BME/ME/EE/CompE  Projects Proposed 2004

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...  Suggested majors for each project are indicated in red...  Students looking for team members are indicated in red text with yellow highlight.

All students please note:  The collegiate inventors competition (sponsored by the USPTO) is held each year (2005 will be posted) please see for details.  Consider entering this contest this coming Spring.


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.)  CompE, BME is interested in this project, needs partners esp. Comp.E.

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.  CompE, BME
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. any major
4.  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.  Doug Anderson, BME, is interested in this project, needs partners...
2.  Anita Mahadevan-Jansen Ph.D.   343 4787
1.  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 performed 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.  team makeup - open

2. Brain tumors are one of the most lethal forms of cancer due to its high recurrence rate and diffuse nature of its boundaries. In an effort to improve the degree of tumor removal and minimize the number of tumor cells left behind, we have developed a real-time optical feedback system that aids the surgeon in determining where to cut. This study is currently in multi-center trials which includes the participation of 4 medical centers including Vanderbilt. In order to manage the vast data being collected and to exchange, analyze and look at this data in a meaningful manner, this project is proposed. Your task is develop a secure database that incorporates all the data acquired from each of the center. The data needs to be searchable, need to be able to plot one or many spectra, need to be able to group spectra by tissue type, form data matrices of any group of spectra as input into MATLAB - to name a few features. A detailed list of features will be provided to the group that takes on this project.  team makeup: anyone with database background, CompE, EE, BME, ME

Robert E Lee, and Emre Genca have taken this project

3.  Richard Shiavi, 322-3598
1.  Real Time Monitoring System for Orthostatic Vasovagal Syncope with Embedded Digital Signal Processor

The long-term goal of the proposed project is to develop an experimental computer-based embedded system to measure, compute and, control blood pressure and heart rate variability in patients with autonomic dysfunction during tilt table test. The short-term goal is to develop an embedded system to measure and compute blood pressure and heart rate variability in subjects during experiments

The proposed project includes following tasks: 
1) Real-time implementation of beat-to beat detection algorithm of heart rate and blood pressure on TMS320C6713 DSK board
2) Real-time implementation of continuous wavelet transform on TMS320C6713 DSK board
3) Real-time graphical representation of beat-to beat values and spectral components on WindowsXP host PC

Student team requirements:
1) Knowledge digital signal processing: filters, FFT, Wavelets
2) Programming: C, MAT LAB
3) Electronic: OP-amps, digital interfaces

EE, CompE, EE needed

2.  Non-invasive Blood Pressure Device for Functional Magneto-Resonance Imaging

 (With Shiavi and Andre' Diedrich (Autonomic Dysfunction Center) and John Gore (Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science) 

Functional Magnetic-Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has recently allowed novel insights into the function of individual brain sites by providing a means of studying dynamics of the activation of specific areas with remarkable spatial and temporal resolution. Patients with baroreflex failure have extremely labile blood pressure due to loss of buffering function of blood pressure control. Additionally, it is certainly possible that influence of higher centers of brainstem and cortical structures will have potentiating effects on changes in autonomic outflow. It is therefore important to measure blood pressure continuously during fMRI procedures in order to study the mechanism of interaction in these patients.

Penaz introduced the volume clamp method to record blood pressure non-invasively and continuously in the finger. A transparent inflatable cuff clamps blood volume in the finger. A light emitting diode illuminates light into the finger. A photo sensor measures the transilluminated light on the opposite site of the finger which is proportional to the clamped vascular volume.  Any deviations of vascular volume due to changes of intravascular pressure are instantaneously compensated by automatic adjustment of the cuff pressure which thus continuously and quantitatively follows the intravascular pressure.

There are commercial devices (FINAPRES, FINOMETER, PORTAPRES) available for non-invasive continuous blood pressure monitoring available, but they are not fMRI compatible. A major challenge is the electrical sensor system for the finger cuff which interferes with the magnet. The present project proposes to design a finger cuff without electronic sensors and cables by using fiber optic techniques. The project tasks are: a) assembling the cuff with fiber optic cable terminator; b) developing a fiberoptic interface and an electrical interface to the commercially available device; and c) design fMRI compatible shielding.

Penaz, J. (1973) Photoelectric measurement of blood pressure, volume and flow in the finger. Digest. 10th Int. Conf. Med. Biol. Eng. Dresden, 104

Taken by Jose Alvarado, Sanjeet Rangarajan, and  Benjamin Huh


4.  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.    CompE, BME, EE
5.  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. ME, BME, EE     Taken by ME Elizabeth Slyzuik, Kalee McFadden, (BME) Brian Eckerle (BME)
6.  Dr. Bill Walsh,  Neonatology

One that comes to mind is a particularly frustrating mismatch of imaging systems. The project would be to enable a physician doing a portable bedside ultrasound with the new Sonosite digital US to be able to download the images into the PACS system for review by the radiologist. This would take some effort by the student to understand and match the programs used by both imaging systems. I know it can be done and have done it by first downloading the sonosite into a radiology US machine and then downloading that image into the PACS system.  CompE, EE, BME

7. Venkatram P Shastri, Biomedical Engineering,  prasad.shastri@Vanderbilt.Edu
1.  Design of of bioreactor for culturing of vascular grafts: The team will design and make a working prototype of a static or rotating wall bioreactor for culturing of tissue engineered vascular grafts.  3 students, BME, ME and EE
2. Design a bioreactor for cartilage tissue engineering to specifically obtain stratified development of chondrocyte architecture. The team will design and built and stirred tank bioreactor and demonstrate feasibility of approach using human chondrocyte
Project 2: 3-students, BME, Chem-E, ME
8.  David H Zald, Asst. Prof, Psychology. , 343-6076
One project involves finding a way to make mouthpieces the include a piece of highly oriented pyrolitic graphite for use as a static shim in MRI studies.   ME, BME?    MEs Leslie Berlin, Jonathon Jenkins, and Chad Hatfield BME
The other is purely CompE associated and relates to implementing certain programs for analysis of PET imaging data.  CompE
9.  Paul King, Biomedical Engineering, 322-2201
1.  Prototype and test an emergency ventilator  ME, BME
2.  Continue development of a non-contacting apnea detection system using CO2 detection and breath sounds detection.  CompE, EE, BME
3.  Develop a concept map scoring system for use in assessment tasks.  CompE, BME
4.  Check out , come up with a plan.  all majors taken by
James Lin (BME) and Adam Lowisz (CompE), partners needed.
10. Frank Carroll, M.D., Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
1.- Optimizing Phase Contrast Imaging:
For the last 100 years we have used X-ray absorption imaging to obtain information from the human body. 100 to 1000 times more information is present in the X-ray beam that has traversed the body, but until now we didn't have the means to extract that information. Given the availability of the pulsed, tunable monochromatic X-ray source at the W.M. Keck Free Electron Laser facility here at Vanderbilt, imaging of this sort now becomes possible without the use of a synchrotron. Optimization of the imaging parameters, detectors, and energies used is needed and will be the topic of this research.   taken by BMEs Luke Powers, Chris Weaver, Alfred Luk & Jon Fermo (ME)
2.- Fluoresence X-rays- detection and uses:
When X-rays hit an object, such as a body, they are partially absorbed, partially pass through unscathed, and are partially scattered. In the course of being absorbed or scattered, they displace inner shell electrons in atoms. These orbits must be refilled from other electron orbits. As the electrons fall back into the vacated orbits, they give off characteristic X-rays which can be detected and used to analyze whatever it is that they hit. Detecting them and interpreting their significance is the goal of this research.
3.- New ideas in X-ray mirrors and lenses:
The tunable monochromatic X-ray source available here at Vanderbilt produces a conebeam which has an area geometry, that is excellent for plain imaging or CT studies, but it can have many more uses if the X-rays could be deflected, focused or collimated at relatively high angles. The goal of this project is to explore newer ideas in accomplishing this.
4.- Picosecond X-ray beam metrology:
The pulsed, tunable, monochromatic X-ray beam produced by the new device at the Free Electron Laser Center emanates from the machine in single powerful bursts lasting only 8-10 picoseconds. Few measuring devices can make sense of the beam, its stucture, its energy or its flux. Film, multichannel analyzers, ionization chambers and streak cameras are not optimized to measure these beams. Innovative methods must be devised to analyze and monitor such unusual radiation sources. The goal of this project is to do so.

  BME, ME, EE, CompE

11.  Wood, Brad (NIH/CC/DRD) []  301-496-7739
Lauren Shepherd has one project we discussed...
** 1. Steerable needle for biopsy and / or tissue ablation: we will design and prototype a steerable needle based on a simple disposable external coaxial pulley mechanism that allows the physician to steer an otherwise straight needle while in the body or in an organ. This may be integrated to a robotic needle driver (existing pneumatic gripper or friction needle driver), but the bulk of the project will be to develop a needle that can be steered in one direction with the use of a scissors-like handle outside the body. This may be engineered to be performed remotely (with or without haptic feedback, depending upon how far we get ). will test in pigs by end of year. BME / ME
Taken by: Lauren Shepherd (BME), Ronald Loch (BME),Joanna Todd (BME),Jesse Acton (ME)

2. expandable endovascular ablation catheter / basket that occludes blood vessels from the inside by applying radiofrequency or microwave energy to the wall of a blood vessel. will test in pigs and optimize parameters for vessel ablation in pigs by end of year. BME / ME / EE
Taken by: Michael McClure (ME), Ryan Rich (CompE), Jackie Macias (BME) and Farokh Niknejad (BME)

** 3. Possible project on biodegradable fiducials.  May be in conjunction with Dr. Prasad Shastri at Vanderbilt.   EE/ BME / ME / COMP E

lauren knows a bit about the conventional metal system, but has not heard these recent ideas.

*4. further development of a pneumatic robotic needle driver that can be remotely controlled via a joystick for insertion and slight modifications in direction. BME / ME /

David Hunter Lammlein is interested in this project, please contact him.

5. refinement of a stereotactic needle driver clamp for needle insertion during CT fluoroscopy. We want to make this automatic and remotely controlled during insertion. BME / COMP E / EE / ME

6. software development / refinement of existing java based program for radiofrequency ablation of tumors , pre-op planning, segmentation, registration, visualization, image fusion. Comp E/ BME /

7. Development of software for volumetric imaging of medical dicom images in a 100 million voxel rotating sphere / orb projector for use displaying spatial relations during medical interventions or nuclear medicine image visualization. we have system, basic api, beta version dicom reader is poor- needs work, could have alot of medical applications. I think there is a cardiologist there at Vanderbilt (or at Univ tenn- I will check) who has one other medical version of this device! BME /Comp E          ** indicates possible IP considerations.
12. Dr. Raul Guzman, Vascular Surgery
1.  Continue development of  a sutureless percutaneous anastamosis device.  (BME project 3 in 2003-2004)  BME, ME Taken by: Steve Chen, Jamal Siddiqui (BMEs)
2.  Continue to develop, and simplify, a 5 camera foot ulcer documentation device.    ME + EE + CompE + BME needed.
Develop a simple wheelchair that can be used as an examining table.  There are reclining wheel chairs that are widely available as well as adjustable height wheelchairs, but none work well as an examining table.  ME, BME  Taken by Chris Green (ME), Matt Dale (ME), and Andrew Wald (BME),  supervision by Kinser.
13.  Jared Cobb, Biomedical Engineer, CIO, Sole Supports, Inc., phone: 888-650-7653, email:

1: Creating online courseware:  Convert Dr. Glaser’s PowerPoint Lecture into online courseware using CAPE.  Finished product is to be marketed to continuing medical education organizations.     CompE / BME

2. System Engineering Challenge:  Use systems engineering principles to improve on various plant functions: cycle time, plant layout, quality control, space usage.   any major  taken by: Evan Gardiner (ME), Phu Ngyen (ME), and John Hinson (BME)

3. Dust Collection System: Design optimal dust collection system for Sole Supports, Inc.  ME

4. Document Storage & Retrieval:  Create software to electronically capture and archive paper documents.  CompE / EE

14.  John P. Wikswo, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Physics,  343-4124, 

1.  Pulsatile bioreactor for culturing airway and cardiac muscle cells (With Dr. Paul Moore and Walter Georgescu)  The behavior of airway smooth muscle (ASM) in asthma can be studied in several ways: static cell culture, tracheal strips or bronchial rings for mechanical measurements, and in vivo measurements of airway resistance.  Each can be used to study protein expression, but none allow simultaneous observation of intracellular signaling and mechanical responses associated with asthma-induced airway changes.  To date, measurements of the effects of biomechanical forces on airways are limited by the lack of a cultured cell system that can be subjected to controlled biomechanical loading.  Hence it is difficult to test hypotheses relating the biochemical environment of asthma to the mechanical behavior of ASM cells. We are developing microfabricated bioreactors designed to allow rapid measurement of multiple intra- and extracellular signaling parameters.  We propose to develop a novel bioreactor that will allow us to replicate in vitro both the minute amounts of circumferential expansion to which ASM cells are exposed in normal tidal breathing, as well as the dramatic deformations encountered in asthma.  We hypothesize that pulsatile stretch is an important differentiating feature in asthma and airway remodeling.  Our bioreactor will allow identification and characterization of the cell signaling pathways involved in the acute asthmatic response and chronic airway remodeling.  Our specific aims are to 1) identify differences between stretched and unstretched cells in appearance and protein profile; 2) measure the signaling response to agonists in both stretched and unstretched cells; and 3) extend this analysis to bioreactors that include layers of ASM and epithelial cells.   BME, ME

2.  In vivo bioreactor for growing vascularized bone (With Dr. Ginger Holt ).  The goal of the proposed project is to further evaluate a newly established model of skeletogenesis - an in vivo bioreactor. This model consists of a vascularized hydroxyapatite scaffold surrounding a ligated epigastric artery and vein, all enclosed by a silicone rubber sheath and left within the abdomen of the rat.  Studies show that bone production in this bioreactor is accelerated with the addition of BMP-2.  Our hypothesis is that bone growth can be accelerated and manipulated within this model and that the resulting ‘bone on a leash’ can be used to fill skeletal defects, to study skeletogenesis, or to evaluate tumor induced osteolysis.  The project will involve developing shaped scaffolds, perfecting the implantation technique, and exploring the use of electromagnetic fields to modulate vascularization and bone growth. BME, EE, ME

3.  Multilayer stereolithographic casting of microfluidic networks (With Dr. Prasad Shastri)  The development of bioreactors that contain externally perfused capillary beds represents the holy grail of tissue engineering.  The project will involve developing an environment in which microvascular endothelial cells can differentiate and form tubular structures.  The challenge is to devise a method by which these cells can be coaxed to form a complete network that supports a flow of perfusate.  We propose to create a layered coculture system, inspired by the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), that would bring perfused microenvironments to a new level of sophistication and realism.  As a logical extension of our planar bioreactors, we will start with two thick layers of collagen that support a population of fibroblasts and the appropriate growth factors, and insert between them an intermediate microfluidic layer filled with endothelial cells supported by a microfabricated substrate.  Perfusion above and below the collagen layers would maintain the fibroblasts during the early stages of the culture.  We have devised a replica casting method that can produce a self-supporting channel structure, wherein the scaffold is a collection of open rectangular chamber walls, the spaces between which form the perfusion system.  This project will involve demonstrating the replica-casting method, and then using it to construct capillary-perfused bioreactors for basic research in cell biology and for tissue engineering.  BME, ME, CompE
Taken by  Josh Barnett (BME), Becca McClintock (BME), Lauren Harvill( BME/EE), Hal Garrett (ME), Curtis Mayer (CompE)

15.  Denis Rowe [] CEO of ärthron, see for information.

1.  Anti-Stinger Device:  Problem:  Excessive lateral cervical flexion in football players produces what are commonly called “burners” or “stingers”.  65% of college football players experience at least one episode, and 85% those that do see a recurrence.  Nothing that is currently available reduces cervical lateral flexion among scholastic football players. 

Solution:  A device that can be attached to the shoulder pads that prevents excessive lateral flexion.  While ärthron has developed a model of a proposed device, the method of attachment to the shoulder pads is of a concern.  The device needs to be attached without drilling into the shoulder pads because ease of attachment and the ability to modify its position on the pads for the individual player wearing it is extremely important.  Additionally, the company desires to produce a model that is universal in nature so that different players of different sizes can swap it out with one another as the need arises.  Since the company will be charging a premium for such a device it is important that the device is perceived has having the ability to be worn by the vast majority of football players over successive seasons. 

The company is looking for guidance in determining what the device should be made of, how it can be most inexpensively manufactured (thermal forming is cheaper than injection molding in the early stages of a product life) and in what dimensions and radiuses.  ME + BME
Taken by: Rhiannon Cherry BME, Loren Hickerson ME, Danielle P Hill ME, Christopher Jarrett BME, Symya Williams BME, supervision by King

2.  Nose Plug to Stop Nosebleed   Problem: A nosebleed, medically known as epistaxis, is a relatively common affliction wherein there is hemorrhage (bleeding) from the nose.  There are several causes for the nosebleed including trauma (such as hitting the nose), fracture (nose break), altitude, severe stress, weakness of blood vessel, spontaneous hemorrhage among children, and hypertension among the elderly.  Two real world, yet disparate, examples that demonstrate the extent of the problem are: 1.) nosebleeds are the most frequent injury among wrestlers at all levels and 2.)  elderly patients in cardiac intensive care units (most of whom are on blood thinners) are frequent bleeders and invariably end up ingesting the blood which makes them nauseous thereby compounding the problem.

The current answer for dealing with a nosebleed is to stuff the nasal passage with cotton balls, dental plugs, compressed sponges or cotton nose plugs.  Additionally, the nose is pinched about the bridge to provide some external compression to assist in slowing the flow of blood. 

Most plugs are not anatomically correct and thus make the insertion up the nostril discomforting for the patient or athlete.  Furthermore, once the plug has absorbed as much blood as it can it is difficult to extract without the use of forceps.  Some athletic trainers will coat the nostril with petroleum jelly to help stem the bleeding.

Solution:  Arthron, Inc. wishes to develop an anatomically modeled nose plug that is easily inserted, absorbs the maximum amount of blood possible, can provide internal compression and can be extracted without the use of forceps.  BME, ME
Taken by: Wenyan Zhu BME, Michelle Pinson BME

16.  Brenda M. Green-Jarvis, Department of Radiology, MCN D1107,
In the imaging institute there is a 3D microPET scanner and a 3D microCT scanner, both of  which have a curved bed for laying the animal on. We also have a 2D bioluminescence camera, with a flat bed. One of my projects is to compare the 3 modalities.

The potential challenges:
The microPET bed adapter must be low attenuating material.
The flat face of the bed adaptor must not emit photons of light.
The flat face of the bed adaptor must be semi-disposable and cleanable as this is where the animals are placed.
Must be able to coregister the 2D bioluminescent images with an overhead view of the 3d images.  The microPET and microCT are  coregistered now by means of a dual marker on the curved bed. 

Note, as of 8/11/2004 "We now have an adaptor that we can put a platform on. The challenge now would be making a platform that will hold 3D registration markers in various orientations so that the co registration will work between modalities."  ME, BME

17.  Paul A. Harris, Ph.D., Director, GCRC Informatics, Rsch. Asst. Professor, Biomedical Engineering x26292

I am interested in using PDA devices to connect to existing Dinamap data collection machines in an effort to trigger data collection and regularly collect and store research data.  Ideally, we will use wireless devices, leveraging GCRC wireless network resources to automatically upload these data to a web-enabled mySQL database.  This project will require someone with good programming skills – probably Java, although this will be up to the discretion of the team.  Please let me know if you need additional information.   BME, CompE, any group with Access and Java experience Supervision by Dozier...
Christopher  Heath BME/EE
Adam Nagel EE/CmpE
Christopher  Nash EE/CmpE
Brendan  Soar EE/CmpE

18.  John Enderle, PhD, University of Connecticut,  phone: 860-486-5521
Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Medical Instrumentation contest information here (doc file)  contest rules here.  all majors  Zehra Tajuddin & Aimi Mohd Fahmi & Shandia Deloach have taken the scale project...
19.  Don Kinser, PhD, PE,  322-3537
see Ashby Materials Design Competition and Award 2004 for information  ME
20. Ivonne M.M. Lammerts, Department of Biomedical Engineering  Eindhoven University of Technology, WH 1.101 P.O.Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, the Netherlands Phone: +31-40-2475148, Fax: +31-40-2472206,
Thanks again for your request for some kind of collaboration with our department! We are indeed still interested, so let's try to set up something this year.

The projects we have planned so far for the coming educational year 2004/2005 can be found on the websites
*  [3rd-year projects, 5 weeks half time project work, design-oriented]
*  [4th-year inter-departmental / inter-university projects, 11 weeks half-time project work, research-oriented].
Probably a combination of both is feasible, too. For an inter-university project with VanderBilt University, we suggest that 3 students from TU/e (Biomedical and/or Mechanical Engineering, BME resp. ME) will work together with 3 students BME from vanderBilt University. There must be an overlap in time of at least a few weeks; for the time scheduling of the projects in Eindhoven, please consider the time tables on the above mentioned websites.

Development of a smart scanning probe for gas plasma surgery

Gas plasma is generated by electric discharge in a gas. It contains charged particles (electrons and ions) as well as reactive neutral species (radicals and excited molecules). Gas plasmas are active media, widely used for surface processing, e.g. in semiconductor or solar cell technology. Recently, an entirely new application has been identified by a group of scientists from the Department of Biomedical Engineering (Eindhoven University of Technology) and from the University of Maastricht. A new plasma source (the plasma needle), developed in Eindhoven, operates at room temperature and low electric voltage, so it can be safely applied to living tissues.  There are many situations in which plasma treatment can provide innovative solutions. For more information, please contact Eva Stoffels.

In this stadium of research, the needle is only a rigid probe, which has to be handled manually. However, fine treatment requires also a high precision approach in positioning and orientating the plasma needle. A good control must involve high precision electronics. Therefore, it is the intention to develop a flexible, smart scanning probe for gas plasma surgery. 

4th-year interdepartmental project [BMT, N, W, E] in term 4.1, 4.2

The overall project objective of this project is to be creative and innovative in developing a smart scanning probe for gas plasma surgery.

Project work:
To gain a professional attitude, the students have to apply self-employed team work with a project-oriented approach, for instance, by performing time scheduling and task planning for an optimal project efficiency. Furthermore, they themselves make proposals how to handle the problems and take the initiatives to make contact with experts to discuss these proposals with (including the project coordinator). The project coordinator supervises the project team and finally judges the team members individually with respect to their contributions to the group process and project results.

Project coordinator: Eva Stoffels, Nlaag f 1.08, tel. 5753, Email:      A mix of majors - BME, EE, ME, perhaps CompE

Patrick Henley (BME), patrick.n.henley@Vanderbilt.Edu, with  Dustin Borg, and Ali Husain  are interested in this project and would like an EE to join the group...

21.  Mark Richter, PhD, Research Engineer, Beneficial Designs, 3301 Cobble Street, Nashville TN 37211, 837.6902 x2,
Smart Treadmill Assessment and Safety System (STASS):
Maintaining cardiovascular fitness and a healthy body weight is as important for manual wheelchair users as it is for ambulatory individuals. Running and walking on a treadmill is an effective exercise activity that is popular in both homes and fitness clubs. While wheelchair propulsion on treadmills has been done in research studies for many years, commercially available treadmills are not designed to accommodate a manual wheelchair user.

The primary limitation is the inability of the wheelchair user to control the treadmill while pushing, since their hands are busy keeping up with the wheels. Secondarily, there are safety considerations. Wheelchairs can tip over backwards when pushing on an inclined surface. In addition, wheelchair users are at risk for developing repetitive stress injuries. Pushing with poor technique may accelerate the development of such injuries and should be avoided.

The proposed project will develop a Smart Treadmill Assessment and Safety System (STASS). The STASS will integrate with a standard treadmill and allow a manual wheelchair user to safely use it. The basis of the STASS is a smart tether system that couples the wheelchair to the front of the treadmill. It monitors load and displacement of the tether during use and responds to adverse conditions to keep the user safe. It also will provide propulsion technique feedback to the user and suggest improvements during exercise.

The project will require knowledge of sensors, data acquisition, programming, and mechanical design. The Beneficial Designs BioMobility Lab 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 Beneficial Designs resources and expertise.  needs a team, multiple majors  (suggest 1 each ME, BME, EE)

Butler, Mason, IV [mason.butler@Vanderbilt.Edu] and Janine McKinnon are interested in this project, need a EE partner (or 2).

Katie Enzinger, Petrice Mostardi, Blair Weaver, and Matt White are planning to work on the smart treadmill project with Mason Bultler and Janine McKinnon.


22.  Baudenbacher, Franz J, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Physics, 6301 Stevenson Center, 322 6361, email:  F,  web:
BioMEMS based NanoPhysiometer – Design and Implementation
The metabolic activity and the physiological state of a living cell can be characterized by the rate at which the cell produces acidic byproducts. Acidification rates have been used for a number of cellular studies ranging from pharmacological and toxicological interventions to cell signal transduction. In order to record metabolic changes of a small number (1-1000) of cells in multiple wells in a parallel approach for high throughput drug screening applications, it is necessary to scale down the sensor size and provide fluidic access to the cell culture volume for perfusion and drug delivery. We propose to design and fabricate a microfluidic-based microsystems using an optically-transparent polymer, active on-chip valves, in combination with our miniature pH sensing electrodes to establish a long term cell culture environment on chip. Furthermore, there is the need to devise a protocol to culture cells, to test viability and to measure the extracellular acidification rate in the nL cell culture volume.

Taken by Chris Gstalder, Soham Vakil, Raghav Venkataraman, Jason Carpentier, Vishal Bhakta BMEs

It would be of an advantage (requirement) to take the BioMEMS course which I am teaching this semester  BME
23. Robert V. Allen, MicroNova Technology, Inc. 218-4580 (cell) or 662-1304 (alt)

Technology to Support Genealogy Research (DOC file hereany major

24. Zion Bar-El, CEO, Ideation International Inc, Southfield, MI, 248-353-1313, Cellular 248-613-3251,,
tentatively plans to come to a post-seminar session on October 6 to discuss the use of their software on one or more projects.  More info as received.
25. Dr. Andrew Dozier, FGH 249 Station B 351824 Office:  322-2962, Cell:  473-0311 +Dr. Doris Quinn, + Steven Cheng

Integration of Technology Solutions into Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program Management

Vanderbilt University Medical School-Department of Graduate Medical Education (GME) has a need to coordinate the activities of 65 residency programs (780 residents are employed at Vanderbilt). These programs all have to be accredited individually as does the Institution as a whole. This involves meeting multiple standards, documentation, scheduling, and evaluations. A technical solution is recommended for improved performance throughout the Graduate Medical Education.  The needs include: sharing common requirements across all programs; keeping the specific needs of each specialty in mind in the development (e.g. surgery, medicine, pediatrics, etc.); to build a way of communicating changes to all programs; to create links to web-sites for the information each program needs; and teach the program coordinators how to plan and manage through a “project management” forum.   

The proposed project will be focused  on designing a common interface for all of the program coordinators in order to meet ACGME (Accreditation Council for General Medical Education) requirements.  Engineering disciplines that are required will be hardware structuring, software implementation, and management of systems.  Specific tasks will include organizational management, customized software data integration, and hardware specification analysis.  Students involved will gain valuable experiences in a large organizational setting as well as designing and applying technical solutions to common logistical challenges.  The project will involve 4-5 students of various engineering disciplines to work with a senior design advisor.  Interests from students will range from those who would like to discover areas in applying their engineering disciplines towards a managerial setting to exploring the field of healthcare and healthcare management.  Students will be able to directly apply knowledge gained in EECE 295-1:  Program and Project Management and integrate it with existing skill sets learned throughout their undergraduate career.  Interface with personnel from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Clinical Improvement Education will be conducted bi-weekly in order to achieve the desired results within a given timeframe.

Addenda 8/25/2004: What may happen with this project is that several components may need to be done, for example we may want to create a 'core' system, but medicine, anesthesia, peds will have different requirements.  I also have a physician who is in charge of Pathways, and he too expressed some interest in project management assistance.

Ezgi Alhun, BME, and Andy Rink BME and  ...  will do this project under Dr Dozier.

Dr. Andrew Dozier of the EECS department will advise the proposed project.  The customer contact will be Dr. Doris Quinn and Steven Cheng of VUMC Center for Clinical Improvement.  Customer needs will be captured through sessions with various program directors, coordinators, and specialists across a variety of VUMC residency programs.  EE, CompE, BME & ME with project management interests

26.  Prof. Don Kinser will be the VU contact, 610 Olin, x23537
Reduced Gravity Experiments:  The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program provides a unique academic experience for undergraduate students to successfully propose, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment of their choice over the course of six months. The overall experience includes scientific research, hands-on experimental design, test operations and educational/public outreach activities.

For information and regular updates, please visit our website at:   all majors  Taken by Christopher Thompson (EE/CmpE), Travis Wade (EE/CmpE)

Please note: Letters of intent are due by 10/8 and proposals by 10/20 - immediate action is required!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2.  Anita Mahadevan-Jansen Ph.D.   343 4787   ... new posting 9/1/2004
1.  One is to design and develop a computer controlled interface for microscopic mapping of tissue sections. The system design can be based on Labview or any other control compatible software engine. The process will involve developing the controlling interface to translate the microscope stage (xyz), make optical measurements at each location within a user preset range. The acquired spectra then need to be mapped and correlated. Based on similarities and dissimiliarities in the spectral characteristics, biochemical maps will be generated for normal and cancerous skin tissue that can then be correlated to tissue state.

2  The other is to build a Hadamard Imaging system capable of three-dimensional imaging (where x, y is space and z yields spectral information) using a digital micro-mirror device. This system will be developed to interface with an operating microscope for real time detection of brain tumor margins during tumor resection in the operating room. This is a novel idea and method of imaging that has never been performed before.  Taken by: Paul Thompson, Tasha Nalywajko, Melissa Walden
27.  Prof. Don Kinser, on behalf of Doug Sena of Proctor and Gamble

Here is the Proposed Design Project.  We welcome your student’s help. 
Part I. Develop a model that we can use to predict implosion of a Pringles can.  FEA may be the best tool. There are two sides to the equation: Strength of the can versus Internal to External Pressure Differences.  The model must be robust enough to address normal variation in material performance.

 Model inputs                Starting internal pressure of the can (Altitude of plant, temperature of chips & inert gas)
                Strength of board (dents, moisture, board density impact)
                Shipping route elevation and temperature
Denting (how much of a dent)
Glue absorbency of board
Temperature at final site
Canister height & diameter

Part II. Develop a model that builds on the implosion prediction model to forecast the optimal package design based on cost of the individual material components.  Linear programming may be the right tool. 

Part III. Understand the difference and correlation between axial compression strength and implosion performance.  We have some disagreements between the Snacks Tech Pack organization and different can suppliers about which is more important.

 mostly ME although an EE or CE might be helpful in the potential math involved.

Currently taken by:

Laura Winfield, Christina Peabody, and Steve McGuire (contact at:  )   We are looking for a CompE to help us out, most likely for the programming activities. 
28.  Dr Paul Harris, GCRC,  and Buchowski, Maciej, maciej.buchowski@Vanderbilt.Edu

This project involves building and testing a physical activity monitor and reward system.  Specifically, the activity monitor will be similar to a pedometer or step-counting device and will serve to monitor activity and provide information to a 'reward' device.  Physical activity will be monitored, quantified, and added to an individual's activity account.  Banked activity will then be exchanged through the 'reward' device which will control time available on recreational electronics (computer monitor, TV, X-Box, etc.).  The ultimate goal of the monitor / reward system will be to increase physical activity in children.  In addition, we believe the device could be used in research studies for pediatric subjects in the General Clinical Research Center.   All majors  Taken by Daniel Long, Prabhani Atukorale,  Laura Folse, all BME

29.  initial contact needs to be done through Professor Donald L. Kinser, 322-3537,
Signcraft Inc.
Identify, research, examine, and pilot deployment of project management software such as Primavera for use in a sign manufacturing facility with emphasis on status tracking, parts ordering, shop time, shipping, installation and costing of signs for individual large sign projects.
Overall software chosen should be chosen for integration into company wide project tracking of multiple projects with diverse start/finish dates with cost and manpower demands available for management purposes.

Objective is a pilot adaptation and demonstration of a project management software package to the Signcraft enterprise.
Ronald A. Quarles,   any major with Primavera or Microsoft Project interests

American Magotteaux Co., Pulaski, TN
 In the manufacture of ultra hard iron castings grinding is required to provide dimensional tolerances required in liners for grinding systems. Grinding is a potential source for cracks which compromise the integrity of the casting and a technique is needed to identify critical size grinding cracks for use in a production environment. This problem will require the identification of critical crack size as well as identification of non destructive techniques to detect cracks of that size or larger in production.
Mike Cesarini,   ME+EE+CompE

Whirlpool Aircare Global Product Design Center, LaVergne, TN (Pending Whirlpool management approval 9/8/04)
1. Extend and test Automated precision refrigerant injection apparatus for use in optimum charge determination on room air conditioners and dehumidifiers developed by VUSE 2003-4 team  ME+EE+CompE
2. Develop test fluid delivery system for testing printed circuit boards for arc tracking, high resistance solder joints and surface contamination.  ME+EE

Jurgen Pannock, Whirlpool
30.  From Joel Barnett, re ME & EE/CompE pending projects x34780,

Here are the potential project sponsors and (approximate) project topics at this time:
 DENSO:  Quality control issues related to manufacture of automotive electromechanical components Taken by Benjamin Berube (ME), Nathanial Ernstoff (ME), Oliver Robbins (ME), Timothy Langer (BME), Mark Alsentzer (EE)
 Toshiba (pending management approval): ME, Process engineering concerning large-screen television manufacture
                                                           EE, Real-time test of electronic components in large-screen television manufacture
 NASA-JSFC/VU Intelligent Robotics Laboratory:  Design of electromechanical components for Segway autonomous robot MEs Jennifer Avril, Caitlin Connolly, Travis Wade, Chris Thompson (EE)
 Lexmark, Inc.: Product improvements of ink-jet printers Taken by MEs Mohd Kamaruzzaman, Muhammad Kassim, Shamsiddin Salleh, + Nur Shahirah (EE/CMPE)
 Saturn Corp./General Motors (Pending management approval): Process engineering for Saturn vehicles
 Coca-Cola Corp.: (Pending)
 TVA/VU Diamond-Film Laboratory:  (topic available if needed)    MEs Brien Blandford, Zachary Douglas, Christopher Long

31.  Donald L. Kinser, Ph. D., PE, 322-3537  will coordinate

GAF Building Products, Nashville, Projects for equipment improvement: 
1. Chopper noise reduction.  ME’s David Hunter Lammlein is interested in this project, please contact him.
2. Cold joint design improvement. ME’s David Hunter Lammlein is interested in this project, please contact him.
3. Air cooling system for refiner glass line refractory. ME’s David Hunter Lammlein is interested in this project, please contact him.
4. Hold down roll design improvement. ME’s
5. Design of side discharge of glass from the melter. ME’s
6. Dilution air system underneath the melter. ME’s

32.  Ted Larson, M.D., Radioloogy, 322-3357

1.  One topic could be endovascular occlusion of cerebral aneurysms:  new concepts. BME+ME
Self-expanding, biocompatible drug eluting cerebral microstents. 
taken by BMEs Sweet, Banarez, Pous, Lindberg
3.  A follow-up to last year’s in which the recommendations from that project are evaluated 

33.  Dr. A. Dozier, x22962,
Dr Dozier has identified the following ten projects:
  1. AMCOM Digital Archive
    Jon Ahlbin EE/CmpE
    Jostin Crass EE/CmpE
    Josh Sadler EE/CmpE
    Jonathon Suggs EE/CmpE
    Bill Whiteley EE/CmpE
  2. AMCOM MK66 Guidance Module
    Ashley  Devoto EE/CmpE
    Matt  Galante EE/CmpE
    Filiz Genca MechE
    Jeffrey Kohlhoff MechE
    Adrian Lauf EE/CmpE
    Jason Newquist MechE
    Shannon Stonemetz EE/CmpE
  3. AMCOM M445 Fuze Upgrade
Dakai Chen EE
Nathan Earle MechE
Scott Heinz EE
Eddie Hsu MechE
Andrew Kelly EE/CmpE
Andre Nesterenko EE/CmpE
Adam Vucelich EE


4. Toshiba MPEG/RGB Decoder

Josue Cabellero CmpE
Brett DiCio EE
Daniel Hooper EE/Math
Efosa Ojomo EE/CmpE
George Sewell CmpE/MOT

5. Toshiba RF/CATV Wireless Test System

Ahmed Fadzal EE/CmpE
Zamir Izam EE/CmpE
Lin Nurfazlina Kamaruddin EE/CmpE
Wan Othman EE/CmpE

6. RTS Wright Measurement System  cancelled

7. VU Plant Operations Steam and Billing Program

Mukmin Ahmad Kamal Hayati EE/CmpE
Nathan Alderson EE/CmpE
Chris Holt EE/CmpE
Farid Kamarudin EE/CmpE
Michael  Vargas EE/CmpE

8. VUMC GME Program Management System

Ezgi Alhun BME/EE
Lauren Hughes EE/CmpE
Saiful Kamarudin EE/CmpE
Meena Putatunda BME/EE

9. VUMC Soil Worm Activity Monitor

Saiful Adanan BME/EE
Suhaili Harun EE
Razi Mohd Salleh EE
Amani Rafi CmpE

10. VUSE/BME Sleep Cough Detector cancelled

The project definitions, project status, project staffing, project schedule, individual project descriptions, and project skill mix requirements may be found on the PowerPoint slide show HERE.

34.  Dr. Michael Miga  x38336

Project Description:             Skin cancers are a growing health concern in the United States with total annual cases being reported in the millions by the American Cancer Society.  Furthermore, structural alterations within cancerous skin-lesions cause unexpected patterns of anatomical deformation in response to mechanical forces.  The primary objective in this project is to create a novel dermoscopic imaging probe that acquires hi-resolution images before and after the application of a mechanical deformation which are subsequently used within an elasticity imaging analysis.  Once the new dermoscopic probe has been constructed, a series of phantom experiments will be conducted to assess its capabilities in determining realistic skin-based property measurements.  For these experiments, the skin-like phantom will be constructed on the scale of a melanoma lesion (~0.2-3cm).  If a dermoscopic probe could be designed to generate elastographic skin images that could accurately replace the histological characterization of the cancer margin or assist by reducing the time necessary for characterization, this would dramatically reduce the cost of clinical procedures and be of great value to surgical therapy.  BME + ME + EE

35.  Robert Malkin [] , part of Engineering World Health ( ) - local advisor Dr. King + ?
Click here for a pdf file on Design Projects That Matter - sponsorship by Engineering World Health and MicroNova Education Foundation ( )
36.  Kevin Fite ( or Rob Labadie ( )

Path Planning for Image-Guided Robotic Surgery:  This project involves robot endpoint path planning as it applies to image-guided, otologic (ear) surgery.  Briefly, image-guided surgery (IGS) is analogous to using a GPS system to navigate a motor vehicle – only in a much smaller scale.  Using input from IGS, a multidisciplinary team (surgeons, biomedical engineers, mechanical engineers, and computer science engineers) is programming a robot to perform surgery.  The proposed student project will analyze the steps made by a surgeon in completing a defined surgical task - in this case, a mastoidectomy in which a surgical drill is used to remove bone from behind the ear.  The path which the surgeon chooses will be compared to optimized paths which limit time, distance, or force.  These optimized paths will be used to program the computer to perform the same surgical task.  Comparisons will then be made between the robot and surgeon analyzing accuracy and efficiency. 

Team make-up:  open, video analysis and Matlab programming skills necessary  Taken by BMEs Michelle Schrenk,  Kari Petrik,  Jennifer Holland,  Natalie Cox, and Andrew Prescott (CompE)

37.  Dr. James Sheller

Design and build a system that measures real-time pressure and flow through a plunger system containing weights for variable resistance. This is a breathing device that will quantify disparities of pediatric asthmatic patients between blacks and whites. Pressure and flow will be compared to perception of difficulty of breathing.   taken by Eleasa Kim (BME) and Travis Gorkin (ME)

38.  Steven J. White, MD, Asst. Professor of Emergency Medicine, VUMC

Emergency Airways – Modification of Transtracheal Jet Ventilation and Retrograde Intubation Techniques
Taken by Fritz Haimberger

39 Dr Bob Galloway
Phantom Simulation of Liver Motion during Normal Breathing: Brief Description: There are many advantages to being able to deliver therapy to a very specfic location in the liver. In delivering therapy, problems arise when the motion of the liver inside a human subject during breathing is not accounted for. Our project involves construction of a mechanical system to simulate the motion of the liver during regular breathing patterns in order to develop methods for localized therapeutic delivery before actual use of therapy in human subjects  Taken by BMEs Ian Henderlong, Ian Dallmeyer, and Tuta Guerra
~ 38+ advisors, ~ 104 projects, as of October 25, 2004