Meinig School hosts 6th-annual Industry Engagement Day and Project Showcase – in person!

On Monday, May 16, the Meinig School hosted the sixth-annual industry engagement day and project showcase for its master of engineering (M.Eng.) students. The daylong event, held in person in Weill Hall after two years being held virtually, brought students together with faculty, alumni and professional attendees to connect with the breadth of talent in the School’s M.Eng. program. 

canine heart model team presents
Abigail Grabowski, Melanie Lyons, and Luke Humphrey present at the project showcase pitch competition. Their project, "functional canine heart teaching model", won first place in the design competition.

“The event is an opportunity to celebrate the yearlong effort and accomplishments of our BME M.Eng. students, sponsors, educators, and staff,” said M.Eng. Director and Professor of Practice Newton de Faria. “It is also an opportunity for the participants to learn about our program, our students and their work and, in turn, students learn about their field related industry and careers.”

Organized by de Faria, graduate field assistant Belinda Floyd, and seminar/events coordinator Suzanne Koehl, the program featured two keynote alumni speakers, Rick Ducharme (B.S. ’04, M.Eng. ’05) of The Jacobs Institute and Egret Healthcare Ventures, and Hilary Lashley Renison (B.S. ’05, MEng ’07, MBA ’09) of Amazon, who shared their career insights and experiences. These talks were complemented by career panel sessions with early career and seasoned professionals who spoke about their companies, their challenges, and their pathway to success in the biomedical field. The afternoon session featured a project design showcase at which students showed and demonstrated their year-long design projects. Following the showcase, student teams participated in a pitch competition presented to all attendees.

Rick Ducharme by waterfalls
Rick Ducharme

“It’s a nice opportunity for industry to collaborate and to recruit students,” said Ducharme of the event. “This program goes beyond developing technical competencies. Students gain experience developing solutions to real-world problems in collaborative cross-functional teams with considerations for the prototype design, business case, regulatory landscape, and of course how it is communicated. These skills frequently differentiate the impact a young engineer can have on an organization, and I commend the students for their innovative accomplishments.”

Team tracking parent’s compliance for baby carriers at poster
Cyndhia Varshni (second from left, with team members Kuan Cao, Girija Krishnakumar, Jessica Hastings,and Anshul Krishnan) with the "Tracking parent’s compliance for baby carriers" project team at M.Eng. Industry Engagement day 2022.

The student experience echoes Ducharme’s compliment. “After nearly 8 months of ideation, over 10 iterations, and plenty of pivoting, our team was able to build a functional and reliable model that can measure parents’ compliance while using baby carriers to prevent serious complications from hip dysplasia,” said M.Eng. student participant Cyndhia Varshni, a member of the “Tracking parent’s compliance for baby carriers” project team. “This entire journey has been a wonderful experience and [I am grateful to the program] for providing the opportunity to work on a project sponsored by Hospital for Special Surgery.

2022 Project Showcase competition winners

Student design projects were entered into three competitions, descriptions, and winners of which are as follows: 

Design Competition:

Judges evaluated the success of each team’s trajectory through the year on criteria including: business case, engineering, creativity, quality and merit, overall competence in design, and impact. 

First place:Functional canine heart teaching model (partnering with Med Dimensions)
Team members: Melanie Lyons, Abigail Grabowski, Luke Humphrey
The purpose of this project is to develop a canine heart model to be used by veterinary students and educators that evades current model issues. These issues include the lack of physical or dynamic models in the veterinary space, as well an absence of models that demonstrate pathophysiology. Our canine heart model is 3D printed with a flexible filament and aims to mimic the way muscles contract in the heart. The heart is equipped with LEDs to show progression of electrical activity, as well as an EKG display. The system is programmed to actuate in real time, displaying bradycardia, normal sinus rhythm and tachycardia. Together, these features depict the heart in a realistic manner that help veterinary students learn about canine heart function.

Second place: Total Liquid Ventilator: Liquid ventilation for treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (partnering with Weill Cornell Medicine)
Team members: Biji Akande, Taehee Lee, Jenna Lowe, Bhamini Mahendra Babu
COVID-19 and other diseases can cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome - fluid buildup in lung alveoli preventing oxygen exchange. The resulting hypoxia in patients necessitates mechanical gas ventilation for life support. Gas ventilation, however, sometimes cannot sufficiently restore oxygen levels and can also cause ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). The desired outcome would be total removal of mucus/debris from the alveoli, minimization of VILI, and restoration of patient’s O2 and CO2 to safe levels. The proposed solution is liquid ventilation, a type of mechanical ventilation in which the lungs are cycled with oxygenated perfluorocarbon liquid.

Third place: A Robust Pediatric Cardiovascular simulator (partnering with Professor James Antaki)
Team members: Ivan Jiran, Stephen Chupil, Liam McLane 
Project aimed to develop a robust and low-cost mock circulatory loop (MCL) to facilitate lab testing of pediatric left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). MCLs physically simulate the movement of blood in the human body, generally through a system of pumps, tubes, chambers, and sensors. Our loop incorporates a variety of sensors with feedback control to allow for real-time monitoring and manipulation of physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart-pumping efficiency, and blood vessel stiffness. This automation will allow researchers to easily test pediatric LVADs across a wide range of heart failure scenarios before moving on to in vivo testing.

Pitch Competition:

Focus on merit of the invention in the eyes of the stakeholders/investors.

Assistance in Motion: Robotic Mobility Device for Toddlers 
Team members: Aarushi Agarwal, Chiemezue Ijomanta, Tharun Iyer, Reagan Stewart
Toddlers ages one to three explore their environment by crawling and walking. Toddlers need the opportunity to develop gross motor skills and create an environment for themselves that is stimulating and challenging. Currently, there is a gap in the market for pediatric-powered mobility devices that allow toddlers with mobility limitations to develop at the same mental and physical rate as their fully-mobile counterparts. Our team found a way to address the need for powered mobility devices for immobilized toddlers that will assist them in moving independently. From this need, we created Assistance in Motion, a Robotic Mobility Device for Toddlers. 

AutoDesk Fusion 360 Competition:

A $2,000 prize to the teams that best used the Autodesk Fusion 360 cloud-based software platform during the design process. 

First place: Functional Cardiac 3D Anatomical Model (see description above)

Second place: iFyber - E. coli and total coliforms detection  
Team members: Irfan Zobayed, Nicolas Tan, Joseph Kulczyk
Strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli) are found in organismic waste. E. coli detection is the primary indicator of fecal contamination and thereby deemed necessary by the EPA and WHO for determining drinking quality water. Effective methods of testing water for E. coli exist; however, these expensive methods require 12-24 hours to provide reliable results. There is a need to determine coliforms in chlorinated drinking water set for time-effective, high accuracy coliform detection. Our team aims to develop an accurate, reliable method and an accessible, affordable device that provides results in less than the common 8-hour workday.

Third Place: Total Liquid Ventilator (see description above)

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