University students shine at inventor’s fair

By Allene Abrahamian

The lobby of the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building at this university was buzzing with students and visitors on Oct. 16 during the Inventor’s Fair for Mpact Week.

Mpact Week, which the A. James Clark School of Engineering held Oct. 16-22, holds a series of events on and off the campus to demonstrate research and University students shine at inventor’s fair innovation in the engineering field, according to its website.

The Inventor’s Fair showcased seven inventions in bioengineering. The theme of the fair was biomedical emergency response.

In one corner stood the poster and display table for Stefanie Cohen and Shawn Greenspan’s project, entitled, “Ultrasound Pulse Monitoring for Continuous Monitoring of Blood Flow during Low Perfusion States.”

When someone experiences cardiac arrest or low blood pressure, also known as low-perfusion states, sometimes providers have a difficult time finding the pulse. “The method is notoriously subjective and fraught with human error,” according to the project’s description.

“Only 15 percent of emergency medical technicians and basic life support are able to correctly diagnose the presence of a pulse within 10 seconds,” according to the description.

Cohen and Greenspan invented the Sono-Assist Monitor (SAM), which is attached to a bandage that is placed on the skin and reads “strong,” “weak,” or “no pulse” when in use. The device is meant to eliminate the use of the finger pulse check.

“I really like art, and I had this idea that engineering had this artistic aspect. It’s innovative and helpful,” Cohen said.

In another corner stood Eric Hoppmann, Wei Yu and Sean Virgile, the inventors of P-SERS, a low cost solution to molecule detection that could be used to detect food contamination, anti-counterfeiting, and drugs or explosives.

“Approaches to detect minute amounts of molecules have historically been expensive and time-consuming,” according to the project’s description. “Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has emerged as a practical trace detection technology enabled by a portable detector.”

It is ultimately a solution that includes ink-jet printing and can be used on multiple membrane materials, according to the project description.

“For me, as a kid it was always about seeing how things work. It naturally led to science and engineering,” Yu said.

Across the room was the station for 3D Printed Biodegradable Poly (Propylene Fumarate) Vascular Grafts that Anthony Melchiorri invented.

“Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect,” according to the project’s description. The problem with treating it is that every patient varies.

A customized device does not exist, so Anthony Melchiorri, a Ph.D. student, said he invented the 3D Printed Biodegradable Poly Vascular Grafts to produce 3D prints of vascular grafts, The customized prints can be used for children during surgery.

As for projected goals, Melchiorri said he and his colleagues are “looking at making this a stepping stone for future projects and to procure some funding from large corporations to make this clinically relevant.”

He said he guesses that if everything works out perfectly, this goal can be reached within 10 to 15 years.

“I’ve always been fascinated by biology but wanted to do something hands-on and develop something that has an actual impact,” Melchiorri said.

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