Projects Proposed 2003 - Fall

(See also archive materials for 2002 and 2001, some of these projects remain...)  Projects marked with a strikethrough have been taken.  If you are interested in them, you may wish to see if the current team needs a new member...

contact information/project description
1.  Dr. Bill Walsh,  (also Dan Lindstrom)  (Neonatology)
1.  Program a face recognition computer to recognize syndromes with abnormal faces (using commercially available software.)
2. We have new ventilators which  keep track of each breath the infant takes I would like to report to other neonatologists the number of times an hour a baby fights against the ventilator by downloading data from the ventilator. The project would be to download and analyze data from a neonatal ventilator.
3. ... also there was a student last year looking at organizing all the wires and cords but that project was not completed to my knowledge.
4.  I have a design in mind for new new type of medical instrument to facilitate chest tube insertion the project would be to create and test and compare the new instrument versus the existing instrument in an animal model. We have the animal available for chest tube insertion already and use the model to teach house staff, it would be easy to get an addendum to test the new device. Might be too simple for your students.
5.  The "Holy Grail" project would still be to determine the resting lung volume of a neonate non-invasively. Figuring out the residual volume in a container in vitro would be the first step.
2.  Mark Richter, MSME, Research Engineer, Beneficial Designs,  3301 Cobble Street, Nashville TN 37209, 837.6902 x2,
1) Wheelchair Propulsion Simulator (WPS): There is a high incidence of upper extremity overuse injuries among the manual wheelchair user population. Researchers have found the magnitude and rate of loading on the upper extremity during propulsion to be associated with incidence of injury. There are several variables which can be studied in an effort to reduce demands on the upper extremity during propulsion. Current research in this field is limited to studies involving human subject testing. While the ultimate goal is to improve the human/machine interface, the variability found in human subject testing can make discerning small outcomes difficult if not impossible. Use of a repeatable Wheelchair Propulsion Simulator (WPS) would allow researchers to study the effects of small design changes on the wheelchair users. Results from the WPS will be validated using a human subject study. Beneficial Designs (Nashville) is equipped with a wheelchair propulsion biomechanics laboratory, machine tools, CAD facilities, data acquisition equipment, and a variety of sensors. Students will have access to the Beneficial Designs resources.

2) Grip Exertion Measurement System (GEMS): There is a high incidence of upper extremity overuse injuries among the manual wheelchair user population. The most prominent injury sites are the shoulder and wrist. Wrist pathology is most often Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Development of CTS is likely related to the repetitive gripping of the wheelchair handrim during propulsion. Limitations in instrumentation have prevented the accurate measurement of grip forces during wheelchair propulsion. Current approximations of grip during propulsion are made using electromyographic measurements of the forearm muscles (which include the finger flexor muscles). Quantifying grip force or pressure distribution during propulsion will enable researchers to better understand how hard and in what patterns wheelchair users grip the handrim. This research could lead to identifying patterns of grip which prevent or prolong the development of injuries. Results from the GEMS will be validated using a human subject study. Beneficial Designs (Nashville) is equipped with a wheelchair propulsion biomechanics laboratory, machine tools, CAD facilities, data acquisition equipment, and a variety of sensors. Students will have access to the Beneficial Designs resources.

3. Thomas J. Limbird M.D.,Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery,   thomas.j.limbird@Vanderbilt.Edu 

Fractures that occur just above total knee prostheses (para-prosthetic fractures) are particularly difficult to treat due to the relatively little bone one has to work with.  One of the current methods is to run an intramedullary nail up through the knee prosthesis and fix the nail to the femur with screws.  It would be nice if we could somehow attach the prosthesis to the nail  as well and create a much more rigid construct that would maintain the desired alignment.  I would like to design an adaptor that would connect the nail and the prosthesis.  I’ve got a knee, I can get a nail, and then I need someone with ideas.  If you think this would be suitable for your students, let me know; otherwise I will look to the nail manufacturers for advice.

4. Dr. Tom Cleveland, Otolaryngology,

1. At the conclusion of every voice box exam with a rigid telescope, we have to clean the scope. This process includes leaving the scope in Cidex for 20 minutes which requires the tending of the cidex containers as the cidex can damage the scope seals if left in the solution too long. Is it possible that an engineer might create a device that would deliver cidex to a container upon command, leave the cidex in the container for the required 20 minutes, and then empty to cidex into a storage container for subsequent use. That way, the integrity of the scope seals would not be jeopardized by remaining in the fluid too long.
2. The next is to build a foot switch that will activate the record function on a new DVD recorder.
3. The third, is to find the location of the fundamental frequency in a stroboscope and building a display of the fundamental on the video screen.  (projects may need to be combined)

5. Rich Fries, Datex-Ohmeda Corp.,
  1.      Multi-IV fluid feed system: Design a low cost fluid feed system that delivers multiple fluids through a single tubular outlet without solute and retrograde bacteria cross-contamination. 

  2.  Device to aid communication between intubated patients and care providers: Intubated patients cannot talk and is often restraint to prevent self-extubation.  Design a communication system that will help with the communication process.  Address the issue of portability, availability, user interface and flexible configuration to meet the needs in various situations and care areas.

  3.  Automatic Metered Dose Inhalant (MDI) delivery device: Metered dose inhalants are used to deliver inhaled medication to patients both at home and in critical care setting.  In the hospital, it is desirable to have an electromechanical means to deliver the drug, e.g. patients that are mechanically ventilated and sedated.  Prior to the delivery, the medication in the MDI reservoir has to be well shaken.  It is, therefore, desirable to have an electromechanical device that will ensure that the medication is homogenized with the propellant and delivered automatically as prescribed electronically. 

6. Stephen Bruehl, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, 504 Oxford House, 936-1821, stephen.bruehl@Vanderbilt.Edu
My research is in the area of pain.  As part of this research, we use a standardized acute pain stimulus to compare responses under placebo and under blockade of various receptors.  What I need is a copy of, or an improvement on, a finger pressure stimulator we have used before.  It is basically a small open-topped metal box with adjustments in 3 axes (i.e., vertically and horizontally) to keep the subject's index finger centered and at the proper height under a fulcrum which applies pressure to the upper surface of the index finger using a rounded Lucite tip that will not break the skin.  We have used approximately 4-5 pounds of pressure in the past, but ideally the weight would be adjustable as would the height of the table it is mounted to.  Also ideally, we  would have a pressure transducer that would allow us to accurately judge the amount of weight being applied to the finger.  I have a version of this that I am not totally satisfied with because the weight is not adjustable, there is no functioning pressure transducer, and it looks haphazard (I had to modify it on my own with Home Depot materials because the original engineering company made it incorrectly).  This version could at least be used as a basis for the student to get an idea of what I would like.  Please contact me by e-mail or by phone if you are interested.
7.  Chuck Matthews, M.S. Ph.D., Center for Health Services Research, , .936.2145
See section 8 (below) and 23...
8.  Robert V. Allen, MicroNova Technology,

Per our discussion, I am pleased to forward what MNT perceives as its current intellectual property for each of the design projects previously submitted. In each case, we would like to have Vanderbilt acknowledge that the current intellectual property listed below belongs to MNT and any improvements generated through the projects would be shared equally between Vanderbilt and MNT.

Also, as in the past, we need the following from each student working on our projects.
Complete name (with middle initial), address, telephone, and email.
Completion of MNT’s mutual non-disclosure agreement.
Verification that each student is a US citizen.
Each student completing a MNT survey will receive nominal compensation (typically $100) at the conclusion of the project.
Students working on these projects will have an advantage to pursue summer MNT internships, which pay $4,000 to $5,000 for 12 weeks of 30 hours per week of effort, with MNT.  

Project 1 – Development of a Leadless Surface Mount Micro-Sized Load Cell

This project is among the very highest of future revenues and proprietary rights for MNT and at least for the next few months cannot be a part of the design projects due to disclosure restrictions. MNT owns the Micro-LID™ Leadless Surface Mount packaging technology (dry-pressed ceramic and metallization techniques) as purchased from Alberox / Frenchtown Ceramics on August 18, 1993. MNT owns the load cell application concepts of this device and is currently in the process of completing a provisional patent. This provisional patent is expected to be filed by our patent and IP attorneys, Myers Bigel Sibley Sajovec (MBSS,) shortly after a scheduled meeting on October 10, 2003 in Nashville. Once this provisional patent is filed, the project may move forward in all haste with MNT owning the patent rights and application concepts and any improvements to assembly processes and test data generated owned equally and mutually publishable by Vanderbilt and MNT.

Project 2 – Design and Development of a Lightweight and Portable “Walker – Lifter”

To the best of our knowledge, no students have selected this project. All rights to intellectual property for this project (including patents) may be shared equally between Vanderbilt and Robert V. Allen / Judith A. Allen. The primary objective of this project is to develop a potentially patentable and reasonable cost orthopedic walker for commercial applications.

Project 3 – Design of an ASIC from a Forced Electrical Stimulator Micro-Flex Design

MNT owns the original schematic design. All development and improvements of the “ASIC-able” part of this schematic may be shared equally between Vanderbilt and MNT. The full schematic design of the working Micro-Flex assembly is immediately available and it is anticipated that partitioning to isolate the portion of the schematic that will comprise the ASIC device through design, fabrication, and test will follow a natural flow consistent with classroom instruction and project milestones, with performance results to represent a “best efforts” basis as close as practical to the original performance of the Micro-Flex assembly. MNT’s primary objective of this project is to learn how to specify ASIC biomedical implantable devices for volume-oriented human and/or animal applications.  Project assumed under EE/CS direction. 

Project 4 – FDA Approval Qualification of a Micro-Flex Hybrid Design

All rights to intellectual property for this project may be equally shared between Vanderbilt and MNT and the results are highly encouraged to be published in a professional forum. Most of the equipment is available at MNT’s facilities and Vanderbilt’s equipment contributions to complete the project would be major failure analysis items such as SEM, SAM, FIB, and possibly autoclave. At this time, MNT is searching the used market for an autoclave and at one time MNT understood that Vanderbilt may have had a surplus autoclave in storage. MNT needs about four (4) weeks to procure parts and assemble samples to test and the test will need to include a 1000 hour (six week) operating life test at elevated temperature with weekly interim readings at 168, 336, 504, 672, and 840 hours. Investigation of non-lead solders assembled on polyimide flex circuitry and performance of parylene or related coatings should also be a part of the project.

Please call me or Ben at our new 914 Building number, 662-3104, or my private number 662-0023 if you have any questions or comments. I would suspect that we should be able to formalize a document related to MNT versus Vanderbilt intellectual property for student design projects fairly rapidly. Also, Ben’s and my email are respectively and

9.  Dr. Raul Guzman, Vascular Surgery
1.  Develop an automated wound imaging system for the lower extremity.  Develop a database to store and report this information, along with relevant data regarding the treatment modalities used.  (Dr. King will co-advise this project.)
2.  Develop a sutureless percutaneous anastamosis device.
10. Dr. Ted Larson,
Investigate methodologies to assist in the centering of microcatheters in the bloodstream.
11.  Doyle, Thomas [thomas.doyle@Vanderbilt.Edu]  Cardiology
several projects involving closure of heart defects, will present in class...- look at 2002-2003 projects...  PFO taken.
12.  Dr. Paul King
1.  Prototype and test an emergency ventilator
2.  Prototype, test, and help populate a design project/angel investor database
3.  Develop a concept map scoring system for use in assessment tasks.
13.  Dr. David Black, Aegis
1.  Continue/complete project 1 from last year
14. Marshall Summar, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, 322-7601
1. We had an interesting idea for looking at clinical measures of oxidative phosphorylation capacity involving muscle stimulators and isoprostanes.  It might make a very good student project this year.
15. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen Ph.D.   343 4787
Quantitative determination of rigidity associated with Parkinson's Disease: Placement of deep brain stimulators for relief in the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease has been seeing increased application recently. The accuracy of targeted placement of these electrical stimulators in the sub-thalamic nuclei is currently peformed in a subjective manner. The optimal placement relieves rigidity associated with Parkinson. The degree of relief is currently determined by a Neurologist based on touch and experience.  The goal of this project is to design a device that measure degree of rigidity and therefore relief in rigidity to quantitatively determine the effectiveness of deep brain stimulators.
16. Dr. Frank Carroll, frank.carroll@Vanderbilt.Edu ., # 3-7574 
1. Design of a special purpose scanning mammography table for use with monochromatic x-rays.
2. Image analysis improvements, improved image reconstruction algorithms.
3. Angiography using Iodine and tuned X-rays (K-edge) to reduce the dose rate to the patient, development of a stereoscopic imaging system.
4. Cancer treatment and some related research which need some technical assistance.
(Note, these projects will likely require multidisciplinary teams!)
17.  Dr. Cynthia Paschal
Variations in local magnetic fields lead to distortions and signal loss in a very fast type of magnetic resonance images called echo planar images. Drs. Fitzpatrick, Yoder, Paschal and colleagues have developed a method to correct for these distortions. A Master of Engineering level project supervised by Dr. Paschal would be to develop a precise and reproducible device to place into the MR scanner a small object that will intentionally distort the local magnetic field, to investigate materials of different magnetic susceptibilities to be used as the distorting object, to measure the susceptibility of the object and device combined, and to develop measures of quantifying the effect of the distorted field on the images.
18.  Dr. Mark Wathen mark.wathen@Vanderbilt.Edu
Implanted Cardiovertor Defibrillators (ICD) must first detect tachycardias then treat them as they occur in real time in an automated fashion.  This means that detection of arrhythmias is first based on heart rate.  However, the devices really want to treat only Ventricular Tachycardias (VT) (arising from the ventricles) and not Supraventricular Tachycardias (SVT)(which arise from the atria).  The former are life threatening and the latter not.  The treatment delivered by the ICD is a shock:  A LARGE and uncomfortable shock.  Thus the device to be developed needs to distinguish VT from SVT...  (See King for more details)
19.  Scott Levin, MS candidate ( ) and Dan France, PhD

An upper class biomedical engineering student is needed to help perform a study in the adult and pediatric emergency departments.   Any student interested must be able to begin within the first couple weeks of school.  The purpose of this  project is to study communication patterns, workflow patterns, and resource availability in the adult and pediatric emergency departments at VUMC.   In addition the study will assess and identify specific contributing factors to workload, stress and fatigue in resident and attending physician staffing.  The major objective is to quantify the complex nature of the ED work environment and to identify system and human factors that influence safety and efficiency.  Ideally, knowledge gained from this research will be used to design and develop process or technological improvements to the ED system.

20. Monique Bird, speech/language pathologist, Bill Wilkerson Center 936-5212
I am currently working with a twelve year, four-month old girl, named Jenny, who has Cerebral Palsy. She is seated in a wheelchair, mom reported that Jenny received new padding for the back of her chair in order provide the appropriate support for Jenny. Jenny also has a Dynavox 3100, a voice output communication device which is mounted to her wheelchair on the left side. Jenny accesses the device through direct selection using the knuckles of her left fisted hand. This continues to be the most effective and preferred mode of selection. However, Jenny's movements are not under her control, and often her physical movements interfere with her performance. Since the installation of the new padding, mom had felt that the device was too far for Jenny to access. Mom had indicated that she moved the mount closer to Jenny, however, it took over 2 hours for her to do this. Now with the device moved closer to Jenny, I am still finding that Jenny has some difficulty accessing symbols that are to the far left of the screen and on the bottom of the screen. I am not sure if it is the way the device is placed on the mount or if the mount needs to be moved on the wheelchair.
21. Michael I. Miga [] 343-8336
The first line of detection for breast cancer is by self-exam, i.e. palpating the breast. Mammography has served as widespread routine screening tool and an overall reduction in breast cancer mortality has resulted. Unfortunately, some patient's have particularly dense breast tissue in which screening by mammography has been difficult. As a result, there is interest in developing alternative methods of tissue interrogation that are low-cost and can circumvent some of the limitations in mammography. One such method is known as elastography. Elastography is the direct imaging of mechanical properties within the breast. In this project, you (or your team) will investigate the propagation of mechanical waves through gelatin phantoms. The goal will be to transmit mechanical waves at various frequencies through a gel and obtain data regarding the force propagation of that wave on the other side. Ultimately, stiff objects within the gelatin should affect this propagation. This project will involve student(s) who are knowledgeable in instrumentation, mechanics, and design. There is also a computer modeling aspect too which can be explored to better understand the collected data.
22.  Russ Waitman [] (Medical Informatics)
If you had a group with good programmers and an interest in clinical data, I have some interesting projects.  Specifically, I am working on developing a tool to let clinican's review orders by unit as well as by patient's with the goals of helping manage staffing (operational) and looking for patient specific events (odd ordering in the middle of the night leading to a code possibly) with a goal on patient safety
23.  Chuck Matthews, M.S. Ph.D., Center for Health Services Research, 936.2145

Handheld Physical Activity Diary/Record: The measurement of free-living physical activity levels, to estimate physical activity energy expenditure or to describe the amount of time spent in different types/intensities and activity, is methodologically challenging because physical activity is done intermittently throughout the day, occurs in many different social domains (e.g., at home, work, for recreation), and most assessment methods rely on the memory of the respondent to provide salient details. 
            Physical activity records/diaries provide an opportunity to gather detailed information about activity patterns as the activities occur, resulting in a minimization of reliance on memory for critical data elements.  For this reason, this type of data collection is considered to be one of the more accurate methods of obtaining information about free-living activities.  However, there are a number of limitations to current physical activity record methodology, including, crude data collection methods (paper pencil), simplistic data entry and management procedures, and an inability to evaluate respondent compliance with key record keeping instructions. 
          Handheld devices (e.g., personal digital assistants) offer an exceptional opportunity to capture detailed information about free-living physical activity patterns, and creating a “system” for processing the resulting data offers the opportunity to summarize the data in a manner that is more sophisticated than currently available. 
          The project seeks to develop such a system by adapting available physical activity recording systems to an appropriate handheld platform.  The eventual physical activity record/diary should:
1) be simple enough that computer novices could quickly become proficient in its use,
2) be able to easily retrieve data from the field to monitor compliance,
3) be able to evaluate compliance for each day of recording, and
4) provide summary data by activity type (e.g., household, occupational, exercise), intensity (sitting/inactivity, light, moderate, vigorous), and for different activity patterns (e.g., the number bouts per day of activity of lasting different amounts of time). 
        The objective of this project will be to develop and test – for feasibility – a prototype Handheld Physical Activity Record/Diary.  Such a system would have great utility in research and clinical settings, as well as potential commercial application.

24.  Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center  (J. Enderle, U. Conn, & J. Winters, Marquette)

Student Design Competition:  Universal Design for Accessible Medical Instrumentation

 Project 1: Wheelchair Platform Device: Persons with disabilities need access to all forms of modern health care, including dental procedures, health care check ups, and diagnostic procedures such as mammography.  Unfortunately, barriers are common for persons with disabilities because of patient positioning, comfort and ease of use.  A platform device is desired that enables wheelchair users access to health care procedures.  The device should have two-degrees of freedom (rotation of 360 degrees, and vertical translation from 3”-9” above the floor). 

It should be accessible, which includes addressing the following specifications:

·        the wheelchair client should be able to wheel onto the device, going up a small ramp,
·        the device will be motorized, with adjustments possible while the client and his/her wheelchair are safely secured to the device, and with an easy-to-use control interface that accommodates users with disabilities, 
the device will be transportable, by carrying and/or rolling, and
the device will include safety features during use and transportation. 

Project 2: Weight Scale for Wheelchair Users: For persons at risk for conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) where changes in body weight carry clinical significance, it is recommended that the person’s weight be monitored at least once per day.  Persons with disabilities using a wheelchair often have difficulty weighing themselves using common scales because of the wheelchair and positioning issues, and thus lack access to an important aspect of health care.  Others cannot weigh themselves regularly in a home setting because of difficulties in standing for an appropriate length of time.  In such cases weight measurement could be made while they sit in a chair or rest on a bed.  A weight scale for home use by wheelchair users is desired that is easy to use without assistance, low cost and accurate.  The weight scale device should not require the person with disability to leave their wheelchair, and should provide a calibrated weight measure that is easy to see (and/or hear) and preferably recorded digitally so that it can be easily compared to previous measurements.  Ideally, there would be feedback to the subject (who may have visual or hearing impairment) when a stable measurement has been obtained.  It should be easy to transport and set up within a home, with a caregiver able to move it to another location.  Ideally, it should be accessible to the largest number of possible users, and thus also be flexible

25. Franz Baudenbacher [ ]  Physics & BME
  1.      Implement technology for picoliter injection devices to be used in protein denaturizing experiments using a MEMS based Calorimeter with pW sensitivities.
  2.      Develop an optimized amplifier to read out thermopiles in a high sensitivity MEMS based Calorimeter.
 3.       Fabricate and optimize on chip pumps for lab on a chip applications.
  4.      Establish cell culture conditions and surface coatings for cardiac myocytes trapped in BioMEMS devices with restricted extracelluar space on microelectrode arrays.
   5.     Optimize cell culture conditions for fibroblasts in a BioMEMS base NanoBioReactor.
  6.     Optimize and fabricate membrane based valves for lab on a chip application.
 7.       Develop and implement software for recording transmembrane potentials from single cells in BioMEMS devices using voltage sensitive dyes.
  8.      Fabricate and test miniature electrode arrays to record the EKG and EEG from isolated tissue preparations.
26. Mike McDonald, PhD, Department of Pharmacology,  936-1082
We want to enlist the skills of an Engineering student (or group of students) interested in designing and testing the computer-mechanical interface for a large-scale exercise monitoring system for mice. The challenge is to develop a system using computer software and hardware that can simultaneously monitor about 100 specially designed running wheels. The mechanical to electronic (digital or analog) interface between the running wheels and the computer system is part of the proposed project, and may be optical or electromagneto-mechanical. Software can be written in LabView or other programming environment, as required by choice of hardware and functional requirements. Minimally, the system must display and record running wheel rpm and direction in real-time (or very near real-time), and it must be able to register the identity of an individual running wheel (e.g., by intrinsic addressing). Other features of interest include active display elements (e.g. rapidly updated bar graph), channel selection (to single out and record selected data streams), and simple data processing and file saving functions. As part of the design and execution of this engineering project, the student will be exposed to concepts related to behavioral neuroscience and animal experimental models.
 27. IEEE Computer Society—CSIDC - details below...

Student Design Teams Sought for 2004 CSIDC
Students from universities and colleges worldwide are invited to participate in the 2004 IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition. The CSIDC is an annual challenge that allows teams of undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to design, from inception to prototype, a special-purpose computer-based device to solve a real-world problem. The competition has a $25,000 first prize.

The 2003 CSIDC challenge, which began in December 2002, recently concluded with a live World Finals event featuring multimedia presentations from the top 10 contestant teams. More than ever before, this year's competition fulfilled a recruitment goal of wide international representation.

Each year, the CSIDC begins with proposals submitted by prospective teams, chosen both on technical merit and to represent all corners of the world. Selected teams then work at their home institutions over the course of five months to complete a working prototype of a marketable device. Only the 10 most-promising devices, based on lengthy written reports, are presented in a live head-to-head competition.

In 2002, a change in CSIDC rules allowed the number of teams accepted into the competition to increase from 80 to 300. Rather than providing student teams with standardized kits, as had been the case in the past, organizers instead required teams to provide their own standard PCs, and imposed a $400 limit on spending for peripherals. In another change to the CSDIC process, organizers also broadened the theme away from a specific realm to a simple mandate that teams produce applications with a demonstrable social benefit.

In 2004, the idea of social responsibility is targeted in the theme "Making the World a Safer Place." Examples of devices that might follow this theme include GPS technologies that could help aircraft avoid collisions, environmental monitoring systems, or devices that track patients who experience dementia.

Application materials are due by 1 November. Teams will be selected by 14 November.

Send completed registration forms by fax to +1 202 728 0884 or by mail to IEEE Computer Society—CSIDC, 1730 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-1992.

28. Contact info: John Wikswo: Mark Bray: Dale Evertson:
Title: Panoramic Imaging of Cardiac Electrodynamics

Summary: We have previously demonstrated that panoramic imaging systems allow for acquisition of complete 3-D epicardial surface models of in vitro rabbit  hearts using a single camera and two mirrors Design: An improved panoramic imaging system which uses three synchronized 1Kfps CCD cameras which can be reproducibly positioned, is economical, and manufacturable.

Details: In order to fully understand large-scale arrhythmia electrodynamics (fibrillation and defibrillation), we need a means of whole-heart visualization. For most current studies, the electrical behavior is monitored by coating the heart with a voltage-sensitive dye, which transduces changes in the transmembrane potential into optical fluorescence. Our previous design for a panoramic imaging modality employed one front view of the heart, plus a left and right mirror reflected view, giving us full epicardial coverage. We then create a 3-D geometric reconstruction of the rabbit heart by rotating the heart in front of the camera and using successive snapshots to iteratively generate a wireframe model. The  florescence intensity information is then texture mapped from each 2-D pixel to the 3-D surface model. The end goal is to use the system for real-time imaging of the full epicardial surface. But currently, the camera calibration and determination of the mirror orientation takes place after completion of the experiment.

We propose to continue the development of the system to provide higher spatial resolution and greater reconstruction accuracy by using three cameras (rather than two mirrors). This would give us higher spatial resolution, approximately three-fold more pixels, and more uniform coverage of the heart than the previous system.

Desirable student qualities:

1. Mathematics: Ability and interest in coordinate transformations.
2. Experimental Matters: Ability to move from theoretical geometry to mechanical devices where compromises must be made and errors minimized.
3. Self Starting: After initial mentoring, the student should use initiative in learning about, researching, and working on tasks. Doing more than asked is desirable.
4. Creativity: Imagination and creativity are as important as GPA on a project like this.
5. CAD: CAD experience is desirable but not absolutely necessary.
6. Optics: Experience and interest in optical matters would be helpful.


29. Bradford Wood, MD, Sr Clinical Investigator, National Institutes of Health , Diagnostic Radiology Department, 301-496-7739

See for more clinical details on needle based image guided minimally invasive cancer therapies

Title: Robotic Needle Driver End Effector Design for Integration with CT scan:We are developing a robotic system for automated needle or surgical device placement for tumor biopsy and treatments like radiofrequency ablation, cryotherapy, laser ablation, microwave ablation, and brachytherapy. Several robots are available for modification. We want to design an end-effector for the robot that will perform the actual insertion of the needle in a CT environment during these percutaneous procedures with imaging guidance. We need to design a needle driver that will perform needle insertions into the abdomen fairly quickly (software already written) with a remote joystick-like mechanism. The limiting clinical issue is respiratory excursion: the driver needs to rapidly “unlock” from or “dislodge” or let go of the needle after insertion, so it then is allowed to move in the craniocaudal (head to toe) axis, so as not to injure the organ. It should then be able to reattach or “re-lock” onto the needle for deeper insertion after position modification performed by the robot remotely with the joystick. The robot might modify the angle of insertion or pull the needle back slightly before re-advancing the needle.  We can try and send some of the devices that the end effector will insert and also acquaint the team that takes up the challenge with the robotic arm associated with the end- effector.  The team may want to view a liver tumor ablation case at the medical center to see what the challenges are.     

30.  Jerry Collins, x23003
Device and Method to Monitor DNA Hybridization on Microarrays using Capacitance.
This project will involve working with Dr. Tom Whitaker of Atom Sciences, Inc. in Oak Ridge, TN on an NIH-funded project to develop a new method for monitoring hybridization on a DNA Microarray. The project involves device design, modeling of the expected signal, multiplexed measurements of capacitance from a large number of probe sites, and optimization of the kinetics and signal intensity. The initial application of the technology is genetic identification of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes in pathogens. A lengthier description of the project is available.  Contact Jerry Collins if interested
31.  Alan Bradshaw, Research Assistant Professor, Departments of Surgery and Physics, Vanderbilt University  322-0705
Vector Analyzer for Gastrointestinal Magnetic Field Signals:  The student will design a Vector Analyzer to utilize three orthogonal magnetic field components recorded from a Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometer. The Vector Analyzer will provide for optimal detection of the magnetogastrogram (MGG) or magnetoenterogram (MENG) of healthy and diseased tissue. The initial design will be software-based, but the ultimate design could be a microprocessor-based instrument.
32.  Gary B. Byram, Ph.D, Ben Close, MedTG, LLC

The objective of the design work for Vanderbilt’s Senior Project (VSP) is to demonstrate the feasibility of delivering intravenous (IV) fluid while simultaneously drawing an undiluted blood sample with the unique design of the Sensor-IV product concept. Within the scope of the VSP you will utilize Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling for theoretical simulation in parallel with a simplified general flow test apparatus for physical verification of simulation. The dual approach will provide both a theoretical and empirical validation and feasibility assessment of the design. The CFD simulation will provide insight into general fluid flow patterns within the overall system while the physical simulation will enable more visual and tactile insight into potential questions regarding actual fluid flow.

33.  Dr. Patrick Leu x35602  (King & Roselli will co-advise)
Develop a software technique to analyze female bladder function data for compliance measurement with the goal of making the process less stressful and painful.  (Data has been archived, can be analyzed & compared to physician analysis)   A 1-2 person project, good computer skills needed.
34.  Dr Todd Giorgio
1 person, prefer BME with computational interests also with expertise in transport phenomena.

The aim of this project is optimal design of a magnetic nanocrystal for gene/drug delivery. The most significant portion of the work is prediction of nanocrystal motion in tissue using computational fluid dynamics software (CDFRD). The software is available in our lab and allows creation of a porous media model of tissue, incorporation of magnetic nanocrystals with selectable properties and overlay of a magnetic field. The deliverables will include characterization of nanocrystal dispersion in porous media tissue as a function of tissue, nanocrystal and magnetic field parameters. A portion of the work includes experimental measures in our lab of magnetic field strength as a function of position. This is a multidisciplinary project in collaboration with Dr. Dennis Hallahan (Chair, VU Radiation Oncology) and Professor Mike Miga (BME).

34 sponsors, 58+ projects, as of 10/29/2003