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Piloerection Sensor: Insight into Autonomic Function

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Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly

Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly relevant to emotions research. Despite wide-ranging applications, current methods for measuring piloerection are laborious and qualitative. The goal of this study is to build a wearable piloerection sensor through the use of straight-line lasers and photoresistors. The study analyzed methods of detecting and measuring goosebumps, and applied the method of laser scattering as a detection method. This device was designed and tested against a population of seven Arizona State University students. Goosebumps were elicited through conditions of cold, and video clips meant to elicit emotions of awe and sadness. Piloerection was then quantified through two controls of self-identification and camera recording, as well as the new detection method. These were then compared together, and it was found that subjective methods of determining goosebumps did not correlate well with objective measurements, but that the two objective measurements correlated well with one another. This shows that the technique of laser scattering can be used to detect goosebumps and further developments on this new detection method will be made. Moreover, the presence of uncorrelated subjective measurements further shows the need for an objective measurement of piloerection, while also bringing into question other factors that may be confused with the feeling of piloerection, such as chills or shivers. This study further reaffirmed previous studies showing a positive correlation between intense emotions.

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2019-05

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MEMS Drug Delivery Using Pulsed Voltage Waveforms

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Abstract: The delivery of a drug or gene payload inside an individual neuron has been highly sought after and studied as a means of treating a large variety of neurological diseases and disorders such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Current

Abstract: The delivery of a drug or gene payload inside an individual neuron has been highly sought after and studied as a means of treating a large variety of neurological diseases and disorders such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Current technology for these applications remains imperfect particularly with respect to matters of precision and cell viability. Thus, the use of MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) based systems have become more prevalent in order to conduct these processes with higher precision and automation. Penetrating these specific cells while also maintaining their structural integrity during the process, remain as two major hurdles still being explored today. Electrical stimulation has been used to drive the delivery of a payload at the microscale but to do so with a voltage that keeps the neuron viable is imperative. In order to find a means for optimizing the voltage and ejection of the payload while maintaining cell viability, the goal of this project is to explore the use of pulsed waveforms for driving the delivery. In doing so, lower to moderate voltage amplitudes may potentially be used while also avoiding hydrolysis of the cell. This study was done by ejecting dye dextran from glass micropipettes with an agar and artificial seawater well using both DC and pulsed waveforms. Successful ejection of the payload was achieved and confirmed using fluorescent microscopy. While the methods used for this voltage based delivery require further optimization, the successful ejection utilizing pulsed voltages suggest that this may lead to an improved technique for MEMS based delivery of payloads into single cells in the future.

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2019-05

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The Relationship between Wastewater Toxic Substances and Alzheimer’s disease

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting in loss of cognitive function and is not considered part of the typical aging process. Recently, research is being conducted to study environmental effects on AD because the exact molecular mechanisms behind

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting in loss of cognitive function and is not considered part of the typical aging process. Recently, research is being conducted to study environmental effects on AD because the exact molecular mechanisms behind AD are not known. The associations between various toxins and AD have been mixed and unclear. In order to better understand the role of the environment and toxic substances on AD, we conducted a literature review and geospatial analysis of environmental, specifically wastewater, contaminants that have biological plausibility for increasing risk of development or exacerbation of AD. This literature review assisted us in selecting 10 wastewater toxic substances that displayed a mixed or one-sided relationship with the symptoms or prevalence of Alzheimer’s for our data analysis. We utilized data of toxic substances in wastewater treatment plants and compared them to the crude rate of AD in the different Census regions of the United States to test for possible linear relationships. Using data from the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we developed an application using R Shiny to allow users to interactively visualize both datasets as choropleths of the United States and understand the importance of this area of research. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was calculated resulting in arsenic and cadmium displaying positive linear correlations with AD. Other analytes from this statistical analysis demonstrated mixed correlations with AD. This application and data analysis serve as a model in the methodology for further geospatial analysis on AD. Further data analysis and visualization at a lower level in terms of scope is necessary for more accurate and reliable evidence of a causal relationship between the wastewater substance analytes and AD.
GitHub Repository: https://github.com/komal-agrawal/AD_GIS.git

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2019-05

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Viability of Cryotherapy Device for Spastic Relief Compared to Current Electrotherapy Device

Description

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy,

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or stroke history, spasticity affects an estimated twelve million people worldwide. Not only does spasticity cause discomfort and loss of function, but the condition can lead to contractures, or permanent shortenings of the muscle and connective tissue, if left untreated. Current treatments for spasticity are primarily different forms of muscle relaxant pharmaceuticals. Almost all of these drugs, however, carry unwanted side effects, including total muscle weakness, liver toxicity, and possible dependence. Additionally, kinesiotherapy, conducted by physical therapists at rehabilitation clinics, is often prescribed to people suffering from spasticity. Since kinesiotherapy requires frequent practice to be effective, proper treatment requires constant professional care and clinic appointments, discouraging patient compliance. Consequently, a medical device that could automate relief for spasticity outside of a clinic is desired in the market. While a number of different dynamic splints for hand spasticity are currently on the market, research has shown that these devices, which simply brace the hand in an extended position, do not work through any mechanism to decrease spastic tension over time. Two methods of temporarily reducing spasticity that have been observed in clinical studies are cryotherapy, or the decrease of temperature on a target area, and electrotherapy, which is the delivery of regulated electrical pulses to a target area. It is possible that either of these mechanisms could be incorporated into a medical device aimed toward spastic relief. In fact, electrotherapy is used in a current market device called the SaeboStim, which is advertised to help stroke recovery and spastic reduction. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the viability of a potential spastic relief device that utilizes cryotherapy to a current and closest competitor, the SaeboStim. The effectiveness of each device in relieving spasticity is reviewed. The two devices are also compared on their ability to address primary customer needs, such as convenience, ease of use, durability, and price. Overall, it is concluded that the cryotherapy device more effectively relieves hand spasticity in users, although the SaeboStim's smaller size and better convenience gives it market appeal, and reveals some of the shortcomings in the preliminary design of the cryotherapy device.

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2018-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing the Profile of Biomedical Engineers as a Socially Relevant Discipline

Description

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3].

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3]. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recognizes the current problems in engineering, such as the dominance of white males in the field and the amount of education needed to become a successful engineer [4]. Therefore, the NAE encourages that the current engineering community begin to expose the younger generations to the real foundation of engineering: problem-solving [4]. The objective of this thesis is to minimize the knowledge gap by assessing the current perception of engineering amongst middle school and high school students and improving it through engaging and interactive presentations and activities that build upon the students’ problem-solving abilities.

The project was aimed towards middle school and high school students, as this is the estimated level where they learn biology and chemistry—key subject material in biomedical engineering. The high school students were given presentations and activities related to biomedical engineering. Additionally, within classrooms, posters were presented to middle school students. The content of the posters were students of the biomedical engineering program at ASU, coming from different ethnic backgrounds to try and evoke within the middle school students a sense of their own identity as a biomedical engineer. To evaluate the impact these materials had on the students, a survey was distributed before the students’ exposure to the materials and after that assesses the students’ understanding of engineering at two different time points. A statistical analysis was conducted with Microsoft Excel to assess the influence of the activity and/or presentation on the students’ understanding of engineering.

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2017-05

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In Vivo Clinical Animal Trials for an Anti-Fog Coating on Surgical Lenses

Description

One major issue that surgeons face during closed body cavity surgery is fogging of the lens surfaces. The cloudy and opaque lens surface caused by water vapor present in closed body cavities forces the surgeon to repeatedly remove the endoscope,

One major issue that surgeons face during closed body cavity surgery is fogging of the lens surfaces. The cloudy and opaque lens surface caused by water vapor present in closed body cavities forces the surgeon to repeatedly remove the endoscope, wipe it, and reinsert it back into the patient. This presents several risks such as increased surgery time, greater scarring, and an increased chance of infection. In order to address this issue, the development of the Thin Fluid Film Device (TFFD™) VitreOx™ aims to render the lens surface hydrophilic, whereas it is typically hydrophobic. By creating a hydrophilic polymeric nanomesh, the 3-D water droplets can be trapped to lie flatter, thus resulting in a flatter 2-D sheeting effect. The light can no longer be refracted at different angles off of the 3-dimensional water beads, thus eliminating the opacity of the lens surface.
Two animal trials were performed involving a rat and two pigs in order to prove the efficacy of VitreOx™ in addition to being compared with competitor, Covidien Clearify. A laparoscopy was performed on each animal, and the length of time that the endoscope took to fog was measured post product application. The results of the optimized animal clinical trials involving two Yucatan pigs showed that the scope treated with Covidien’s Clearify began fogging within 8 minutes and continued to do so for the remained of the surgery, as opposed to the scope with VitreOx™ which remained fog free for the full 90-minute procedure. The results proved the efficacy of our product.
The second part of the thesis aimed to optimize HemoClear™, the blood evacuating TFFD™. This was done by testing a higher concentration of 6 mg/mL fibrinogen as compared to previous work. After conducting an experiment designed to mimic closed-body cavity surgery it was determined that the HemoClear™ eliminated fog 67% of the time and evacuated blood with a success of 83%. Future work aims to continue testing at this concentration with variances in mixing and application technique.

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2015-05

Development and Assessment of Two Novel Pitting Designs for Increased Needle Visibility under Ultrasound

Description

Nerve endings are particularly difficult to target during peripheral nerve block (PNB) procedures, so ultrasound-guided needles are of immense importance to guarantee safe and efficient delivery of the anesthetic to the target nerve. Despite significant progress in needle visualization with

Nerve endings are particularly difficult to target during peripheral nerve block (PNB) procedures, so ultrasound-guided needles are of immense importance to guarantee safe and efficient delivery of the anesthetic to the target nerve. Despite significant progress in needle visualization with ultrasound imaging, there are still several factors that lead to poor needle visibility, the main factor being insertion angle. Introducing cavities and holes in the needle at specific intervals through pitting corrosion may alter the ultrasonic feedback from the sensor, thereby resulting in improved clarity of the reconstructed image. The purpose of this experiment is to investigate the effectiveness of two novel pitting designs on the needle’s visibility under ultrasound. Two different designs and two depths of cut are tested in a 22 factorial that is blocked by insertion angle: a uniform and a non-uniform design. Needles were cut using a Plain Jane and Igor laser cutter and imaged using a GE Logig e BT12 ultrasound imaging machine. Images were compared visually and objectively by using a tool in Photoshop to calculate the luminosity of the needle. Two videos were also taken capturing the difficulty of imaging surgical needles. Results showed that pitting had a major impact on needle visibility at 30° and a marginal impact at 0°. The videos supported these results as it was considerably more difficult to locate the control needle than the experimental needle. This suggests the probe must be in a specific plane with the control needle for it to be visible while the experimental needle is much more lenient. Results from the two depths of cuts showed similar results in that the designs which were cut twice were more visible than their counterparts at 30°. The study showed that pitting has positive effects on needle visibility; it improves visibility by increasing the luminescence of the needle and by decreasing its sensitivity to probe position.

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2016-05

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Portable Heart Rate Monitor and iOS Application for Anxiety Therapy

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As the rates of anxiety in adults rapidly swell, new and creative treatment methods become increasingly relevant. Individuals with an anxiety disorder may experience challenging symptoms that interfere with daily activities and impede academic and social success. The purpose of

As the rates of anxiety in adults rapidly swell, new and creative treatment methods become increasingly relevant. Individuals with an anxiety disorder may experience challenging symptoms that interfere with daily activities and impede academic and social success. The purpose of this project is to design and engineer a portable heart rate monitor that communicates with an iOS mobile application for use by individuals suffering from anxiety or panic disorders. The proposed device captures the innovation of combining biosensor feedback with new, creative therapy methods on a convenient iOS application. The device is implemented as an Arduino Uno which translates radial pulse information onto an LCD screen from a wristband. Additionally, the iOS portion uses a slow expanding and collapsing animation to guide the user through a calming breathing exercise while displaying their pulse in beats per minute. The user's awareness or his or her ability to control one's own physiological state supports and facilitates an additional form of innovative therapy. The current design of the iOS app uses a random-number generator between 40 to 125 to imitate a realistic heart rate. If the value is less than 60 or greater than 105, the number is printed in red; otherwise the heart rate is displayed in green. Future versions of this device incorporate bluetooth capabilities and potentially additional synchronous methods of therapy. The information presented in this research provides an excellent example of the integrations of new mobile technology and healthcare.

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2016-05

Grad School: Human Growth Horror - Creative Project Entry of an Action/Adventure Computer Game Designed to Experimentally Demonstrate Viable Engineering Concepts for Educational Purposes

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The action/adventure game Grad School: HGH is the final, extended version of a BME Prototyping class project in which the goal was to produce a zombie-themed game that teaches biomedical engineering concepts. The gameplay provides fast paced, exciting, and mildly

The action/adventure game Grad School: HGH is the final, extended version of a BME Prototyping class project in which the goal was to produce a zombie-themed game that teaches biomedical engineering concepts. The gameplay provides fast paced, exciting, and mildly addicting rooms that the player must battle and survive through, followed by an engineering puzzle that must be solved in order to advance to the next room. The objective of this project was to introduce the core concepts of BME to prospective students, rather than attempt to teach an entire BME curriculum. Based on user testing at various phases in the project, we concluded that the gameplay was engaging enough to keep most users' interest through the educational puzzles, and the potential for expanding this project to reach an even greater audience is vast.

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2014-05

BIOELECTRIC IMPEDANCE ANALYSIS AS A METHOD FOR QUANTITATIVE HYDRATION MEASUREMENT

Description

Volume depletion can lead to migraines, dizziness, and significant decreases in a subject's ability to physically perform. A major cause of volume depletion is dehydration, or loss in fluids due to an imbalance in fluid intake to fluid excretion. Because

Volume depletion can lead to migraines, dizziness, and significant decreases in a subject's ability to physically perform. A major cause of volume depletion is dehydration, or loss in fluids due to an imbalance in fluid intake to fluid excretion. Because proper levels of hydration are necessary in order to maintain both short and long term health, the ability to monitor hydration levels is growing in clinical demand. Although devices capable of monitoring hydration level exist, these devices are expensive, invasive, or inaccurate and do not offer a continuous mode of measurement. The ideal hydration monitor for consumer use needs to be characterized by its portability, affordability, and accuracy. Also, this device would need to be noninvasive and offer continuous hydration monitoring in order to accurately assess fluctuations in hydration data throughout a specified time period. One particular method for hydration monitoring that fits the majority of these criteria is known as bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA). Although current devices using BIA do not provide acceptable levels of accuracy, portability, or continuity in data collection, BIA could potentially be modified to fit many, if not all, desired customer specifications. The analysis presented here assesses the viability of using BIA as a new standard in hydration level measurement. The analysis uses data collected from 22 subjects using an existing device that employs BIA. A regression derived for estimating TBW based on the parameters of age, weight, height, sex, and impedance is presented. Using impedance data collected for each subject, a regression was also derived for estimating impedance based on the factors of age, weight, height, and sex. The derived regression was then used to calculate a new impedance value for each subject, and these new impedance values were used to estimate TBW. Through a paired-t test between the TBW values derived by using the direct measurements versus the calculated measurements of impedance, the two samples were found to be comparable. Considerations for BIA as a noninvasive measurement of hydration are discussed.

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2013-05