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Buckeye engineering students receive 2017 Tech Hub Student Project Grants

Two tech projects led by Ohio State engineering students are moving another step closer to becoming reality thanks to Tech Hub’s 2017 Student Project Grants.

Buckeye engineers’ efforts to create a shirt that tracks patient movement to help stroke patients on the road to recovery and flexible batteries were selected from the eight semifinalists that pitched their high-tech ideas at the Student Project Grants Pitch Night on November 15. The four winning teams will split $15,000 in grant funds from Tech Hub, The Ohio State University’s official technology store.

PhD student Alexis Burns pitches her movement-sensing device at Tech Hub's Student Project Grants Pitch Night.

Nearly 750,000 people in the U.S. will suffer a stroke this year and daily practice of functional tasks is critical to regaining motor function. Biomedical engineering PhD student Alexis Burns designed a device to encourage patients to complete these daily tasks, as well as provide doctors with much-needed insight into patient behavior. It uses dry textile electrodes that are sewn into a shirt to track patient movement and sends data to doctors who can use it to develop treatment.

Unlike fitness trackers that are limited to measuring movement of the sensor, Burns device measures the electrical activation of muscles that produce movement.

“This is important to understand and monitor muscular activation progress in stroke rehabilitation patients,” she said. Burns plans to use the grant funds to purchase testing materials and expand the device’s functionality.

Electrical and computer engineering majors Wesley Thio and Raman Vilkh are working on flexible batteries for use in wearable devices.

Electrical and computer engineering majors Wesley Thio and Raman Vilkhu’s winning project tackles the problem of using traditional batteries—which can be bulky, rigid and occasionally dangerous—to power wearable devices. They want to produce a viable alternative by printing battery cells on fabric to create flexible batteries powered by electrochemical fabrics. The duo plans to use their grant funding to streamline a manufacturing process that could operate at scale and purchase sensors to connect their powered fabrics. 

Three engineering student-led project teams were also recognized as runners up for the 2017 grants. Landscape architecture major Andrew Davis’s non-traditional 3-D printer is designed to print with unconventional materials, such as dirt and is suspended by wires to allow for a printing area of nearly any size. The Ohio State Engineers Without Borders Chapter plans to engineer infrastructure solutions for the village of Naju, Gambia, by helping design a molded concrete and wire fence as well as an irrigation system to help residents maintain crop fields through the nearly eight-month dry season. Engineering students Danny Freyschlag (engineering undecided), Kohl Kuntze (computer science and engineering), Kyle McIntyre (computer science and engineering) and Cory Miller (mechanical engineering) believe their Laser Vision technology for the visually impaired can use sound to help people see by  interpreting the depth of surroundings through sound output.

Winning teams will present their progress and share their successes at a followup Tech Hub event in September 2018.