Research & Innovation

Senior Design Expo 2010

On April 28, 2010, Stevens’ annual Senior Design Expo showcased an array of more than 80 innovative projects across all disciplines.

As part of their degree fulfillment, teams of graduating seniors demonstrate projects they have jointly engineered, often involving complex mechanical and electronic devices, as well as virtual prototypes.

Project teams of typically two to six students (and sometimes larger groups) work together over two academic semesters. Many of these projects are sponsored or mentored in collaboration with an industrial partner. In addition, many of the projects represent cross-disciplinary collaboration among teams.

Among this year’s projects:

The Lift of Faith is a hoist device designed to help disabled individuals to be more independent during water sports. Designed by Pietro Vardaro, Kostas Gatanis and Mahmoud Altayeb, the project is designed to facilitate a water skiing clinic for paraplegics.

“Paraplegics water ski for health reasons because their cardiovascular systems don’t get enough exercise. So this project helps them be lifted out of the water and then places them into their wheelchairs,” said Gatanis.

The project also addressed the size, shape and conditions of the dock.

“There isn’t a whole lot of room on the dock so we needed to have a small base. In order to do that, we used a double base plate and that sandwiches the wood and gives it more stability. That was necessary because along with paraplegics, there are blind people on the dock who also need to move around,” said Vardaro.

The Digital Triage Assistant is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between ECE and Biomedical Engineering students. This integrated, scalable, smart system is capable of patient registration, vital sign monitoring and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) connectivity. Team members included Malika Bhargava, Leticia Ennist, Rosemary Garofalo, S. Raza Husain, Vaida Jakimaviciute, Cameron Abt, Szymon Butryn and Glenn Shevach.

“We’ve developed a mobile vital signs recorder for the emergency room,” said team member Peter Backeris. “The purpose is to streamline triage by allowing vital signs to be recorded simultaneously on one device and to allow those signs to be automatically documented by saving them to a database. We’ve come up with a PDA that operates the device and a barcode scanner that’s used to link a wristband ID to a patient.”

The smart system can be operated by technicians, freeing up nurses to do more specialized tasks, while providing a full set of initial vital signs for all patients to support triage assessment and clinical evaluation.

“The problem is that triage takes a really long time. Just measuring vital signs takes about seven minutes,” explained Vaida Jakimaviciute.

“Also, when you press record, the signs are sent to the central monitoring station, so nurses or technicians don’t have to record them manually,” said Jakimaviciute.

The Biomedical Engineering project Immunoclue is a handheld diagnostic device for point of care use in antigen detection. The device was developed by team members Marc van de Rijn, Zoe Folchman-Wagner, Jen McGuire, Steven DeFroda and Peter Movilla.

“This is a rapid diagnostic test for Chlamydia,” said DeFroda. “We start Chlamydia in tubes and then we add colored polystyrene beads that turn the solution blue. The beads have a high affinity to bind to the Chlamydia, so we have the colored bead that will attach to Chlamydia if it is present.”

The solution sits for three minutes so it fully attaches. Then a magnetic bead, which is conjugated with an antibody specific for the Chlamydia, is added.

“If there’s Chlamydia present, the magnetic bead will attach to the Chlamydia, which is already attached to the colored aspect,” said DeFroda.

The mixture is then loaded into the diagnostic device.

“The device has a magnet, which can pull the magnetic beads to one end, so if Chlamydia is present, the colored part that was attached to the Chlamydia and attached to the magnetic bead would get pulled to the end, and we’d see a color change,” said DeFroda.

All told, the entire test and wait time is less than 12 minutes.

“You could put a test like this in a doctor’s office. A patient can give a sample and after 10 minutes, that person would know if they need to begin treatment or not,” said DeFroda.

Gravtrav, developed by Michael Gallo, Roxanne Le and Kyle Seppala, is a door-to-door travel integration focused on connecting livery services to airport travel. This is the link between the travel agency, car service and traveler. It consists of three fronts: A module that would exist into existing travel sites, an independent website through which a traveler could book a car service, and a mobile application to book a car service from any location.

“We came up with an idea for an app for a phone – iPhone, Droid or Blackberry – where you click a button and it locates the nearest taxi services or car services. It tells you how far they are and how much they cost,” said Seppala.

Easy Keys is a mechanical and electrical self-tuning system for an upright piano. The device, aimed at music studios, schools and conservatories, was developed by team members Victoria Theese, Tom Oliphant, Russel Jones, Pat Rienzo and Kieran Walters.

“A piano costs about $100 for a professional tuner come and tune it. You can’t really do it yourself. It’s hard and it’s a skill acquired over a lifetime,” explained Russel Jones.

Piano tunings also have to be scheduled in advance.

“With our system, you can just install it on your piano, turn it on and walk away while it works,” said Jones. “It has a tuning mechanism that’s suspended on guide rails above the tuning pegs. It moves autonomously based on a preset algorithm to the peg you want to tune. It sits down on the peg, engages it with a socket head, strikes the string, and a microphone picks it up. The microphone determines whether it’s sharp or flat and directs the motor to take the correct action. When it verifies that it’s in tune, it moves on to the next string.”

The Rescue Me Phone is a downloadable application available to anyone who owns an iPhone or an iPod Touch. The proposed system will allow rescue workers to locate and identify victims buried in rubble after a natural or man-made disaster with a significantly greater degree of accuracy than is currently possible. This Proof of Concept joint project between Business and Technology and Computer Science students was developed by Richard Girouard, James McEve, Haoyun Wan, Rui Xiong, Ryan Barnes, Javier Brion, Brian Donohue, Daniel Fleming and Andrij Kuzyszyn.

“When you’re trapped because of an earthquake, 95 percent of the time, there’s no way of communicating with the surface, because there’s no cell service,” said Richard Girouard. “We’ve come up with an app that doesn’t involve any wireless connection of cell phone service. It works through percussive messages, like banging on a pipe, banging debris or blowing a whistle.”

With the application, the trapped person would enter the message he or she wants to send to rescuers. The app counts down to zero and then signals to the trapped person to make a percussive noise.

“At the surface, you have the rescue team, who would also have the application. The application on the receive side would decode the message and turn it back into the text or numeric message,” said Girouard. “This is something that we can install on any cell phone.”

Tabulate IT, developed by David Arvelo, Brandon Langley, Dario Torres and Raymond Lopez, serves to create a powerful interface for both novice and expert guitarists. It will provide through computer software a means for guitarists to compose music by charting, in tablature and sheet music format, notes played in real time.

“When I started playing guitar, I would come up with melodies but I would have to stop playing to write them down,” said Arvelo. “Because your brain is in a different mode of thinking, sometimes you forget what you’re writing. This group came together to develop something that will write your music automatically as you play the guitar. Right it will recognize which frets you play.”

Though the device is still under development, Arvelo said only a few more steps are needed before a guitarist could use it to write his or her music.

The Wave Energy Power Generator generates power from the energy present in water waves. Mechanical Engineering students Joe Arena, Morgan De Sena, Burke Reynolds and Keenan Slobodzian designed a buoy to harvest the energy present.

“This buoy sits in the water and as waves go past it, pushing the buoy up and down, it oscillates on a guide pole with a magnet inside,” said Reynolds. “There are wire coils in the buoy and as it passes through the magnetic field, it generates current.”

The current produced from the linear magnet is converted from AC to DC via the use of a simple circuit.

The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon project was a multi-disciplinary team effort composed of engineers from Stevens and architects and designers from Parsons The New School for Design. The project, sponsored by Viessmann and the US Department of Energy, is part of is a collegiate competition where 20 teams are selected to compete with fully functional, net-zero-energy homes of their own design that are then judged and scored in 10 diverse contests.

Mechanical Engineering students Miryam Dreyfuss, Erich Rau and Stephen Yanczura were the members of the Stevens team.

“One house is actually going straight to the site in D.C. and the other house is going to a competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2011,” said Dreyfuss. “After the competition, the two houses will be joined together to become a duplex for two families.”

The house will maximize the passive systems in a home, resulting in more efficiency, less energy used and a lower heating or cooling costs to the homeowner or resident.

“We’re also working with Habitat for Humanity on this, because they really like the idea of a passive house. They liked the idea so much that they’re interested in integrating it into all their builds across the country,” said Dreyfuss.