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Past CREATE Projects

Rehabilitation Device

There are many children and adults who face significant challenges, requiring the use of adaptive equipment, tools, and assistive technology to participate in simple daily tasks, such as eating or brushing their teeth.  Fortunately, for many children and adults with challenges, there are tools and technology available to assist them.  However, there are many children and adults who face such unique and significant challenges, that technology, tools, and or adaptive equipment has not been developed to meet their many varying needs.  

The task of this design team was to develop a device to aide a specific individual in everyday routines, specifically eating.  Before this device was created, the only way for the individual to eat was through the use of extremely long spoons, an undesirable solution to the problem.  Over the course of  the CREATE Program,  the team designed a motor operated assistive device having two degrees of motion.  The device consisted of a control panel for control of both horizontal and vertical direction, a vertical shaft for vertical motion, and a second motor to move an extended arm in the horizontal direction.  This device was tested and proven directly after the CREATE program ended, but is currently being further modified to enhance the user’s experience.  It is planned to be given to the individual sometime in the upcoming spring semester.


Operating Room Nurse Simulator

In nursing school, nurses must pass a competency exam that mimics a real life operating room situation.  Nurses must be able to identify the object the surgeon wants, place it in the proper orientation within the surgeon’s hand, and place it with the correct pressure.  All of this must be done in a timely fashion.

This simulator allows operating room scrub nurses or scrub tech students to practice recognizing instruments, set up of instruments, handing off of instruments in a sequential manner, and what to do in emergency situations.  It uses a programmed GUI to allow the user to log in using a created account.  From there, the user can choose which practice modes they want to select, ranging from introduction of instruments to a mock surgery.  Currently, only two out of five planned game modes work, but there is a plan to have them running smoothly by the spring semester of 2013.  The instruments are tagged with an RFID tag for identification.  The instruments are to be placed in one of the two “hands”, depending on which hand grip is used for the desired instrument.   Each hand contains a separate sensor, recognizing the correct or incorrect identification of the instruments.  Depending on what mode is being practiced, the device will respond to inform the user if the tool is correct or not.  This device has received a grant of $5,000 to continue on its design and currently being improved.


Wheelchair Books

Sports wheelchairs are made to be as light weight as possible, resulting in only the bare necessities.  This results in a very low weight device, but does not allow any room for storage.  A young student in high school used one of these wheelchairs, but could not store his books as he transitioned from class to class.  It was up to the design team to create a storage container for the books that could mount onto the wheelchair.  They designed a container that could attach to the wheelchair through two unused ports on the back of the chair.  The books were contained in a back pack that was propped open using a metal insert.  This allowed the book holder to appear normal rather than a mechanical adaptation of the wheelchair.  The team was also able to design a removable lunch tray for the wheelchair that could be stored along with the books.  They delivered the finished wheelchair to the young student before the program was over, resulting in a finished product.


Cooling and Rewarming Device for Infants Born with Asphyxia

Infants born with brain asphyxia fail to get adequate oxygen to the brain.   Immediately after birth, they are put into a hypothermic state in order to slow oxygen consumption.  This practice is accepted globally, but is done using a variety of different techniques.  In the United States, the most used devices use water along with a medium between the baby and the water to change the infant’s temperature.  These devices range from using a water circulating blanket to a skull cap.  The downfall of these devices, however, is their current price of about $15,000.  The design team in CREATE was tasked with finding a way to create a cheaper device that can still reach the technical specifications of cooling the baby to 33.5 degrees Celsius, maintain that temperature for up to 72 hours, and then rewarm at a rate of .5 degrees Celsius per hour until regular body temperature is achieved.  They designed a device that could both heat and cool using peltiers.  It consisted of a large rectangular box, with the peltiers attached to an aluminum sheet on top, and a separate control box that house the battery and temperature controller.  Over the course of the summer, they were unable to adequately model an experiment and test the device, but are now receiving outside funding to do so.  The device is currently being improved, with the main engineering now concentrating on creating a better temperature controller for the device.  The team plans on concluding designs and testing by May.


Transport Unit

This project differed from the other four, in that a different need developed througout the course of the project. Transport units are used in both hospitals and ambulances to transport infants from one room to another.  They monitor the correct temperature, oxygen flow, and keep the baby safe from unwanted movement. Originally, the team’s task was to redesign an entire transport unit, a problem that was way too large and unspecific for a team to accomplish over a summer.  After the team discussed the situation with the doctor, the design team was able to narrow the problem down into just the transport aspect of the device.  They learned that the device was very heavy and hard to maneuver,  a problem they could attempt to fix.  They designed a prototype that would allow the transport’s wheels to turn depending on how much and where the pressure would be placed on its handle.  Since they could not use an actual transport, they designed a prototype that could eventually be scaled up to fit the transport’s weight.  Their prototype used an Arduino to control two different motors at the front of the device.  The motors were mounted to shafts of wheels, thus turning the wheels in the specified orientation.  The arduino’s input was from four pressure sensors mounted in a made handle at the rear of the device.  The pressure sensors were placed at the ends of the handle, allowing the orientation to be known by the pressure that is being placed.  The team developed a working prototype by the end of summer and can continue to work on it if they please.