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Current Project Ideas

Drexel Ride

Project Description

The Drexel Ride is an existing motion platform simulator housed at Drexel. It is a 2-ton, 3 degree-of-freedom, hydraulic amusement park ride now converted into a gaming and scientific research platform for the use by Drexel University’s College of Media Arts & Design. A joint Digital Media and Computer Science senior project team in 2013 led by Professor Diefenbach created a multiplayer ride/game experience called fLight where people waiting in line for the ride play on iPads the two riders of the vehicle.

Last year, Professor Chang and Professor Diefenbach had a group upgrade the control system with a donated system from National Instruments. Our MechE group created a system that can be used with the original hardware which has all safety protocols designed in, or with the new NI hardware. This platform’s control system was comprised of older hardware and proprietary software that offered limited control and functionality. A fully controllable model needed a clear representation of the system’s dynamics and working. This was done last year by two engineering teams by reverse engineering the existing system. A hydraulic map was created and kinematic relations between the ride motions and actuator motions were established. A control and monitoring device donated by National Instruments was used to replace the existing control computer. This device was used to send input signals to measure responses. The response was used to model the dynamics of the system. The Controls team created a closed loop effective system based on these dynamics that can be used to conduct further motion research. While the new controller hardware and software can now control the mechanical system, the original performance and safety protocols are not yet present in the new system.

For this year, Professor B.C. Chang and Professor Paul Diefenbach would like to get a MechE, CS, ECE, and Biomed team working together on designing and implementing a closed-loop control system that would provide safe and precise control of the motion based on the mechanical operational limits of the platform as well as the physiological effects on the riders.

View videos of motion platform

Team Members

  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical or computer engineers
  • Biomedical engineers
  • Computer scientists

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Implementation of an expired patent using current technology

Project Description

The objective is to find an expired patent (older than 17 years) which interests the group. The group will then implement the device/invention using current technology. The intent is three fold:

  1. to understand how to read and interpret a patent
  2. to prove that there is enough information in the published patent for “one skilled in the arts” to make an operational device as described
  3. to utilize current technology to implement the device and improve on it. 
The end goal is to have a working system at the end.

Team Members

Group size is dependent on project selected

Contact

Faculty Profile
Email Dr. Chmielewski

Provide a brief list of patents you are interested in. Provide a terse list of your skills needed to accomplish the project and the skillset you have in a table format.

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Pressure and infusion feedback mechanism for continuity of volume during ophthalmic microsurgery

Project Description

Presently when performing intraocular surgery the volume of the eye is maintained by infusing fluid under gravity from a hanging bottle while material is removed from the eye as in the procedures of phacoemulsification or vitrectomy. This balance is at present visually achieved through observation by the surgeon. This is suboptimal because changes in pressure have a physical effect on the tissues of the eye and copious irrigation can wear away surface cells such as the corneal endothelium. In this study a micro-pressure transducer is adapted to monitor the intraocular pressure and to feedback with fluid infusion to alleviate some of the risk and dangers inherent with present-day ophthalmic micro-surgery.

The senior design project will consist of building a prototype device that will be used to demonstrate this concept using a “simulated eye” (such as a small balloon filled with a jelly type substance). The students will utilize a real operating instrument as part of their project and make an external system to monitor and control the pressure. Success will be measured by demonstrating a plot of the pressure within some bounds during the time of a simulated operation.

Team Members

  • 1 biomedical engineer
  • 2 electrical or computer engineers
  • 1 mechanical engineer

Contact

Faculty Profile
Email Dr. Chmielewski

Provide a terse list of your skills needed to accomplish the project and the skillset you have in a table format.

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The eye as a sonic cavity

Project Description

The eye is an enclosed volume of inhomogenious material. If it is vibrated a standing wave should be created along its surface. If there is a discontinuity of the surface then this wave should have the characteristic change.

When the eye is lacerated or punctured it should be a change in the standing wave. At times it is not always easy to determine if there is a puncture in the eye. The puncture may be quite small and not need surgical exploration since it may self seal at a small enough size. Similarly if the puncture is posterior may not be found other than surgical exploration. If it is overlooked in the diagnosis, the results are devastating.

By resonating the eye with a transducer and using various methods to determine the status of the generated wave, it may be possible to answer these vital clinical problems.

The senior design project will consist of building a prototype device that will be used to demonstrate this concept using a “simulated eye” (such as a small balloon filled with a jelly type substance). Success will be measured by finding a small pin prick in the simulated eye membrane using the device.

Team Members

  • 1 biomedical engineer
  • 2 electrical or computer engineers
  • 1 mechanical engineer

Contact

Faculty Profile
Email Dr. Chmielewski

Provide a terse list of your skills needed to accomplish the project and the skillset you have in a table format.

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UAV Command and Control Center

Project Description

Develop an indoor command and control center using a smartboard to launch, operate, track, and obtain data from sensors on a quadcoptor. This project targets nuclear power plants for both normal and emergency use.

Team Members

3-4 electrical or computer engineers

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Wireless Power Harvesting

Project Description

Wireless power or energy harvesting, describes the process by which energy is conveyed from an external source and stored to provide power for small electronic devices. Recent progress in material technologies allows for the development of capacitors with high storage capability and thus more potential for providing energy to everyday electronic devices (MP3 players, cell phones, etc). However, current energy harvesting technology is often bulky and impractical for mobile applications. Thanks to recent research on smart textile combining knitting technologies and conductive yarn at Drexel University, we can reduce bulk and improve current power storage limitations by integrating knitted harvesting systems (super-capacitor, support circuitry, and receiving antenna) into clothing while respecting form factor and freedom of movement. Fully knitted systems could be conveniently integrated into everyday garments to capture and recycle energy from ubiquitous wireless networks that surround us. This technology is also “green”, since the energy captured from surrounding wireless networks would otherwise be wasted.

A past senior design team has developed a first proof of concept of a wearable power harvesting system. By knitting and integrating a textile antenna and a textile supercapacitor, we were able to convert wireless energy into a DC power source with an efficiency of about 30%. As a next step, our goal is to design, simulate and prototype an improved power harvesting system having the maximum achievable efficiency, and enhance its performance through an optimal matching network and a customized antenna design.

This project is funded by a NSF grant.

Desired Skill Set

Antenna/RF design and circuit design

Team Members

3-4 electrical engineers

Contact

Faculty Profile
Email Dr. Dandekar

Contact with resumes

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