My Senior Capstone project involved progressing through the steps of designing a medical device, which culminated in presenting a working prototype.
The hypothesis posed to us by researchers and clinical professionals was that different medical events surrounding physical brain trauma (both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, as well as TBIs) would result in different brain signals during and immediately following the event. At the time of this project (2012-2013), there was no method of testing this hypothesis. We were tasked with building a prototype that acquired EEG signals in the field, and could accommodate for various injuries and environments. It needed to be able to store or transmit the data back for collection. Patients would continue to be treated with current standards as sufficient amounts of data was accumulated. The goal was to have a large enough pool of data that can be retroactively divided by case and conclusively prove or invalidate the hypothesis.
My partner and I defined the problem statement, met with academics and physicians, researched both current EEG methodologies as well as those in development, and defined the steps for pursuing FDA approval. During this process we modeled a handheld device in a 3D CAD program, built a working prototype, and produced the recorded data. This work resulted in a presentation of our results to our project supporters, peers, and academics.
Next Steps included:
- Developing a smaller hardware solution that could fit fully enclosed in a smaller, manageable, and more ergonomic handle.
- Reduce signal noise through various methods. These may include using better electrodes, reducing noise generated from internal wiring, the addition of shielding in the handle, methods of stabilizing the system on a patient, or incorporating a gel to increase contact or improving the software package on-board the device.
- Standardizing the steps and locations for collecting data.
- Incorporating an on-board power source.