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Student Designs Take Center Stage at BME Design Symposium

From teaching aids for reproductive health to cost-effective safety gear, the second annual celebration showcased student innovation

If you want to what it means to be a biomedical engineering student at Duke University, the BME Design Symposium is a great place to start. For three hours on Monday night, the Fitzpatrick Center was filled with students who were showing off their final projects, with presentation topics ranging from a new way to make cost-efficient helmets to a timer that helps X-ray technicians time the length of film exposure for development.

“This event gets better every year,” said BME’s Kevin Caves, one of the professors who teaches a design course. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students to showcase their work, and it really gives them a chance to shine.”

During the event, faculty and students perused the work and asked questions about the projects, with select BME design faculty acting as judges to determine which teams showcased the best design. In addition to this formal design competition, students also had a chance to select their favorite projects through the “People’s Choice” competition, which was determined based on the amount of “Tosh Bucks”­­––fake bills that were decorated with the face of Ashutosh Chilkoti, the chair of BME–– that each team received.

Ultimately, the “Insulin Bubble” team of Edward Liang and Sharon Sangermano received first place for their device, which automates the reservoir filling process for insulin pumps and prevents the buildup of air bubbles in the reservoir. The “People’s Choice” award went to the “EE Genius” team of Anne Li and Lysj Wyckoff, who designed an EEG system that allows the wearer to spell messages on a computer without moving.

The 2017 Fall BME design symposium featured the work of students frorm design courses taught by Kevin Caves, Robert Malkin, Patrick Wolf, first-time design instructor Jonathan Viventi, and Roger Nightingale, who finished his tenure as a BME design instructor with the event’s conclusion.

“Design can be terrifying because there is so much that you don’t know or don’t foresee going into a project, but ultimately it’s an excellent learning experience for our students,” said Nightingale. “It’s been wonderful to teach design to BME seniors, and it’s great to see them motivated to show off their final work.”