The first ever Stretch Your Mind Engineering Challenge drew engineering minds from colleges across the United States, but it was Team Poly-Scientific Design from Cleveland State University (CSU) that won the competition with their knee flexion and orientation monitoring application. Team ROM 2.0 from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville took second place, and Team Hands Up from Catholic University of America took third.
The competition challenged students to design an original market solution using Parker’s electroactive polymer (EAP) sensor technology. Since January, teams have had the real-world experience of identifying an application, designing a solution and planning for its deployment into the market.
Team Poly-Scientific Design focused their project on sports medicine and other athletic settings. Students Nattawat Sunpituksaree, Christopher Schroeck, Brianna McKinney, Gianfranco Trovato and Michael Hanson investigated the viability of Parker’s Electroactive Polymer (EAP) high-strain sensors as a monitoring apparatus in the prevention of athletic injuries. They also identified the associated market potential of such an application.
Based on their research, the team designed a device that monitors the flexion and orientation of the knee, which are the main contributors to stress levels on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The device would allow health care providers to identify the ranges of motion that increase the risk of ACL injury, as well as the motions that prevent it.
Second place went to Team ROM 2.0 from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with their design of a knee-monitoring device that interfaces with Parker’s SCOUT™ Mobile software to track measurements of the knee’s range of motion. Making such measurements easier and more convenient helps patients who are recovering from knee surgery/replacement, who suffer from arthritis, or who have special needs.
Team Hands Up from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. won third place with its ‘Hands Up’ neurorehabilitation glove for stroke patients. By designing a glove that houses an EAP sensor, the team says the device is capable of measuring the joint angle of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) of the second digit. This allows doctors to determine whether or not physical therapy is helping to restore function of the patient’s arm and hand.