(LENS) Light enhancing nano-device for surgery
Surgeons across multiple subspecialties rely on headlights to assist in visualization of dark spaces such as the oropharynx, thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity. This can be challenging for multiple reasons including obstacles and instruments in the line of sight or multiple operators not focusing on the same target. Furthermore current headlight systems can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear over prolonged periods of time.
The goal of this project is to design and build a prototype for a low profile nano-device to assist surgeons in illuminating difficult body cavities without the need for a headlight. This device must meet certain criteria including, but not limited to portable and rechargeable power source, ease of use, luminescence without risk of injury to tissue and reusability. It must also tolerate high temperatures used in the instrument sterilization process and be versatile enough to either be left free floating in the cavity or have a mechanism to secure it to surrounding structures or other instruments.
(BREATHS) Breathing and resuscitation energy alternative in tragic healthcare scenarios
In the wake of any major natural disaster, the effects of limited resources and power outages can greatly affect the morbidity and mortality of critically ill patients. This is particularly evident when lack of electrical power will render mechanical ventilators useless. Patients in respiratory failure will have no recourse but to have their own family members or overburdened personnel provide ventilation for hours or days on end with an artificial manual breathing unit or AMBU bag.
The goal of this project is to design and build a prototype for an alternative mechanical breathing apparatus for patients to be used during disasters or in austere environments. In essence this device must replace the same work a human must manually perform with an AMBU bag in an intubated critically ill patient. This device must meet certain criteria including, but not limited to: function without electricity for infinite amount of time, portable, and must adapt to existing AMBU bag devices and or endotracheal tubes. Ideally the device will use a renewable type of energy such as conversion from potential to kinetic energy.
Past Biomedical Engineering Capstone Projects
Automated small animal liver perfusion circuit
Liver transplantation can be complicated by ischemia-reperfusion injury as well as hemodynamic instability, both leading to increased patient morbidity and mortality. Studies have suggested that normothermic pre-transplant liver perfusion is associated with more stable intra-operative hemodynamics, reduced vasopressor or blood product requirements and overall better outcomes post-transplant. Current research techniques in this field involve small animal liver perfusion circuits that measure resistance across the organ so that the technician can deliver appropriate medications manually for optimal graft perfusion and survival. There is currently no commercially available perfusion instrument that can automate this process for research purposes or in clinical practice. The creation of such a device would help advance basic science research and potentially be translated into human organ transplantation.
The goal of this project is to design and build a prototype for a small animal liver perfusion pump that can be used for basic science research. It must have these characteristics:
- Pulsatile flow across circuit
- Temperature regulation of fluid within circuit
- Measure resistance across “organ” and have feedback loop to administer a “medication” based on resistance
Engineering Mentor: Mark Ruegsegger
ICU Fluid Device
To create an autonomous and retrofit-able device to measure urine output for Intensive Care Unit patients
In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), patients require 24 hour care by physicians, nurses and hospital staff. Amongst various responsibilities, nursing staff is required to measure and record ICU patients’ output every hour. The task of hourly fluid measurement adds up to a substantial amount of nursing time that could be better utilized towards providing bedside care. The greatest need for patient fluid output measurement is for urine, which for ICU patients is typically collected through a catheter into a foley bag.
A retrofittable device was designed to adapt to current ICU equipment and could be reusable after proper sanitation. The device is secured to a patient’s bed and a foley bag is hung on the device. The urine volume amount is displayed on the screen of the device and this measurement can be uploaded to a computer via WiFi. Urine weight was measured using a strain gauge and microcontroller because of design’s robustness, accuracy and low cost to manufacture. The device utilizes Arduino programming to autonomously capture continuous measurements of urine output and can decipher measurement outliers due to movement of the bed or device. Nursing staff can be alerted when the 5L foley bag is full and emptying the bag is the only manual operation required by staff. Overall, this device can minimize nursing hourly workload, improve urine output measurement precision and improve patient care.
Engineering Mentor: Mark Ruegsegger
Engineering Student Team: Megan Ireland, Usama Khan, Nathan Lambda, Nick Pelz, Taylor Schriver
Automated Hand Hygiene Compliance System
Hospital-acquired infections affect nearly 2 million patients every year in the U.S. and are responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths per year. Across the nation and even in our institution, multiple initiatives have been developed to try to improve hand hygiene compliance as a means to reduce hospital-acquired infections. To date, these initiatives have only provided marginal results and we have not achieved our goal of 95% compliance. Every interaction between a healthcare provider and a patient starts with a hand hygiene opportunity, which in turn is a chance to improve our commitment to safety and quality. Other hospitals rely on multiple methods to ensure hand hygiene compliance, but existing systems are expensive, involve intrusive individual tracking and cannot be retrofitted to existing infrastructure.
The goal of this project is to design and build a prototype for an automated visual alert system for healthcare workers to adhere to hand hygiene protocols as they enter and leave a patient’s room. The system should not use any auditory alerts, since these will lead to alarm fatigue and likely noncompliance. It should also be able to record and store compliance data, but no individual personal information. More importantly the device will be retrofitted to existing hand hygiene stations, and sinks, which will avoid the need to make major alterations to existing infrastructure.