach our most relevant market by selling our product individually and also by providing access to hospitals, insurance companies, and care providers.
Our product will add value to our end user’s life, is easily accessible for the elderly customers and can easily be changed with evolving technology.
- Unattended Underground Energy Harvesting Sensor by Jeffrey Buck, Tzshay Wade, Jaeton Foxley, and Brandon Ruffin [View Image]
Jeffrey Buck, Tzshay Wade, Jaeton Foxley, and Brandon Ruffin
The team designed an underground energy harvesting sensor that utilizes the ambient energy from its surroundings to provide low power telecommunications to a remote host. The scope of this project is to analyze the feasibility of such system and explore the capabilities of available energy harvesting techniques that utilize the environment, feasibility of operation, and creating a design. Some of the most common methods that have been proven to function on certain environments are thermoelectric and solar energy. Thermoelectricity uses a temperature gradient and solar uses the energy of the sun. To provide a remote vibration signal an accelerometer was suggested. Based on the requirements the Monnit wireless accelerometer was selected. The wireless accelerometer is a (1.775x1.040x0.785”) high frequency device that collects readings of motion vibrations from nearby objects from underground requiring at max 0.126W of power at 3.6V that is countered by 2-4 (1.580x1.760x0.139”) RC12-8-01LS thermoelectric coolers. These coolers utilize the temperature difference between the underground earth and the surface to generate 0.156W of power at 0.5V to continuously recharge a lithium ion battery. The accelerometer takes the readings and sends them to the Gateway aboveground. The (5.004x3.800x1.510”) Monnit 3G International gateway takes the readings from the sensor and sends it to the host through cellular data using 13.75W of power at 5.5V countered by one 6W (13.100x14.000x0.500”) solar panal to continuously recharge the lithium ion battery. A max 36W 12V (5.710x3.350x1.100”) lithium ion battery is used because it surpasses all competitors in rechargeability, lifetime, and strength. Upon completion the concept of energy generation for low power telecommunications is feasible.
- Mapcom Self-Service Portal by Kelsey Bullock, Viet Nguyen, and Alvenia Weathers [View Image]
Kelsey Bullock, Viet Nguyen, and Alvenia Weathers
Mapcom Systems is a software development firm that primarily serves small, rural telecommunications companies. The company is widely recognized for developing M4 Solutions, a visual operations platform that allows service providers to manage their workforce. Our team was tasked with the design and implementation of a self-service portal to be used by the customers of these telecommunications companies. The application would allow customers to easily manage their accounts, including creating and managing trouble tickets, communicating with their assigned technician, and viewing their scheduled appointments. Additionally, it would be offered across three different platforms: Web, Android, and iOS. In order to ensure ease of integration with Mapcom’s current systems, we were instructed to use Microsoft technologies, including writing the web application in C# on the .Net framework, using Xamarin (an extension of Visual Studio) to build the mobile applications, and using Microsoft SQL Server for all database management. In addition to meeting these requirements, our team decided to build an application dynamic enough to suit the individual needs of each of Mapcom’s client companies by implementing a Service Oriented Architectural Design demonstrating modularity, reusability, and scalability. With the implementation of our framework, Mapcom will be able to easily and efficiently customize installations of the application for each of their clients, as well as dynamically add new features. Furthermore, with the implementation of an administrator user interface, super-users of the client companies can customize their installation themselves. This allows Mapcom to deliver personalized solutions to each of their clients.
- Low Cost, Adhesion Strength Based Cell Sorter by Emily Burtch, Franck Kamga-Gninzeko, Devin Mair, and Sarah Saunders [View Image]
Emily Burtch, Franck Kamga-Gninzeko, Devin Mair, and Sarah Saunders
In many in vitro experiments, primary cells are harvested from an animal species to undergo experimental manipulation and subsequent analysis. Cell sorters are a luxury to have after cell harvesting to ensure pure populations of cells. Recently, it was discovered that different cell types adhere to cell culture dishes at different strengths. This observation was utilized in the invention of a cell sorting system that sorts cells based on this adhesion strength difference. The resulting system is marketable at under $2000, compared to $50000 plus for current commercially available systems, and is the first commercially-oriented cell adhesion strength based cell sorter. The system allows for use of tissue culture flasks, a tool that any researcher using cells will be very familiar with, that have been customized with a removable bottom. After cells are adhered, the bottom is removed and placed into the cell sorting system and sealed with a removable sealing putty. Flow is imparted to the cells, generating a shear force over the surface of the cells, lifting the cells and depositing them into a centrifuge tube. Prior experiments have shown this system to have a cell purity and cell viability greater than currently available solutions without the use of expensive antibodies and using equipment available at a fraction of the cost.
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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