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Drexel Student Teams Advance to Finals in Engineering Senior Design Competition

June 1, 2012

Eight senior design teams from multiple departments in engineering will advance to the final stage of the Senior Design Competition Wednesday, June 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Mitchell Auditorium in the Bossone Research Center. The event will include presentations from each team detailing their projects to a panel of judges and a final awards ceremony for the winning team. The following projects will be represented:

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Design of Improved Suction Catheter for the Removal of Particulate Matter and Liquid Prior to Emergency Intubation Team
In emergency airway management, fast and effective intubations are critical in preventing serious complications. Patients receiving emergency intubations often lack neurological reflexes putting them at risk for aspiration, mucosal damage and even hypoxemia. Therefore, there is a need for a device that can fully remove obstructing materials and accompanying liquid in an appropriate amount of time while counteracting clogging. The improved design should be able to clear the oropharyngeal cavity of particles up to 0.25 inches in diameter and fluid with viscosity ranging from 1-­‐14 centipoise, in less than 15 seconds. Our prototype outperforms the current clinical standard of the Yankauer in terms of clearance times. In addition, the increased ability of the device to suction larger particulate matter addresses a recognized need in the current clinical setting.

Computer Science
Team VisAssist
There are many tasks that visually impaired individuals struggle with on a daily basis. Mobile applications can aid these individuals and enhance their quality of life. The VisAssist software suite is targeted at individuals with visual impairment ranging from legally blind to fully impaired. Team VisAssist worked closely with the Overbrook School for the Blind to develop requirements in order to create a suite of mobile application to solve these problems. VisAssist helps a visually impaired individual with accessibility of the device, navigation, color matching and getting information about their environment. The targeted platforms are Android, iOS and Windows Mobile.

Chemical & Biological Engineering
FracKINGS Company “Dry” Fracturing Process
In efforts to reduce the contamination and water depletion threats that the current hydraulic fracturing process has on the environment, the FracKINGS Company provides an efficient alternative process. This process is the dry fracturing of a well using liquid CO2 captured from power plant flue gas. Even though it has a high initial investment, the FracKINGS’ process has proved to be worthy of consideration in today’s natural gas exploration needs.

Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics
Design for Development in Thailand
For 700 years, the 30,000 people of Bo Klua Thailand have subsisted on rice grown by hand on steep, rocky slopes. Growing enough rice is challenging and traditional methods of farming often lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain. The 2011-2012 Drexel Thai Harvest team addressed these issues by developing a sustainable ergonomic weeding tool. The design relies on affordable materials and capabilities available in northeast Thailand. More importantly, the manual and poster empower farmers to design, adapt, build, and control the technology.

Electrical & Computer Engineering
Hardware Implementation of Helmet Mounted fNIR System
Broadband and low power consuming optical transmitter (Tx) and optical receiver (Rx) modules were designed and implemented for a custom designed helmet and headband mounted free-space functional near-infrared brain imaging system, a low cost imaging replacement to MRI.

Materials Science & Engineering
Copper and Lead Ion Detection Utilizing Furan-Modified Chitosan Thin Film Polymers
The ability to detect heavy metal ions such as lead and copper is of particular importance due to their well-documented environmental hazards and detrimental health effects. Metal pollutants often find their way into the surrounding environment due to improper disposal of materials and are unfortunate remnants of industrialization. While detection does not directly reduce what is already present, it provides a way to monitor the current status. Chitosan, the de-acetylated derivative of chitin, is a naturally occurring polysaccharide that has been utilized to create thin films. Chitosan is an attractive polymer due to its selectivity and sensitivity to heavy metal ions in solution. Chitosan  was  selected  for modification and investigation because of its abundance and renewability. Furthermore, chitosan has been proven in various experiments to be a known chelator of metal ions and exhibits thickness changes and color changes (frequency shifts) when exposed to metal ions. The viability of a furan-modified chitosan and its potential sensitivity and selectivity is being assessed.

Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics
Motorcycle Land Speed Record
The Southern California Timing Association hosts an event every August, “Speedweek,” at the Bonneville Salt Flats during which individuals and teams bring their purpose-built vehicles to compete with hopes of setting a new world land speed record. This project consists of the design, fabrication and testing of a motorcycle qualifying for the class A-F-100. The objectives of this project are to design and fabricate a 100cc motorcycle consisting of a nitrous oxide system and a custom frame, an optimized drive train, a cooling system and a shifting system enabling gear selection from different riding positions. During testing, the engine did not overheat during a five-minute trial and the rider was able to shift the motorcycle from an aerodynamic riding position. The completed motorcycle showed a power increase of over 15% and a drag force reduction of over 30% compared to the stock configuration, with estimated top speed over 100 mph.

Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
The Life Tower – Chicago Mock Firm Competition 2012
The 2012 Chicago Mock Firm Competition challenged students to organize a “mock” design firm for the purpose of conceiving, coordinating, constructing and commercializing a 100-story multi-use high-rise building for a project site in Beijing, China. The team competed against national college teams and presented their design to a panel of nine expert judges from architecture firms around the country over the course of three hours on a semi-formal basis. The students blueprinted the Life Tower, a structure meant to be utilized for retail, residential, commercial and hospitality purposes. In order to simulate a real world building design process, International Building Code 2009 was used to design all aspects of the project, including the building envelope, structural, HVAC, electrical, fire protection and plumbing systems. Both the building and site design incorporate sustainability, innovation and the traditional Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui. The design project has the potential to reach a LEED Platinum Certification rating if built, demonstrating the team’s commitment to sustainability.

The annual Senior Design Competition, hosted by the College of Engineering, is a three-course sequence that is intended to simulate a professional work environment, to provide experience working on an open-ended problem and to develop information gathering and communication skills. For more details on the competition, click here to visit the official site and schedule of design projects.