Active Projects

Arm Assist

Client:

William Cody is a 19 year old who was born with Cushing’s disease, osteoporosis, and no joints in his hips or shoulders. Because of his ailments, he is physically weak and is barely able to move. He has very little movement in his neck, hands, and elbows. He has no mental ailments and has full vocal abilities.

Basic Project Description:

The goal of this project is to give William more control of his arms through the use of a sling. Sue Noble is an occupational therapist with Providence Home Health who is frequently helping WIlliam. She has a forearm sling that William uses to suspend his hand over his table so that he is able to write and draw. Sue wants a new and improved bracket to hold the sling in the air and be able to be attached to his bed or his wheelchair. This sling will help him move his arms more freely.

Status:

We have delivered our side of the project to William as of September 14th, 2012. Sue was not able to meet us there with the slings, but she will be able to set up the apparatus. We are waiting to hear back from Sue about how well it works. The portions of the project that we have left are answering questions for them and visiting their house, if required to do so.

Possible Solutions:

There are a number of possible solutions. Three of the proposed solutions are overhead support attachments and one proposed solution is an under-arm support. The overhead solutions differ in the number of overhead attachment points and have varying movement and stability abilities.

Cook Stove

Client:

There are several different clients for this project, each having a different level of interest in its outcome. The first client is the Aprovecho Research Center, which is a non-profit organization that works on the research and development of cook stoves to aid in meeting the basic human needs of people around the world. The second client for this project is people who actually use biomass cook stoves in their everyday lives. The third group of clients are the abundance of groups and organizations around the world that are dedicated to improving the design and safety of cook stoves used in households throughout developing countries.

Basic Project Description:

The purpose of this project is to analyze the performance of existing cook stoves that are in use around the world. The analysis would mostly consist of analyzing the emissions resulting from boiling a specific amount of water. Once the proper analysis is completed, it will be possible to review the results and determine how we may improve the design.

Status:

At this point in the design cycle, the team is working toward implementing and testing the solar cooker design. Once this design is built, it will be possible to test the design and determine if improvements need to be made on the initial design. If there have been significant improvements in the design and the emissions have been reduced, the design will be implemented and introduced in the developing countries.

Possible Solutions:

There is only one basic solution pursued by the members of this group. The solar cooker design idea would use the sun to heat an object for the purpose of cooking or other heating uses.

Evergreen Aviation Museum

Client:

The client is the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Not only do they have a great collection of aircraft, they also have interactive displays that can educate the public.

Basic Project Description:

Included in the museum is a Kid’s Zone, which contains a variety of exhibits that demonstrate different aspects of aviation, such as the effects of tilting the flaps up or down on the wings of a plane. However, because these are all fairly interactive, many of them receive a considerable amount of wear and tear. Our group will be taking some of the displays that are not currently functioning and attempt to repair them.

Status:

This project doesn’t have the typical “design cycle” process. As soon as we get the items to fix, we will be looking at what is wrong and either fixing the problem, or designing an alternative solution.

Possible Solutions:

We hope to implement a solution that is more durable: the displays get a lot of use, so an ideal fix-up would be able to withstand daily use. 

Neuromuscular Therapy

Client:

This team’s goals are to improve the quality of life and well being of individuals who have experienced damage to their neuromuscular system.

Basic Project Description:

Our first project is to develop an device that will improve the responsiveness of neural pathways leading to and from muscle groups in the arms and legs. The theory behind the latest neuromuscular therapy techniques is that when a damaged limb that is engaged in continuous motion is interrupted, the brain will identify alternative neural pathways in attempt to control that particular limb or muscle group. This technique has been effective in helping the patient regain use of damaged limbs, but only for a very limited amount of time. Research shows that therapy would be more permanent if it were utilized more frequently. This will allow the brain to quickly recognize and utilize the new neural pathways it has created, which will in turn help the patient to recover control of the muscle group or limb, allowing the damaged area to function normally.

Status:

The bike design is already in use by one of the clients. For the portable version, the specifications are finished and the physical design is in progress.

Possible Solutions:

Basically, we have two designs. The first has been implemented, the second (portable version) is in the works. The first solution is essentially an exercise bike with one pedal/hand-grip. The user sits in the seat and can position the pedal/braking assembly in a lower position for leg use or a raised position for arm use. The user rotates the crank in as normal a fashion as possible while an internal control system randomly activates an internal brake for a limited amount of time, stopping motion and forcing the brain to react with alternate neural pathways. The second is basically the same thing in terms of operation of the crank/braking assembly, but instead of attaching it to an exercise bike frame, it will simply have extendable support beams that allow it to be locked into position inside a door frame at an adjustable vertical height. The user would then sit in a chair positioned next to the device. The entirety of the apparatus should be collapsible and light enough to be carried in a suitcase.

World Water Project

Client:

Water Missions International is a nonprofit Christian engineering ministry providing sustainable safe water solutions, through a Christian worldview perspective, to people in developing countries and disaster areas. The organization is particularly strong in the areas of fundraising and implementation of water projects. Research and development, however, are areas in which our GFU Servant Engineering team is well-suited to serve.

Basic Project Description:

This project is primarily focusing on testing and improving the "Living Water Treatment System" (LWTS) produced by Water Missions for use in developing countries. The LWTS is a small-scale municipal water treatment package that includes a power source, back-washable filtration, chlorine disinfection and clean water storage. Our team aims to serve people without access to clean water, as well as Water Missions, by conducting lab testing towards the improvement of the LWTS.  

Status:

The current status of this project is difficult to define, as this is more of a research project than a design project. Currently, we are in the Project Identification stage of the design cycle, as we are gathering information about the technology, stakeholders, and objectives. However, with regards to the LWTS design as a whole, it is in Phase 4: Detailed Design and Build, as it is undergoing efficiency testing and redesign.  

Possible Solutions:

One alternative media considered is Macrolite, a ceramic filter media that is capable of removing suspended solids below 3 microns, has a high loading rate (up to 10 gpm/ft2) and has a low backwash rate (8 gpm/ft2).

Postural Assist

Client:

Our client is Providence CMFC (Center for Medically Fragile Children). This program takes in children with various disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, and helps rehabilitate and take care of the children in ways that complement their parents. The center is open for children from approximately ages 3-18.

Basic Project Description:

The current project involves developing a device that will give a user feedback concerning the position of their head in 3d space. Originally developed for the blind to let them know if their head was hanging down, the device is now being designed as a therapy device to help strengthen handicapped children’s necks by providing motivation to keep their head up.

Status:

The current status of the project involves developing the second prototype of the earpiece described below. As the solution is developed to a more adequately suited design, testing will help to determine if it is ready for practical use.

Possible Solutions:

The current solution is an earpiece that is in its second prototype phase. It looks like a Bluetooth device and vibrates when the users head tilts past a designated angle. It has a tare button for zeroing and turning on the device and two dials to control the angle at which the device goes off and to control the intensity of the vibration.

Pool Lift

Client:

Our client is Providence CMFC (Center for Medically Fragile Children). This program takes in children with various disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, and helps rehabilitate and take care of the children in ways that complement their parents. The center is open for children from approximately ages 3-18. We hope that the Pool Lift Project will provide usable and effective means of muscle development therapy for these children.

Basic Project Description:

The purpose of this project is to build a mechanical lift system to allow a single nurse to transfer medically fragile children into or out of a hydro-therapy pool.

Status:

As of 10/24/2011, suit construction is at this point: our group has assembled the webbing to fit through the life jacket comfortably and easily and threaded the webbing into a seat for the patients to sit in. However, this design tends to put pressure on the patient's pelvis. Thus, we are planning on sewing the wetsuit in our possession into the seat of the harness with the help of the Kevlar thread. This should allow the patient's waist/pelvis region to remain at relatively low pressure.  In addition, the carbon fiber straps and D-Rings will be used to secure the patients into the suit. One aspect of the project that is waiting to be ordered is the quick-release clip. If a patient has a seizure, it is imperative that a nurse can quickly extract the patient from the pool. A quick-release clip should allow the patients to easily escape from the harness.

Possible Solutions:

Harness with XYZ controls: The XYZ harness system will consist of the following: a suit will be designed that is comfortable, yet supportive for the patients. This suit will attach to the ARJO lift unit provided by Providence CMFC. The ARJO lift will be mounted on a track system which will be attached to dual crossbeams. A main crossbeam will be attached to the dual cross beams, spanning the length of the room on both the left and right side of the aquatic therapy pool. The ARJO lift unit will control the movement of the main crossbeam, and a junction (provided by ARJO) will allow the lift unit to move in two dimensions (left-right, and forward-backward). The lift unit also allows the harness to move up and down. Thus, the nurse will strap the patient into the suit, lift the patient into the air, maneuver the patient above the pool and drop them down to a point where they are supporting their weight in the pool. However, the patients will still be easily extractable if an emergency occurs via the ARJO lift. The solution also involves a floatation device. Possible solutions include: A sleeveless jacket of buoyant or inflatable construction, for supporting the wearer in deep water and preventing drowning. Another option includes a close-fitting rubber garment worn by a skin diver in cold water that allows a thin, insulating layer of water to collect between the diver's skin and the suit in order to retain body heat. In addition to this, the neoprene wetsuit also floats extremely well.

Vibration Therapy

Client: 

Our client is Providence CMFC (Center for Medically Fragile Children). This program takes in children with various disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, and helps rehabilitate and take care of the children in ways that complement their parents. The center is open for children from approximately ages 3-18. The children at Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children all move around in wheelchairs, and rarely stand on their feet. This leads to extreme osteoporosis (low bone density). It is not uncommon for their bones to fracture from simply being moved from their wheelchair to their beds.

Basic Project Description:
Over the last decade, a new study has started in vibration therapy. NASA used it with their astronauts so they wouldn't develop osteoporosis while being in zero-gravity. The studies show that vibrating the body at appropriate frequencies and amplitudes can cause an increase in bone density. Therefore, we were asked to determine if we could develop a way to help the kids at Providence improve their bone density through vibration.
Status:
We have a solution that we're testing on "healthy kids." The testing is almost complete, and the system has been presented to the nurses at Providence. Currently, the system simply attaches two unbalanced motors to Providence's supine stander that the children can stand in while being supported. The entire stander experiences vibration, and so does the child.
Possible Solutions:
Piezoelectric effect: This is a vibrating technique that's being looked into. It's small and easy to use, but it's based on rather complicated elements of physics that we're still examining. Another possible solution is a system of actuators. It's much simpler than the piezoelectric effect. This type of device is commonly seen in households that have foot massagers. It is sometimes useful to think of them like little pistons that rapidly shoot up and hit the feet.

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