Recent Projects: Engineering in Medicine
Continuous Sensing Mechanism for Knee Implants
This project comprises the development of a prototype computerized sensing mechanism to detect infections in total knee arthroplasty procedures. Established diagnostic methods suggest that color and turbidity changes are strong indicators of a developing infection. This project uses an LED-based optical sensor located in the metallic tibial tray to examine fluid in a channel on the underside of the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene tibial insert. This approach monitors both parameters of interest without a need for direct contact with the synovial fluid, which ensures greater safety, reliability, and accuracy than with other methods considered.
Expandable Hydrogel Sphere for Orbital Implantation
Team: Elizabeth Chang (Dual Degree), Amanda Christian (Dual Degree), Christopher Ng (Dual Degree)
Advisor: Mark Laser
In India, ten to 15 children are born with congenital anophthalmia or microphthalmia each day. Children with these conditions have developmental problems with facial growth, and an implant must be used to support the bones and tissue surrounding the orbit. Under Aurolab's sponsorship, the group has developed a hydrogel implant with expansion properties that match those of a natural human eye. The group has achieved a promising product by developing novel synthesis routes with a mixture of synthetic and natural polymers, specifically using polymers such as glucomannan, acrylamide, and hydroxyethyl methacrylate.
This team received the 2012 Special Faculty Award for Engineering and Service to Humanity.
Improvement of Angiography Resource Allocation
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is currently experiencing patient bottlenecks in the angiography suite. Over the past six months, the team has successfully identified the root cause behind the process delays using Lean Six Sigma methods and has implemented corresponding solutions with beneficial impact to the angiography value stream. These three challenges include a lack of procedure transparency, a need for better variability identification, and a need to address geographical limitations. In addressing these issues, the team has designed a flagging system, a set of hypothesis tests to determine scheduling accuracy and an @Risk model simulating patient flow over time.
Monitoring Patients in a Hospital
Team: Alexander Magleby '00, Christopher Roe '11, Peter De Boursac '12
Sponsor: Vince Watts, M.D., White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Advisor: Professor Kofi Odame
There is a need for a continuous vital and location monitoring system that analyzes the medical condition of patients and alerts staff when a patient is in danger. State-of-the-art alarm systems have an excessively high false positive rate. Our novel solution transmits patients' vitals and allows classification of their movement in real time through the collection of accelerometer data. Nurses can use an intuitive graphical user interface to access a patient's location, activity, and vitals. This all-in-one system provides context-sensitive false alarm reduction, a fall detection algorithm, and has additional use beyond hospitals, such as at-home care and in the military.
Testing Distal Embolic Protection Devices
During an arterial stenting procedure, plaque may become dislodged from the artery wall into the bloodstream, which may result in transient ischemic attacks, or stroke. A distal embolic protection device is placed downstream of the stent and acts as a net to capture the potentially fatal emboli. Medtronic is a substantial medical device corporation eager to improve the designs of distal embolic protection devices. The project team developed a system to quantify the particle capture efficiency of prototype designs for the company's research and development by simulating anatomical conditions and using image analysis to count particles that evaded the prototype.