BME Seniors Showcase Projects at 2017 Design Symposium

Students presented final design projects to faculty judges and peers during the celebratory event 

By Michaela Kane 

The Fitzpatrick Center was bursting with activity during the Duke Biomedical Engineering (BME) Student Design Symposium as graduating seniors presented their final design projects to faculty, staff and friends. Attendees had a lot to see, with projects including the creation of an interactive laundry assistant, the design for a new vaccine delivery system and the cost-effective development of a drug used for HIV prevention.

The event featured short, summary presentations from students in front of the entire crowd, followed by an open poster session where the teams had an opportunity to demonstrate their designs and answer questions. In addition to a formal design competition with BME faculty acting as judges, students had their own turn to act as judges during the “People’s Choice” competition by depositing “Tosh Money” ––fake hundred-dollar bills with BME Chair Ashutosh Chilkoti’s face in place of Benjamin Franklin’s––into a bin at their favorite presentation.

After counting the “Tosh Money” and conferring with the judges, BME’s Elizabeth Bucholz announced that the “OptiBone” team of Meredith Lee, Vinay Nagaraj, Sonali Shah, Niranjana Shashikumar and Mounika Vanka were awarded first place for their device, which uses optical coherence tomography to monitor neonatal bone density. Second place went to the “Holter Monitor” project from Paige Belliveau, Gautam Chebrolu, Kate Gelman, Alden Harwood and David Zhou, which used a Holter monitor system to detect how often premature ventricular contractions occurred during the day for diagnostic purposes. Jenny Egerter and Hunter Hutchinson took home the “People’s Choice” prize for their project, “Eye Spy,” an easy-to-use insulin insertion device created for people with Type 1 diabetes.

The 2017 BME Design Symposium featured the work of students from the senior design courses taught by Kevin Caves, Joseph Izatt, Mike Lynch, Paolo Maccarini, Robert Malkin, Mark Palmeri, Monty Reichert, and Olaf von Ramm. In addition to challenging the students to create practical solutions to real-world problems, these design projects also serve to illustrate the different interests and strengths of the BME department at Duke, ranging from instruments in neuro-optics to tools for use in developing countries.

“With engineering, it’s not surprising when a design doesn’t work the first time,” said Bucholz, associate director of undergraduate studies for BME. “But our students have shown that they are willing to do whatever they can to make these designs come to life.”