BME/ME/EE/CompE  Projects Proposed 2006

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.  The design faculty member who solicited this project is indicated thus:  King,  Barnett or Dozier.  This is the first person, generally, that you should also contact when interested in a project.  Please do not approach project sponsors one at a time if you have a group interested in the project.

All students please note:  The collegiate inventors competition (sponsored by the USPTO) is held each year (2006 will be posted) please see for details.  Consider entering this contest this coming Spring.  Also note that there is a National Scholar Award for Workplace Innovation and Design which any major can enter.  See for details.  See also for a student materials design competition.  See also  to enter the fifth annual Emhart "Create the Future" Design Contest, featuring a top prize of $20,000 or a 2007 hybrid car.

contact information/project description
1.  Hart Freeland Roberts, Inc., James Easter (  and Emily Mowry ( )    King

Design Topic Title:             Designing the Ideal Cancer Center for the 21st Century 

Description:  Designing healthcare facilities is a unique and challenging process which requires a working knowledge of the flow and functions of different departments in healthcare-delivery.  With the advancement of technology, cancer centers are becoming more prevalent and complex in nature.  In this project, we want to create a program layout for the “ideal cancer center of the 21st century.”  Both small free standing satellite centers and comprehensive cancer centers will be studied in this research. Case studies will be conducted with “real clients”.  We require at least one student with biomedical research experience and prefer to have at least one student who has a basic knowledge of AutoCAD (or who is a quick learner in similar applications). 

Taken by BMEs Lisa Crain, Allyson Brown, & Tricia Gruhn.  A CE or student with AutoCAD experience needed.

2.  Point of contact: Patrick Harris [] , Pharmasys, Inc.     King

Design Topic Title:  Designing a Point-of-Care Bedside Bar Code Verification System

 In recent years, preventing medical errors has been a major initiative of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine, medical errors affect an estimated 1.5 million people, killing several thousand in the United States each year.  Medical errors cost an estimated $1.5 billion annually in the US.  A common medical error occurs during the administration of medicine to patients.  The FDA has strongly recommended a bar code system to reduce this error.  The system works by scanning the bar code of the medication, the bar code on the wrist band of the patient, and the nurse’s bar code on his/her identification badge.  If there is a conflict, the system will alert the nurse.  The idea is to uphold the five patient rights: right patient, right drug, right time, right dose, and right administration route.

 A current solution used to reduce medical errors is unit-dosage.  Bulk medicines are packaged in single doses so that patients take the correct amount each time.  The unit-dose solution can be incorporated into the bar code system where each single-dose is labeled with a bar code.

 The major objectives of this design project include, but not limited to: 

  • Reflect the needs and constraints of the current hospital environment and consider pharmacists, nurses, and hospital IT professionals when making design decisions;
  • Include software, hardware and other digitized apparatus to develop and execute the bar code system;
  • Be adaptable to a number of hospital settings and should interface with an organization’s existing software and IT architecture;
  • Be HIPAA compliant and consider network security issues;
  • Be easily adapted and intuitive for end-users.

BME + EE + CompE ...         Taken by (Nicholas Ryan - BME),  Jason Whaylen (EE), Talbot Hansum (BME/EE), Alex Stramel (EE) and Vanessa Luckman (BME/EE)

3.   Dr. Bryan Cotton 6-0189 Trauma/Critical Care    King
RO1 funded project for the capture & analysis of SaO2 & BP data in multiple hospital environments:   Brief description: Among patients who survive severe illness and prolonged Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stays, acute neurological impairment (most notable in the form of delirium) and long-term cognitive decline are the greatest threats to a meaningful recovery. Patients with ICU-associated delirium are not only at a higher risk for mortality, consume more resources, and have longer and more expensive hospital stays, but this population is at an increased likelihood of developing long-term cognitive impairment (LTCI). Millions of elderly ICU survivors (30-80%) will develop an acquired LTCI which has been demonstrated to be as debilitating as mild/moderate dementia and may last several years.

Potentially modifiable risk factors for the development of ICU-associated delirium include sleep disturbances and prolonged exposure to potent sedatives (routinely administered to patients requiring ventilator support). Other risk factors likely exist, but to date, have not been critically evaluated. Previously, hypoxia and hypotension have been shown to significantly worsen outcomes in patients with traumatic brain injury. More importantly, the cumulative depth and duration of these secondary insults appears to better correlates with outcome. As well, hypoxia and hypotension have been suggested by some leaders in the field of cognitive dysfunction as likely contributing factors to the development of both delirium and LTCI.  

The ICU Brain Dysfunction Group at Vanderbilt University has recently been awarded an RO1 grant from the National Institute of Health. The proposed investigation is to be an observational cohort study that will enroll 800 adults requiring mechanical ventilation in medical and surgical ICUs. This will involve four different hospitals in the Nashville area. Currently, the ability and means to collect continuous data for hypoxic (pulse oximetry or oxygen saturation, SaO2) and hypotensive (systolic blood pressure, SBP) events at these four hospitals is inadequate at best. More importantly, none of the four hospitals share the same electronic methods for data collection and all have varying abilities to do so.

Our group is currently in need of (1) a dedicated evaluation of the ability of each hospital to capture the previously mentioned data points (Sao2 and SBP), (2) creation of a mechanism to electronically capture these variables on a continuous basis (every 5-10 minutes), and (3) successful implementation of such a program for data capture at all four hospitals for all 800 patients during the study period.

Goals: develop a system for the continuous (every 5-10 minutes) electronic data capture of SaO2 and SBP at all four hospitals.

Success will be defined as: the electronic capture of continuous data on all 800 patients during the study period.

Hospitals: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Middle Tennessee VA Medical Center, St. Thomas Hospital, and Metro-General Hospital.

See for earlier work.     BME + CompE + EE

4.  John Enderle, University of Connecticut, King

The three design challenges from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Medical Instrumentation for this 2006-7 academic year are:

  • Accessible Home Vital Signs Monitoring System
  • Accessible Infusion Pump Interface
  • Accessible Power-Assist Hospital Bed Back Angle Controller
Project details here.                   Project rules here.       All majors
5.  Robert A. Malkin, Duke University & Engineering World Health  ( King

Here is the new file for EWH projects for 2006-2007. You will notice one new facet of the projects.  Starting this year they must be locally producible in quantities of 1-5!  Students have to document contacts (telephone, not e-mail) with developing world clinical engineers to show locally manufacturability.  If they don’t know anyone in the developing world, EWH will provide a contact phone number.    EE + ME + BME + CompE dependent on project

6.  Dr. Brad Maltz  brad.maltz@Vanderbilt.Edu             King
I am still very much interested in developing the thumbpad controlled endoscope as we talked about several months ago  BME + ME + EE + CompE
7.  Dr. John Wikswo              King
I expect to submit two - one for T-cells, and another for Bioreactors.
8.  R.J. Roselli,       King
Design of effective diagnostic online homework modules using CAPE and eLMS: Research has shown that timely online feedback while working through a problem can be an effective way of learning material outside the classroom.  Dr. Roselli is developing a general data-driven template for constructing engineering homework problems using the Courseware Authoring and Packaging Environment (CAPE) and an experimental Learning Management System (eLMS).  Students wishing to contribute to this design project should have reasonable programming skills.   Taken by BMEs Katie Dwyer & Andrew Slatton
9.  Dr Frank Carroll   FEL center   King

1.   Design and development of a coherent glass X-ray detector – converting X-rays to light or charge is an efficient multistep process that may be improved using coherent fiberoptic plates. This project will explore such a customized approach to detecting and amplifying monochromatic X-rays in diagnostic applications.

 2.  X-ray focusing with bent crystals – mosaic crystals and true crystalline structures could be used to focus X-ray intensity for certain monochromatic X-ray applications such as a new type of radiotherapy. This project will explore these capabilities for optimizations of such a focusing device.

 3.Near-field X-ray phase contrast using bowed silicon crystals – Schemes to use Laue crystals for the performance of a new type of imaging called phase contrast imaging require extremely precise alignment around the rocking curve to extract the information in the transmitted beam. Experiments with a spherical/conical wavefront of monochromatic X-rays will be tested using carefully formed crystals to perform PCI near the X-ray source.

 4.  Picosecond beam diagnostics – Tunable, monochromatic X-rays emanating in picosecond pulses need to be diagnosed as to energy, time and flux on these incredibly short timescales. Designing diagnostics for these beams will be the focus of this work.  

 5.  Using fluorescence X-rays for non-invasive biopsy – Collimating a tunable, monochromatic X-ray beam and passing it through tissues while detecting the fluorescence X-rays produced will be attempted in thick tissues to try to differentiate malignant from benign diseases with the hopes of doing away with invasive biopsies. Taken by Kevin Lin (BME) & Trey Reece (EE), another 1 or 2 BMEs needed.

6.  Scanning bed design - Complete and prototype a special purpose scanning bed for tomographic studies of the female chest wall.

BME + ME + EE + CompE + ...
10.  Dr. Mike Holzman x35613    King
Endoluminal Closure Device: In recent years, there has been a growing enthusiasm for what is being referred to as "natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES)."  This technique involves taking the currently utilized flexible endoscopes and performing common diseases which have been traditionally done via transabdominal operations (laparotomy or laparoscopy). The potential benefit of NOTES is the ability to perform a completely incisionless operation. There are currently individuals performing solid organ (appendix, gallbladder & spleen) surgery via a "transgastric approach." This entails making a gastrotomy (hole made in the stomach) to gain access to the peritoneal cavity.  Continuation of + ME
11.  Dr. Mark Richter, Dr. Paul King, & others               King

"A bright and adorable 7 year old boy with an orthopedic impairment involving extremely shortened forearms, missing digits, and limited range of motion at elbows needs an assistive device to help him pull his pants up and down for toileting.  He can grasp with two fingers on the left hand but has no grasping ability with the right.  Doctors, OT, school staff, and parents have been unable to solve this problem which is beginning to affect the child’s self-esteem.  Can you help?"     BME + ME, anyone with an interest in prosthetics  Taken by BMEs Jennifer Young, ...

12. C. Chris Kao, MD, PhD,, 322-6492   King
Complete the Parkinson's project from two years ago,  - see   BME + ME
13.  Dr. Mark Richter, MAX-Mobility 837-6947     King

1.  Biofeedback System for Propulsion Training


Over half of the wheelchair user population has developed upper limb pain and injury. Propulsion technique is one aspect of wheelchair use that has been found to be associated with upper limb injury. Biofeedback of propulsion technique involves providing performance information to the wheelchair user so they can work to improve their technique. With repeated training sessions, wheelchair users will be able to develop an improved technique that should help to preserve their upper limb health.

The ability for the wheelchair user to interpret and respond correctly to the biofeedback is essential to the success of propulsion training. This project will be focused on the design and implementation of the biofeedback interface. The most promising of those designs will be formally tested with up to three wheelchair users from our subject database.

Text Box: Fig. 1: An examples of a biofeedback design developed using LabView. The target values are achieved when the vertical sliders are aligned with the thick horizontal black bar.
Biofeedback will be provided to the users via a computer screen projected onto the wall directly in front of them as they push on a treadmill. An example of an interface design is given in Fig. 1. This screen layout was developed using LabView. There are many different styles of gages and alternate graphical representations available within the LabView programming environment that will be explored. Once the users reach their target values, they must maintain that technique. An audio component to the feedback will be used to alert the user in the event that performance values deviate substantially from the targets. This will allow the users to divert their attention from the computer screen and concentrate on maintaining a consistent push stroke. Other audio options that will be explored include: a metronome timing beat, a continuously variable tone whose frequency is tied to a performance value and simple voice commands.   Taken by BMEs Soike, Reding, and Chadwick

  ME + EE + CompE + BME

2.  SmartCaster Heading Control System  A second project involves the design of a leveling system: Sidewalks and roads are designed with a cross (side) slope to promote water drainage to the gutters. Cross slopes are a particular hindrance to wheelchair users because the wheelchair tends to turn and roll down the cross slope. In order to continue moving straight ahead, users must push both forward and upward into the cross slope, which requires considerable effort. This increased loading is borne by the users' arms, which are at risk for developing overuse injuries. The SmartCaster is an add-on product that makes pushing along a cross slope as easy as pushing on a level surface.

 See King or Richter for more details.    BME + ME + CompE + EE

14. Russ Waitman, x63335 [] (Medical Informatics)   King
Are you interested in improving patient care?   Are you considering attending medical/pharmacy school or a degree in biomedical informatics?  Professor Russ Waitman leads the Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  The system, WizOrder, is also available commercially from McKesson Corporation as "Horizon Expert Orders".  This project, it's commercialization and the ongoing partnership are the largest financial technology transfer Vanderbilt University has made to date.  This system provides 24/7 decision support to every inpatient and Emergency Room visit at VUMC (over 6 million orders on over 120,000 cases per year).  There are many projects: ranging from those database oriented infrastructure, C++ application programming, Web development, and projects which center around building decision support modules for clinicians.  Examples of decision support projects that need to be accomplished and expanded in the coming year are:
Decision support to improve treatment for patients with Community Acquired Pneumonia.  Would involve working closely with pulmonologists and emergency room physicians, pharmacists, and nurses.
Decision support to alert physicians to changes in renal function in patients on nephrotoxic drugs.  Would probably be piloted in the pediatric environment and involve working with pediatric pharmacists and nephrologists.
These projects required structured thinking but advanced programming experience is not required.  Past projects have been accomplished by medical students as well as National Library of Medicine undergraduate trainees.  C programming and LINUX experience is a plus.  A successful project will involve understanding CPOE and the clinical problem, building the decision support modules, then studying their impact in the Spring, and writing a paper for submission to a national conference or journal . 
   good programmers - any major  EECS student Andrew Jurik is looking for team members for this project.
15.  Dr. Bruce Beyer  Ob/Gyn 61103                               King
I am interested in working on surgical ties that work much the way a cable tie works.  It would need to be made of absorbable material.  BME + ME  Taken by Katie Good & Emily Schaefer
16.  Dr Wes Ely and others @ VUMC    King 
Continue, finish involving measurement and use of oxygen saturation data...  (VU, VA, St. Thomas, Meharry, ...)    BME + EE + Comp.E
17.  Dan France, PhD  King
placeholder for a proposed ED project.
18.  Marshall Summar, Kong Chen, Ken Roberts  King
Placeholder for a description of a process to complete and take to market the Exer-Station described in   EE + ME + CompE + BME, management interests
19.  Daniel Polley, PhD, x30577, & Mark Wallace Ph.D. (Hearing & Speech Sciences & The Kennedy Center)   King

The laboratories of Drs. Polley and Wallace are collectively interested in developing methods to record neurophysiological activity from brains of animals as they interact with virtual sensory environments.

 Project 1 (Polley): The project will require the development of a system to monitor neurophysiological, cardiac and musculoskeletal activity in the awake, behaving rodent performing different types of listening tasks.  This project will entail the development of a wireless device that will transmit signals to audio receivers contained within a rodent backpack.  Pursuant to hardware development and software control, this system will work in a closed-loop whereby the quality of sensory stimuli is dependent upon the physiological and behavioral activities of the rodent.

 Andrew Lin  (BME) is on this project & is looking for team members, preferably 1 or 2 EE or CompE, 1 BME

Taken by BMEs Andrew Lin, Vern Huang, Greg Apker, waiting to hear from 2 CompEs

Project 2 (Wallace): The project will consist of the creation of an integrated environment for the delivery of visual, auditory and somatic sensory stimuli to test multisensory perceptual and neural processes. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a virtual multisensory environment in which the delivery of sensory stimuli can be manipulated so as to alter the spatial, temporal and other physical relationships of the different sensory stimuli. The project will entail both hardware and software components, and will include the design of devices for stimulus generation, as well as the construction of a user-friendly interface to control and coordinate stimulus delivery. In addition, the design must be readily adaptable to support the collection of neurophysiological and psychophysical data on established platforms.

 BME + CompE + EE + ME

Project 3 (Polley & Wallace): The project will focus on the development of quantitative data analysis software that is specialized for neurophysiological recordings.  Input data will vary from EEG signals (analog) to spikes (binary).

  any major

20. Douglas B. Sawyer, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, 6-1713  King

Programmable biofeedback chest “exerciser” for patients with heart and lung disease. Description: Person would wear device on chest.  Device monitors depth of respiration.  Device would remind person with vibration or other signal to take deep breath – reminder would come at programmed interval.  Device would also monitor person’s compliance with ‘program’.

Background:  Respiratory muscle weakness contributes to symptomatic shortness of breath of patients with heart and lung disease.  Exercising respiratory muscles has been shown to  improve:

  1. symptomatic shortness of breath,
  2. Clinical progression of heart and lung disease
  3. susceptibility to respiratory infection

Cardiovascular exercise provides respiratory exercise training, but is not possible for many persons with chronic lung or cardiovascular disease. 

Current technology to provide exercise for lungs is in the form of ‘incentive spirometer’, a plastic device that a patient puts to their mouth, and inspires enough air to make a ball or other indicator move a certain distance indicative of a deep breath.  Problem with current technology – inconvenient, and not something anyone would do in public. 

Device would be use first in clinical trial to test concept that periodic deep breathing provides a benefit  to a person with cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.  If trial successful, device then would be refined/developed for treatment of persons with these chronic illnesses.

Taken by Lauren Cassell, Margaret Gipson, Eileen Bock, Laurie McAlexander

There are other applications possible, including use as a monitor for sleep apnea.  BME + EE + CompE

21.  Kirby Pate, MD   King 
I have gotten out of mainline psychiatry, qualified for the sleep boards, and spend my time mostly seeing persons who stop breathing at night. I am also developing a service/clinic to test vigilance and need some help programming a protocol that is just starting to be used and is not available commercially. It probably will never be because it is in the public domain. ... Do you know of one now who could take a look at it? ...  BME + CompE + ...
22.  Dr. Carl Johnson ( ) x20205  King 
"I have such a project for a person who is an excellent programmer and is interested to design a data acquisition program for PC computer to drive an apparatus in my lab that acquires luminescence data of daily biological clocks. In addition to writing a program for controlling the data acquisition (inputs are light switches, outputs are motor controls), a data analysis program also needs to be written. I can give more details including showing you the apparatus itself at your convenience."   See: Website:   Any major with good computer skills
23.  Dr. Bill Walsh, Chief Nurseries Pediatrics Neonatology, 2-0545  King 
There is a new device called the Cerebral function monitor. We have purchased this device.  This device is used to obtain a three lead EEG from babies with suspected brain damage and is used to make decisions regarding whether there is sufficient risk of brain damage from low oxygen as shown by a suppressed signal or seizures to warrant experimental treatments. I have noticed that this device is so sensitive that it is easily confused with electromagnetic interference. For example an IV pump gave a seizure pattern. If there were an interested student I would like to evaluate the EMI of different pieces of equipment used in the NICU with the CFM and to develop a protocol or a shielding system for the device.   BME + EE  Taken by BMEs Brian Snelling and Colin Compas  Members needed
24.  Dr. Michael Miga, BME,   King 

Project 1:  A Novel Dermoscopic Elastographic Probe:  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 this project, a CCD Firewire camera already exists – however, a skin-friendly stretching apparatus needs to be realized, and a detailed investigation of the skin loading effects needs to be done.  Students will need to construct the apparatus, make measurements, and process data in MATLAB.  This project is for 2-3 students (BMEs, MEs, or EEs) Taken by BMEs Erica Bozeman, Markesha Cooke, and Stephanie Cruz

Project 2:  A Secure Web-based Tissue Modeling Platform: Project Description:  The use of computational modeling within preoperative planning, diagnostic screening, and surgical feedback is becoming an important analysis tool for improving healthcare.  The goal of this project is to generate a web-based platform for interacting with a finite element computer model of the brain.  With respect to resources, preoperative brain volumes exist, mesh generation software exists, and a model exists - the team will have to develop a secure web-interface, a series of interactive scripts to execute various programs, an email notification system, and repository (error handling will also need to be managed).  Considerable latitude will be given to the setup of the platform but the server should be a LINUX platform.  Experience with LINUX operating systems, web technology, general coding, and dynamic web programming is a good thing.  This project is for 2-3 students (primarily 2 CS students, with perhaps 1 BME).

25.  UNESCO & DaimlerChrystler   King 
International cooperative project proposal development/competition.  See for details.
26.  Project withdrawn, no funding.
27.  Thomas P. Rauth, MD, Department of Surgery, 322-9844 & Dr. Bob Roselli    King 
1) design of an ex-vivo system for measuring and calibrating laparoscopic band pressure in the OR.

2) design of an in vivo system for automatically adjusting pressure in a laparoscopic band to pre-set, time-varying set points.

Introduction: The laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (Lap-Band) produces sustained weight loss with a low rate of complications.  By convention, adjustments in the gastric stomal diameter are made by manipulating band volume.  Clinically, there is a wide range of volumes over which the Lap-Band produces weight loss.  We hypothesize that individual variability in the Lap-Band pressure-volume relationship accounts for this wide range in optimal Lap-Band volume.  The purpose of this study is to define a mathematical model that describes this variability and supports a practice of pressure directed Lap-Band adjustments.

Methods: Ex-vivo and in-vivo intra-band pressure measurements were recorded for Lap-Band patients at the time of insertion.  Pressures were measured with a Validyne Manometer Northridge, CA) using a standardized protocol.  Mixed effects regression modeling was used to generate a predictive model.

Results: Eighteen in-vivo and fifteen ex-vivo pressure-volume curves were analyzed.  The model: Pressure = β1(volume)+ β 2[(volume)1/2], describes the estimated Lap-Band pressure-volume relationship with r2 ≥ 0.99.  The formula: (in-vivo pressure)-(ex-vivo pressure), estimates the external pressure experienced by the stomach wall and is denoted Contact Pressure.  Estimated contact pressures with 95% CI’s for prediction at each clinically relevant band volume are illustrated in Figure 1 below.

Conclusion: Our predictive model illustrates that two different Lap-Bands could achieve the same contact pressures over a 2.5mL range of volume.  Clinically, this range is equivalent to 5 separate adjustments in band volume.  This variability might explain the wide range of Lap-Band volumes that produce weight loss.  The mixed effects regression model supports a need for further investigation into pressure directed Lap-Band adjustment.

                     Figure 1.








The above is likely one project for a group consisting of 2 BME + 2 ME + 1 EE/CompE student

Taken by BMEs Mark Fritz, Andrew Koivuniemi, David Mayhew, Chris Schroeder, and John Huidekoper

28.  Dr. Raul Guzman, Vascular Surgery King
Complete development of a computerized system for quantification of foot ulcer size.  BME, CompE, EE
29.  Maggie Curtin [ ] VEXTEC Corporation, with Dr. John A. Bers of EECS, King

Company Description: Product reliability influences every aspect of the corporate structure–from design and customer perception to marketing, finance, procurement, and operations. The responsibility for reliability, however, is completely delegated to small specialty units buried deep within large corporate organizations. Expectations are high, but it’s impossible for these small specialty groups to oversee a massive group of corporate product decision-makers. Yet it’s the decision-making by the corporate masses of non-specialists that locks in long term market perception about brand, sales, product potential, and corporate profitability.  

VEXTEC Corporation is about to change the conventional product launch process through Reliability Chain Management (RCM) enterprise level decision-making. RCM is a business intelligence software approach, analogous to SRM, CRM, and ERP, with an annual market potential of $10-20 billion. 

The enabling technology is advanced computational processing, empowering the corporate organization to anticipate long term product reliability in everyday decision making. VEXTEC is the only company in the world known to have such physics-based simulation technology, as evidenced by the Federal government’s $10 million in grant (development) funding given to VEXTEC since our start in 2000. The technology is now developed and validated through ongoing partnerships with companies like GE, United Technologies, BAE, Northrop Grumman, DaimlerChrysler, and Caterpillar.

 Project Description: VEXTEC is actively pursuing a first software launch within the auto/heavy equipment sector in Q1 2007. Marketing strategy and the business plan for this initiative is complete. A major international IT channel partner has been engaged with VEXTEC and additional channel partners are being cultivated. Similarly, VEXTEC has nearly finished developing strategy and business plans for the electronics and aerospace sectors for this sector.

This project opportunity will be focused on the medical device manufacturing sector. Limited target of opportunity discussions has identified market need with stent and artificial limb manufactures. The true market potential probably goes well beyond this; however, VEXTEC has devoted almost no resources to investigating the hypothesis and no effort has been made toward developing a comprehensive marketing strategy and business plan. 

The project team will be introduced to the VEXTEC technology and will be provided with insight as to how the company is pursuing ongoing initiatives. The team will engage in discussions with device manufactures to identify business opportunities and market value. It is anticipated that some face to face meetings will be required with device manufactures. VEXTEC will provide a limited amount of funding to offset these costs. As a result of this research, a handful of device manufactures will be identified as priority first launch targets. The team will further evaluate the similarities between these “short-list” companies, such as enterprise software used, software providers, and major consulting companies used at the corporate “C” level. Based on all this information, a draft strategic marketing plan will be developed. 
BME + ME + EECS, management interests
Taken by BMEs Aashish Bapat, Danny Shunk, April Boldt, Grainger Greene and Jason Deaner (ME)

30.  Matt Moore []  888-650-7653  King

3D Imaging Software:  Currently, a clinic will send in a foam cast of a patient’s foot, an orthotic is made from the cast and it is returned to the clinic.  This entire process can take up to 2 weeks to complete in the US and can be considerably more for other countries.  One way to reduce this is to cut down time on incoming packages.  A solution that is currently being used by some companies is to have the clinic take a 3D laser scan of the foot and send it in via the web where the company can reconstruct the 3D image of the foot.  This is a very costly solution and one that is not feasible for all clinics.  Using a flatbed scanner, capture a grayscale image of a foam cast.  Create an accurate 3D mesh using the grayscale intensity values from the 2D image.  (Note that this project is a continuation of a 2005-2006 project.  BME + CompE + ?  Taken by Michael Galante (CompE)
Derrick Snyder (CompE), Kathryn Yates (BME), Edward] Barrett Krei (BME)

31.  Bert Lariscy [, (678)826-3424] & Crystal Bates  ( King
When injury or surgical procedures involving the hand occur, rehabilitation may involve the use of a continuous passive motion (CPM) device. (See, for example,  Use of the device is often part of a rehabilitation program developed by a Physician, Occupational or Physical Therapist. The device is used for flexion and extension of fingers to help increase range of motion, avoid contracture, and prevent stiffness. The device is light, portable, and easy to use and is typically designed so that the patient can manage fitting it with one hand.

There are several CPM devices on the market today, and although they differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, they typically share certain common elements. These elements include: 1) programmability with associated interface/display, 2) defined range of motion (typically 270 degrees), 3) speed and force variability, 4) pause capability during flexion and extension cycles, 5) emergency stop button, 6) cycle stop if resistance to motions is greater than anticipated, 7) variable sizing for finger and hand variations, and 8) an elastic glove to which the device attaches with open finger tips and reversed seams.

Support for the project will be provided by Crystal Bates, an Occupational Therapist with 5 years of experience including a focus on orthopedic hand injuries.  The project sponsor is Bert Lariscy, Vanderbilt University EE graduate.  (Please note that this project might involve IP, thus the web site will need to be protected.)  BME + EE + CompE + ME
Taken by Matt Byrne, (ME), Jennifer Hornberger(BME), Jonathan Webb (ME), Aaron Hadley(BME) EE requested...
32.  Dr. Alan Bradshaw ( King

In the Vanderbilt University Gastrointestinal SQUID Technology (VU-GIST) laboratory, we use a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometer to measure magnetic fields associated with gastrointestinal electrical activity with the ultimate goal of developing a noninvasive device for the early diagnosis of GI diseases.

Project 1. Intraoperative gastrointestinal electrode. This project involves the design, fabrication and implementation of multiple electrodes for serosal recording of gastric and intestinal slow waves. Design issues include the size, configuration and type of electrode material, interfacing with current hardware and ease of use to expedite use in the operative environment.  BME + EE

Project 2. Design of SQUID gantry.  Currently, the SQUID is housed in a magnetically shielded room in the basement of Vanderbilt Hospital, and a nonmagnetic patient bed is used to maneuver the subject beneath the magnetometer.  However, with the present gantry system, there is no easy way to move the SQUID magnetometer itself. We would like to design a gantry that allows at least up/down movement of the magnetometer, and perhaps lateral movement and/or tilt, to facilitate the placement of our subjects and the optimal recording situation. The design would optimally include electronic control of the SQUID location.  BME + EE + ME + CompE
33.  Dr. Franz Baudenbacher  ( King
1.  Optical fiber based sensor to quantify calcium transients in single cardiac myocytes in a microfluidic environment,
Prerequisite BME 274 and BME 271 
BME + EE, Taken by BMEs Paul Clark, Martin Garcia, Chris Gorga, Jordan Lo Regio, John Ling

2.  Dr. Knollman and I will be sponsoring the following senior design project: Whole mouse heart perfusion system for high resolution optical and electrical recordings.  The redesigned system would aim to improve our current setup and allow us to rapidly exchange the bath solution, the perfuse aid, control the perfusion and bath temperature and perform optical and electrical recordings.  BME + EE + CompE + ME

34.  Dr Charles Lankford, Pharmasys King

The following projects were proposed in October 2005, too late for students to select...  If there is any interest this year, one or two might be feasible in addition to project # 2 above.

Design a portable EtO sterilizer

Design a 6 cf EtO Sterilizer and develop design verification and validation documentation to include master device records, Unit must be:

  • Portable
  • Inexpensive to manufacture and operate (less than 10 g EtO per cycle)
  • Installation requires only 110VAC outlet and a dedicated exhaust line to the outside
  • Sterilize at room temperature without external vacuum lines, steam generator or water
  • Be able to aerate products for a variable time at the end of the cycle
  • Must meet State and U.S.E.P.A. emission requirements without the need for additional abatement equipment.

 Design processes and a facility to manufacture tablets

Design a facility and processes to manufacture and bulk package 1.6 million tablets per day/5 days per week. Products will include:

  • 50 mg non-coated acetylsalicylic acid (generic aspirin) tablets
  • 325 mg coated acetaminophen tablets
  • 50 mg coated placebo tablets
  • 325 mg coated placebo tablets

Include all stability, incoming inspection and release laboratory equipment and processes. 

Design and cost estimates for a commercial tissue culture process system

Design a Commercial Tissue Culture Process System for growing artificial human skin.   The study should include the design of the processes, process equipment, packaging systems, storage equipment and shipping systems. It should be constructed using readily available commercial equipment and systems. 

Design a commercial microbiology lab and process flow for incubation and testing the sterility of biological indicators  

Design a low cost personal asthma monitor/inhaler combo with the ability to store and transmit historical data via wireless technology  Taken by BMEs Bell and Modi, more members requested

 Research and design implantable wireless glucose meter to continuously monitor blood glucose levels in humans (low cost, small size and safety is of primary concern)

Develop a control and monitoring system for steam sterilization. Data collection and plotting of temperature/pressure of penetration sensors is required.

Design a microbrewery
Mixed majors for each of the projects above...

35. Wesley P. Thayer MD, PhD, Plastic Surgery Fellow, VUMC, 428-3945,, and Carol A. Rubin PhD [ King

Reabsorbable Plate Strength Loss During Molding

Microplating systems are an integral part of facial fracture treatment and cranial vault remodeling. Traditional titanium systems were easy to use, strong, and produced few complications. More recently, concern about infection, exposure, transcranial migration, and growth restriction have led to the widespread acceptance of bioabsorbable plating systems. Many large series have proven their safety and efficacy in multicenter trials.

Reabsorbable plates are molded though repeated submersion in 90oC water baths. With short submersion times, the plates reportedly do not lose strength (manufacturer reference). However, when left in the molding bath for extended periods of time, these plates change color and appear to become more flexible. This study focuses on the effect of extended submersion in the molding bath on reabsorbable plate strength. We hypothesize that extended submersion advances the rate of hydrolysis of the outer layer of the plate. Although this may not translate to a clinically significant weakening in simple plating applications, when the plates are used in a cantilever fashion (see picture below), the outer layer is structurally the most important region. Weakening the plates in this layer could result in catastrophic failure.

We have already tested plates which were submerged for extended times in a cantilever apparatus and noted significant reduction in plate strength with time (see the graph below).

The goal of the project is to determine the material properties of the plates which have been exposed to the water bath for various times (i.e.: elastic modulus and bending strength, possibly viscosity). Also, using a finite element model of the plates as they would be placed in a cranial vault reconstruction, the minimal safe amount of plate needed to support the cranial fragment could be determined.






A photograph of the actual position on the brain of the material would not properly transfer to FrontPage, it is available on request from Dr. King or Thayer.  BME + ME


36-45  The following 10 sets of sponsored projects are ME sponsored, obtained by Dr. Joel Barnett

1) Nissan Motor Manufacturing – Smyrna, TN (Nissan is a major manufacturer of automobiles.)

Project: Altima engine pallet used for engine decking:  Currently we are building several variations of the Altima (2.5L, 3.5L, CVT, MT, & an export version).  The engine decking pallets are located on a ring line.  As the vehicle moves through the decking portion of the ring line, the engine for that specific car is decked to that vehicle.  Before an engine is placed onto the pallet, the pallet must be prepped for that particular engine based on the characteristics of transaxle type, engine size, etc…  The current method of prepping the pallet is to move jigs and pieces by hand.  With a very aggressive line speed and the large number if engine / trans variations, this method is not as efficient as we would like.

2) Lexmark Corp. – Lexington, KY (Lexmark is a producer of document printers and other office products.)

 Project: 1.  Develop improved test methods for accelerated corrosion testing of an inkjet printhead.  Study effects of time / temperature / applied voltage of inkjet printhead in the user environment.

Project 2.  Create apparatus for the study of transient air flow patterns over a printhead in motion while printing (smoke traces etc - some form of empirical visualization, specifically looking for flow patterns near the print zone of a printhead while carrier motion is taking place.

Project 3.  Localized nozzle plate surface energy characterization methods.  Create a method to determine surface energy of the nozzle plate surface on a very small scale (appr 30 square microns).  Some of the obstacles that make this very difficult are the evaporation that occurs while trying to measure very small liquid to surface interactions

3) NSF/VU Center for Intelligent Mechatronics – Vanderbilt University (The Center for Intelligent Mechatronics is a research laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  The Center is part of a national Engineering Research Center, sponsored by the National Science Foundation )

Project:    This project will involve design and fabrication of a pneumatically-actuated legged robot, which is to be powered by a liquid monopropellant.  Specific tasks include design via solid modeling, intermediate fabrication via rapid prototyping, and final fabrication via generation of design drawings, which are to be sent to a machine shop for external fabrication.  The project also requires implementation of a vision system, which is to be utilized for purposes of path planning.  Finally, the low and high-level control algorithms must be implemented on an on-board microcontroller.  (In consideration of limited project management resources, the project team should consist of no more than three people.)

4) DENSO Manufacturing, TN, Inc. – Maryville, TN ( DENSO is a manufacturer of electromechanical systems (starters, alternators, wiring, sensors, etc.) for automobiles and motorcycles.  They are suppliers to a number of vehicle manufacturers.)

Project A: Rectifier Washer Insulator Insertion Equipment

Background: There are 2 types of Rectifiers assembled at a BRE production line:
1) "Washer-type", which takes 3 Washer Insulators (one on each of 3 positions). High production quantity per month.
2) "Bushing-type", which takes 2 Washer Insulator on pos #1 & pos #2, but a Bushing Insulator on pos #3. Low production quantity per month.

Currently, the Washer Insulators for pos #1 & #2 are automatically fed and inserted on the Rectifier via Bowl Feeders with Chute & Drop mechanism. However, depending on the Rectifier type being produced, pos #3 requires either the Washer or Bushing Insulator. Due to the shape of the Bushing Insulator, the insertion process is manual for pos #3. The ideal case would be to have an equipment that can automatically feed & insert both types of Insulators on pos #3. Or, have 2 separate equipments for each type of Insulators. However, both of these cases would lead to complex designs with high cost of manufacturing and operation difficulties.

Project Goal: Design a low-cost automated equipment that can feed & insert Washer Insulator on pos #3 of the Rectifier, but it can be easily disconnected & set aside when producing the Bushing type Rectifier.

1) Low cost of manufacturing.
2) Easy connect/disconnect based on use.
3) Fully automated operation; except for connect/disconnect.
4) Enough Washer Insulator holding capacity to run continuously for 9-hours between replenishment.
5) Overall size of equipment must fit into the work area (on-site observation will be helpful).

Project B:  Cost efficient method of removing copper

Background: Global trend of copper price increases including scrap salvaging costs

Project Goal: Develop cost efficient method of removing copper components from sub-assembly to improve scrap salvage recovery costs

Examples of sub-assemblies with copper:

Slip-rings Coil
Coil Coil
Coil Commutator

5) SONOCO, Inc. – Nashville, TN (SONOCO is a manufacturer of materials using a proprietary method for packaging and light structural uses.  They are suppliers of products and systems to a number of manufacturers of consumer goods and food products.)

Project: 1-    We have the need to do some real time measurements in our production process. We currently apply liquids (wax and adhesives) in our process and need measure the amount and thickness applied, in real time. This project will require the student(s) to brainstorm different methods, determine what technology is available, and then perform real studies on the production equipment to tests the theories.

Project 2-    The second project would be the engineering study on paper shapes. We have a new product line we are developing and need to do some brainstorming and basic research on shapes and materials. This data will then be used for developing the next generation products.

6) Standard Candy Co., Inc. – Nashville, TN (Standard Candy is a manufacturer of candy and other snack food products.  Food production requires tight constraints on process control (time and temperature) and rigid cleanliness standards.)


A) Redesign of thermal control and processing systems for candy production.

B) Improvements in packaging technology.

C) Overall system evaluation and possible redesign of production flow.


7) NASA/Tennessee Space Grant Consortium – Vanderbilt University

Project:  The projects involve the broad area of Lunar Polar Exploration Robotics.  The robots contemplated for the Lunar Polar Exploration Missions are complex systems integrating computers, sensors, and actuators that will interact with the Lunar environment in complex ways.  The students will first work on identifying which robotic technology will be the most successful for a given Lunar exploration, or communication task.  To this end the students will use ROBOSIM: a robot simulation code developed by Vanderbilt University and NASA MSFC, and UMBRA: a modular modeling code developed by Sandia National Laboratories.  This will allow the students to analyze various aspects of the Lunar Polar Mission plan in order to design appropriate control, actuator, geologic sampling, robot arms, robot-to-robot communication, and robot-to-spacecraft communication systems.  The will develop all software in a manner that is compatible with the JAUS standard which is required for all future DoD and NASA systems such as multiple UAVs and robots.  The results of this first phase of work as described above will be used to feed into the second phase of the work which will be defined after visits to the MCFC Mobility Systems Laboratory.

8) Support Systems Associates, Inc. (SSAI) – Warner Robbins, GA (Support Systems Associates, Inc. (SSAI) is a privately owned, nationwide company that specializes in engineering, logistics and management services to both Government and industry. They are involved in the design and development of helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft and related components and systems.

Project: 2006-2007 SSAI Vandy team should use last year’s report of a Helicopter simulator training guide to investigate the feasibility of flying an actual coaxial model.  Goal here is to modify the helicopter training guide to make a training guide for a coaxial UAV.  Team will learn to fly the coaxial model, document how to do it for a novice, and demonstrate the flying techniques.


9) Vanderbilt University Medical Center/Pimbridge Consultants (Pimbridge Consultants is an engineering consulting firm specializing in project management and strategic planning of technical projects.  VUMC’s involvement concerns HVAC, utilities, and energy management issues.  This project does not involve health or medical issues.)

Project:   The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has commissioned an energy conservation task force. This task force is looking at different ways to conserve energy at VUMC. The test force has looked at several different options on how to use less energy and/or how to use it more efficiently, both of which result in lower energy costs.

            This project is heavily involved with engineering-economy-related issues. 

-         Estimate Construction Cost:  One must estimate the construction cost of building an underground thermal storage system.  Before one can do this, one must provide a rough design of the thermal storage system.

-         Estimate Energy Savings:  One must estimate the savings associated with consistent loading and sequencing of chillers to an optimum level.

-         Perform Net Present Value (NPV) and Breakeven analysis:  One must use cost and savings estimates to calculate ROI using Vanderbilt’s Waited Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

-         Other Expense factors to be considered

      Life cycle and maintenance cost of Thermal Storage
      Reduction of  future capital expenditures

      Centralized Control System
         Chiller sequencing
         Chilled water Distribution options (tie valves)

      Rate Structures
         Lower KW Demand charges
         Peak shaving
         Lower KWH charges?

 10) Tennessee Valley Authority/VU Nano-Diamond Laboratory – Vanderbilt University (The Tennessee Valley Authority is an agency whose responsibility is to provide electrical power to a large region of the central US.  The VU Nano-Diamond Lab located at Vanderbilt University is a research group devoted to the development of uses for nano-scale diamond particles in practical applications.)

Project:       For this project TVA is concerned with increasing the efficiency of their electrical network for the purpose of energy conservation.  To this end, in conjunction with the Nano-Diamond Lab, they wish to use nano-particle technology to enhance the performance of electrical transformers.  The specific project tasks would be to provide mechanical engineering support to this research effort.  This includes, but is not limited to, the design and fabrication of test apparatus, the measurement of material physical properties (such as viscosity), and other tasks as needed.

46-55 The following projects are listed in OAK under 2006/2007 EECS Projects by Dr. Dozier, they are relisted here for completeness.  (Note, for links to work, you must log into OAK under the 297 course listing.)
1.  University Club Point of Sale System Improvements
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Deborah Fluhart, Assistan Manager

Organization:  University Club of Nashville, Nashville, TN

This is a continuation of a project from last year.  The previous effort can be seen at  The data capture portion of the project works well, and is in production.  Several problems have come up since the turnover of the system.  These problems are related to the network in the building, and a large number of features that must be added in order to make the system usable for the administrators.

There is an existing "Country Club" system that is in use, which has many limitations.  The ultimate objective of the student-developed system is to replace the Country Club system with the LAMP-based student system. 

This project has immensely helped the efficiency of the University Club, and will be even more useful with the successful completion of the extensions envisioned this year.  The close proximity of the University Club to Featheringill Hall makes working with the customer quite straightforward.

If you have any questions, Dr. Dozier has the incite into their needs and operational issues.  A list of the details of the currently known issues that need to be added can be seen in the requirements document in this folder.

2. Air Conditioner Demand Scheduler Improvements
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Keith Benson, President

Organization:  Bonitron, Nashville, TN

This project is an upgrade of a 1990 era design.  The project effort would require monitoring control signals for 2 different air conditioners or heat pumps, and arbitrating the controls to permit only 1 to run at a time.  The existing system did not provide for temperature monitoring, or have any PID control.  The existing system is in production, and in need of an upgrade to modern design standards.  The project team will understand the current product, analyze the requirements for an upgraded product, and develop/implement an improved design.  Specifications for the existing design can be found in this folder.

3.  Battery Checker
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Keith Benson, President

Organization:  Bonitron, Nashville, TN

This project would develop a battery checker that would measure Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) for generator startup applications.  The basic function of the tester would be to record charge voltage, ie. 12 VDC or 2 v/cell, and then monitor sag voltage or ESR at the rated discharge currents, which can be quite high.  The tester should also be able to set the minimum acceptable terminal voltage, and determine CCA at that value.  This will require pulsing loads for 0.5 to 2 seconds.  We have the load banks.  There is a possibility that some of the technology developed on the Remotec project last year is applicable to this project.


4. Capacitor Checker
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Keith Benson, President

Organization:  Bonitron, Nashville, TN

This project is an update of a 1970s era design.  The proposed module would measure of devices with a capacitance value from 25 uF to 2 Farads at voltages up to 600 VDC.   The tester should be able to control charging functions, measure leakage currents, ESR, and differential capacitance over the voltage range of interest.  Safety considerations are of paramount importance in this design.  This product has significant commercial market potential.  Product data sheets are available in this folder.

5. Light Voltage Regulator Improvements
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Keith Benson, President

Organization:  Bonitron, Nashville, TN

This project would require a review of existing comptetitive products, and the design of the next generation of an existing product.  The project team would have to first review the existing design, and problems that have been previously encountered.  They would then test and characterize waveforms of different flourescent lighting ballasts and power factors in order to develop the concept for an adaptive lighting controller.  The existing product was designed in the early 1990s, and does not use modern micro-controller technology.  Data sheets for the existing product can be found in this folder.

6. Toshiba RSS HDTV Feed Capability
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  John Gawel

Organization:  Toshiba Digital Product Development Group, Nashville, TN

Toshiba DPDG develops the HDTV receivers for North America.  They have a need to develop product improvements to their existing receivers.  The improvements would display Really Simple Syndication (RSS) information from the web on the HDTV monitor in a "screen in screen" format.  The RSS feeds can deliver either HTML, web links, or other types of digital data.  The user must be notified of updated information being pushed from the web.  The user subscribes to one or more RSS feeds, such as weather, news, sports, or TV programming, and the information is updated on-screen via a 'push' on a regular basis.  The user should be able to add new feed subscriptions, and delete current subscriptions.  Project participants must understand the RSS protocol, which is referenced in this folder, and be able to redesign the existing HDTV receivers to present this data. 

7. Ultra-Compressed MPEG Animation Transport Stream Generator
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  John Gawel

Organization:  Toshiba Digital Product Development Group, Nashville, TN

Toshiba DPDG develops the HDTV receivers for North America.  They have a need to develop product improvements to their existing receivers.  The goal of this project is to create a software tool that generates MPEG transport streams in a highly compressed and limited format.  The tool would be used to create animation sequences from a single JPEG, or multiple JPEG images.  The initial animation desired consists of a single, large, very wide JPEG image as the input.  The output would be an MPEG stream that "panned" horizontally across the very wide JPEG image.  

Toshiba has a near term need for this tool.   It is critical that the tool use as many features of the MPEG video standard as possible, in order to generate the SMALLEST (most efficient) transport stream possible with the highest image quality.  Students may first demonstrate a PC decoding the tool's output transport stream.  For total project success, however, the tool's output must be confirmed on a Toshiba digital integrated television, which will be provided by Toshiba DPDG.  Project requirements can be seen in this folder.

8. Robotics Arm Project
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Alban Cambourne

Organization:  Square D, Nashville, TN

The robotic arm will be used to test the detection sensitivity of occupancy sensors. These sensors detect the presence or absence of human movement inside a designated coverage area and turn lights on/off depending on the detector output. Both major motion (someone walking through the coverage area) and minor motion (arm movement only) are to be tested. The robotic arm is used to test for minor motion. The dimensions of the arm are 15 inches long and 3 inches square. To comply with the standard testing criteria, the arm should rotate through a 90 degree arc in one second. The direction of movement should be either vertical movement (up and down) or horizontal (back and forth). Arm movement will be controlled via stepper or servo motors. In order to more closely emulate the human arm, the robotic arm will be heated to 952 degrees F to simulate the skin temperature of a human. This is done to improve the sensitivity of passive infrared sensors. The arm will be mounted on a movable cart and positioned inside the coverage area. The test technician will step outside the coverage area and activate the arm from a remote position. The robotic arm should be controllable from a computer via a communication link to be determined (serial, Ethernet, USB, wireless…).


1. Specifier Reports – Occupancy Sensors – National Lighting Product Information Program

2. A New Method for Assessing Occupancy Sensor Performance Using Robotics – IES Paper #32

3. NEMA Guide to Lighting Controls – National Electrical Manufacturers Association

9. Data-Driven Assessment/Evaluation System for EECE Laboratory Courses

Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  Lason Watai, Instructor

Organization:  Vanderbilt EECS, Nashville, TN

As part of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science’s (EECS) ongoing development effort in its undergraduate instructional laboratory courses, a database driven assessment and evaluation system is proposed. The system will be secure, efficient and expandable with a database structure that will cover existing laboratory courses requirements and allow for new ones to be added. It is expected that the developed system will be used by TAs for grading purposes, professors to evaluate student progress, and by the Department for assessment and evaluation of trends in performance outcomes (over longer periods) for ABET accreditation and other requirements. The system will also have provision for surveys and evaluations of surveys results. Specific system requirement details will be provided to the students who select this project. 

10. Building Electrical Design System
Faculty Mentor:  Andrew Dozier

Sponsor:  TBD

Organization: iDesign Services, Nashville, TN

Before a building is constructed the State of Tennessee requires licensed professional engineers to certify that the engineering designs (blueprints and specifications) are safe, and meet all the local and state codes.  This project deals specifically with the electrical engineering design of a building.  An electrical engineer will design the complete electrical system for a building, including the electric utility entrance into the building, the main switchboard, panelboards, lights, receptacles, fire alarm system, and all wiring in the building.  Most electrical engineering companies use AutoCAD to draw their electrical designs on the floor plan that the architect gives them. 

In addition to showing where electrical devices (receptacles, lights, panelboards, etc.) are located on the drawings, electrical engineers also calculate the number of amperes that will be on each wire and circuit breaker in the building.  The engineer must size the wire to handle the load (amperes), and size the circuit breaker to protect the wire.  Today most electrical engineers use a software program to calculate energy loads (proportional to amperes on the wire), and to lay out the circuit breakers in the panelboards.

iDesign Services, Inc. (a Nashville based electrical engineering firm) uses a program that they wrote in Microsoft Excel to calculate energy loads and layout the circuit breakers in the panelboard.  I-Design has recognized that it would be beneficial to have a software program written that would automatically take the electrical circuits drawn on the floor plan in AutoCAD and enter that data into the Excel panelboard design program.  They would also like this software program to assist in the panelboards layout. 

This project would be a combination of electrical engineering and software development. Students involved in this project would need to understand the basics behind how an electrical engineer shows a building system designed in AutoCAD, how loads are calculated, and how panelboards are sized and laid out.

56.  Prof John Wikswo & Kevin Seale
Title:  Three-dimensional microfabricated bioreactor and closed-loop control system.  (Alex Makowski, Michael Hwang, and Sam Cassady. )
The goal of the Bioreactor Project is to create an integrated microfabricated bioreactor, instrumentation, and computer system that can regulate cell growth within the device by changing chemical inputs based on sensor readouts.  This system will enable the study of the growth of cells within a contained microfluidic environment, such that the metabolic activity of the cells within the device is monitored via sensors that will ultimately be incorporated directly into the microfluidic setup.  This years senior design project will focus on measuring pH device output and growing three-dimensional cell structures (with the MCF 10A cell line) within a multilayer bioreactor.  The project group will choose and calibrate sensors for pH readings, while in parallel designing and creating bioreactor structures and culturing cells to be seeded in the bioreactor.

Title:     Optimization of T-cell trapping in a microfluidic device.  (Jeff Chamberlain, Matt Houston, Eric Kim)
A primary area of research in the VIIBRE labs is the study of T-cell signaling pathways within microfluidic devices. Current devices for cell trapping can be improved upon in regard to controlling the total number of cells trapped as well as the number of cells per trap, which will require a new design for the individual traps as well as the overall device. Included in the optimization of these methods will be the characterization of fluidic flow and molecular diffusion in the attempt to understand the behavior of the cells within the device.  As this project develops, it will be integrated with a modular peristaltic microfluidic pump and valve system.
External Group
Title:     Development of a modular peristaltic microfluidic pump and valve system.  (Jake Hughey, Matt Pfister)
A limitation in the miniaturization and modularization of microfluidic devices to study T-cells is external control of fluid delivery and removal.  The need to rapidly change the cells microenvironment typically requires the use of one or more bulky syringe pumps for each fluid being controlled. The design team will create a microfluidic platform which combines on-chip peristaltic pumps and valves which will be controlled by a computer program. The platform will be capable of seamless integration with other microfluidic devices, most importantly with the device developed by the other T-cell design group.

~ 52 sponsors, ~ 79 projects, as of 10/6/2006