Capstone Projects 2023
Welcome the BMEG 457 Capstone Design Project suite for 2023. Using the knowledge and skills they have gained during their studies, undergraduate students are tasked with solving real world problems that require immediate solutions.
See below for this year’s project presentations.
THE ART-ERY OF HEALING
The prevalence of potentially life-threatening pseudoaneurysms is rising due to the increase in minimally invasive endovascular procedures as an alternative to open surgery. A pseudoaneurysm occurs when there is an injury to the artery wall resulting in the pooling of blood outside the artery. Individuals do not typically know they have a pseudoaneurysm until up to 72 hours after their procedure, when it reaches 2 cm in diameter and emerges with symptoms of pain, swelling, and bruising. Early detection of pseudoaneurysms before a diameter of 2 cm would improve patient outcomes, reduce physician workload, and lower the economic burden on the healthcare system.
The current method of detection is guided ultrasound, which is performed in hospital settings. Our goal is to develop a take-home, early detection device allowing individuals to obtain proactive treatment.
Our solution is a wearable brace with auscultation detection to monitor artery flow sounds. Femoral pseudoaneurysms typically have an audible bruit due to turbulent bidirectional “yin-yang” blood flow. The brace has an auscultation diaphragm that transmits pulsatile frequencies from the femoral artery to a microcontroller with a real-time data-processing algorithm. These frequencies are filtered and classified as either laminar flow or turbulent “yin-yang” flow, the latter of which is associated with pseudoaneurysms.
The Art-ery of Healing Team
Alisa Da Silva, Amarpreet Powar, Andrea Gonzalez, Jessica Jung, John Cookson
CLIENT: Dr. David Liu
FRCPC Certified Radiologist, Associate Professor UBC
BONE FIXATION PIN REMOVAL
Forearm fractures are the most common type of fracture for children under 18. To stabilize the fractures, pins, also known as k-wires, are surgically implanted into the patient’s arm with a small portion protruding out of the skin to enable easy removal 3 to 6 weeks later. In the current standard-of-care procedure for k-wire removal, clinicians use pliers to pull out the pins. The forceful yanking of the pins and long procedure time introduce fear and anxiety in the patients and increases perceived pain. This can ultimately create emotional distress and a general apprehension of healthcare
To create a more patient-centric approach, our team has developed Osseus, a semi-automated k-wire removal tool. Osseus attaches to the k-wires via locking clamps, which prevent the k-wire from slipping out. A motorized pulling mechanism modulates the force required to extract the k-wire from the arm in under one second, which is ~10 times faster than the current approach. The high speed combined with the device’s alignment with the k-wire’s longitudinal axis reduces the procedural burden on the clinician. The addition of child-friendly aesthetics and auditory elements helps to distract patients from the procedure.
Bone Fixation Pin Removal Team
Seif Abdeldayem, Adrian Reitmaier, Coralie Tcheune, Ryan Yeung, Kat Zaraska
CLIENT: Nigel Halsted
Medical Device Project Leader, BCIT (MAKE+)
SHOCK-ABSORBENT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING FOR HIP FRACTURES
Hip fractures are a common and serious injury, especially in older adults. To help reduce the risk of hip fractures, our team has designed a new hip protector that uses different shock-absorbing materials than current-state-of-the-art products. The goal of this project is to create a hip protector that is more effective than previous models in preventing hip fractures.
The new hip protector design utilizes shock-absorbing materials (Figure 2) that deform permanently, which maximizes the amount of force absorbed during a fall. In addition to being highly effective, this hip protector is also designed to be breathable to increase comfort and worn discreetly under clothing, so patients can maintain their dignity while still being protected. The hip protector clothing is designed in the form of a belt (Figure 1), which can be easily secured around the waist with Velcro. This design reduces the time and effort required to wear the hip protector.
The team has conducted extensive testing on the hip protector, including drop tests. The results have been promising, with the new hip protector design demonstrating significantly better shock-absorption capabilities than previous models.
If successful, this new hip protector could have a significant impact on fall prevention and hip fracture reduction among older adults. It has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for those at risk of hip fractures and provide peace of mind to patients and their families.
Shock-Absorbent Protective Clothing for Hip Fractures Team
Farshad Farhadi, Rachel Wang, Sheridan Rahman, Yuanhang Geng, Anna Kakkar
CLIENT: Dr. Dena Shahriari
NON-MUSCLE INVASIVE BLADDER CANCER TREATMENT INJECTOR
Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) occurs in the inner lining of the bladder wall and constitutes 75% of bladder cancer cases. Its high recurrence rate imposes a significant treatment burden on patients and healthcare systems. Drs. Jay Kizhakkedathu and Kai Yu, of the UBC Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, have tackled this challenge by developing drug-coated titanium seeds. The drug, infigratinib, treats NMIBC, but it also induces toxic side effects when ingested orally. The goal of this project is to design a device to implant these titanium seeds directly into the bladder wall, in a minimally-invasive procedure, for local delivery of infigratinib, thereby avoiding these side effects.
Tested in both in vitro and animal bladder models, the proposed solution is deployed through a cystoscope, an instrument used by urologists to access the bladder via the urethra. Leveraging the cystoscope’s control and visualization capabilities, a needle, in which seeds are housed, is inserted into the bladder wall at a tumour site. With the pull of a trigger from outside the body, a seed is ejected from the needle and implanted into the bladder wall. The drug can then be eluted into the surrounding tissue to treat the cancer locally.
Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer Treatment Injector Team
Samarth Bhardwaj, Arshaan Dhingra, Rebecca Lim, Alexandra Macdonald, Aditi Sitolay
CLIENT: Dr. Peter Black
Urologist, UBC Department of Urologic Sciences
DL FOR SPECKLE REDUCTION IN OCT
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) has become widespread in the diagnosis of retinal diseases over the past two decades because of its ability to perform non-invasive imaging on the eye. Recent advancements in OCT imaging systems have allowed clinicians to scan the retina with rates up to several megahertz, which significantly reduces the scanning time for patients. However, high-speed OCT systems inevitably produce images with poorer quality. The increased noise in high-speed systems is mainly caused by photon fluctuations and fewer photons detected at the photodetector. This could lead to inaccurate diagnoses as the noise would affect a clinician’s interpretation of the retinal structures. Traditional methods require complicated computations, as well as increased retinal scanning times to obtain multiple volume images. In this project, through machine learning we have developed a Deep Neural Network (DNN)-based model to reduce speckle and shot noise and increase image quality in OCT images. This model can be interacted with directly though our specially-designed graphical user interface (GUI), created using Python. Overall, this project has the potential to greatly benefit patients and clinicians, and we hope that it can be integrated into a clinical setting to improve the accuracy and efficiency of retinal disease diagnoses.
DL for Speckle Reduction in OCT Team
Catherine Ng, Jennifer Tsang, Joshua Ho, Tiffany Prayitno, Yudan Chen
CLIENT: Dr. Myeong Jin Ju
PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Computational Ophthalmic Imaging (COIL) Lab
A provincial shortage of family physicians has left many British Columbians with nowhere to go when in need of non-urgent care, thus turning to emergency rooms to access a variety of medical treatments. This healthcare crisis has resulted in overworked nurses and understaffed emergency rooms needing to treat a large number of non-urgent cases. Our software solution works to mitigate this problem by allowing triage nurses to augment their duties and focus on direct patient care by automating the triage process.
Our patient-friendly triage system is targeted to users with minor or non-urgent ailments (low priority in an emergency care setting) and prompts patients to input their symptoms in an easy-to-use process. Using this information, our solution determines the patient’s Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) score, allowing the patient to be queued in order of priority into the hospital’s ER system. With features such as a high-contrast design, text-to-speech capabilities, anatomical graphics, large text, and patient-friendly language, the solution makes it easy for patients to communicate multiple concerns while storing no personal identifiable data. Our solution will improve the triage process in the emergency room and allow patients to get faster, higher quality care.
ED Self-Triage Team
Ji Na Choi, Abhishek Dhir, Saum Gupta, Kayley Lutzer, & Laia Shpeller
CLIENT: Dr. Amir Behboudi
Emergency Physician, Peace Arch Hospital
Welcome to our project aimed at reducing the impact of slips, trips, and falls. Did you know that falls are Canada’s primary cause of injury-related deaths and the second leading cause of unintentional injuries worldwide? In fact, slips, trips, and falls account for 84% of all non-fatal workplace injuries and result in over 37.3 million cases that require medical attention each year 1.
These incidents also put a significant financial strain on healthcare systems and workplaces, costing over CAD 10.3 billion. That’s why the UBC Human Biomechanics lab has developed a machine-learning algorithm capable of detecting falls and near-fall incidents.
Our team has created an android app for real-time data collection, which will be instrumental in improving the algorithm’s efficacy. Additionally, the app is equipped to track the location of falls and near-fall incidents, providing a heatmap of high-risk areas that require attention. The identification of these high-risk areas allows us to take preventative measures, significantly reducing the incidence of falls and their detrimental effects.
Near-Fall Detection Team
Christopher Ede, Pooja Gupta, Teresa Liao, Olivia Melani Putri, Yuqi Xiao
CLIENT: Dr. Calvin Kuo
Assistant Professor, Member, Centre for Hip Health & Mobility
SMART SWIMMING FINS
Swimming is a popular form of full-body exercise which has many health benefits if performed with proper technique. Incorrect technique may result in neck and shoulder injuries, lower back pain, and knee injuries due to long periods of repetitive motion and poor stroke mechanics. If a swimmer wants to improve their technique, swim coaching options are often expensive and inaccessible. We want to determine if a wearable foot mounted device can capture data that can be used to adequately measure swim kick metrics. Our Smart Swimming Fins seamlessly integrate into a swimmer’s training routine and record biomechanic metrics with minimal interaction. This improves the speed and efficiency of capturing data from large sample populations without the need for multiple cumbersome and expensive camera setups. After each swimming session, our tool is able to generate a detailed report that informs the development team on every subject’s kicks per stroke, kicking frequency, kicking amplitude and angle of kick.
Smart Swimming Fins Team
Allison Simpson, Ayush Bansal, Jade Levine, Jessica Tran, Parthvi Kulkarni, Matthew Mong
CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING APP
Type I diabetes currently affects approximately 9 million people worldwide. Patients with this condition are very sensitive to the amount of carbohydrate they consume per meal. Current solutions for carbohydrate counting are either inefficient or untailored towards type I diabetic patients. As a consequence, a high percentage of patients practice flawed or incomplete carbohydrate counting methods, resulting in inaccurate approximations of the insulin they administer after their meals. This causes poor blood glucose control, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease and nerve damage. Our team aims to mitigate this issue by creating a tool that eases the process of counting carbohydrates in meals and improves the patients’ quality of life.
We developed an application that is able to estimate the amount of carbohydrates in a meal quickly and effortlessly from taking a picture. The algorithm within our application calculates the volume of the food and identifies the type of food. The app will then access our nutrition database, giving users the estimated amount of carbohydrates in their meal. Additionally, our app allows users to log and view their previous meals, further enhancing the process for those that cook their own food and repeat their meals.
Carbohydrate Counting App Team
Ansel Chen, Ashley Jaeyoon Kim, Enrique Moran, Jethro Agathon, Joshua Park, and Tina Zhang
CLIENT: Dr. Rui Chen
Endocrinologist, Ace Health Care
PATIENT-SPECIFIC DENTAL IMPLANTATION GUIDES FOR MANDIBLE-FIBULA RECONSTRUCTION
Patients presenting to Vancouver General Hospital with bone cancer in the mandible will often require surgery to remove and reconstruct the diseased area. The removal of this affected region is accurately executed by a surgical cutting guide created during the pre-surgical planning phase of the procedure. At the same time, a portion of bone is taken from the patient’s fibula with a separate surgical cutting guide, which will be repurposed and fitted into the opening of the mandible. Following the mandible reconstruction surgery, there is a 6-month recovery period to allow the fusion of the patient’s bone before concluding with dental implantation.
The goal of our project is to eliminate this 6-month recovery period by allowing dental implantation to occur during the mandible reconstruction surgery. This can be achieved by creating a new surgical guide that can mark the location of dental implants and guide bone cuts simultaneously. In our project we have redesigned aspects of the software component to accommodate this change. The outcome of this project will be an optimized workflow to the procedure and a rise in the patient’s postoperative quality of life.
Dental Implantation Guides for Mandible-Fibula Reconstruction Team
Amber Bhatt, Sam Chang, Patrick Cervantes, Talia Beckie and Olivia Hetland
CLIENT: Dr. Eitan Prisman
Clinical Associate Professor, Prisman Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, UBC
ALTERNATE CPAP INTERFACE FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA PATIENTS
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder where the upper airway collapses during sleep and causes breathing to stop for over 10 seconds at a time. This continuous disruption of sleep can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes if left untreated. Current solutions involve providing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) through a mask interface. However, despite its well-researched effectiveness, CPAP therapy continues to have low adherence, which has been largely attributed to the discomfort of the mask interface. Clarivent Medical has designed the Bubble Helmet for non-invasive ventilation during COVID-19, and their helmet-based solution can provide OSA patients with a comfortable alternative for CPAP therapy. However, transitioning the Bubble Helmet out of the hospital environment and into the homes of OSA patients requires additional features to ensure user safety. Our team has been working on developing safety features to address risks of asphyxiation (a lack of oxygen) and barotrauma (high pressure) to allow the Bubble Helmet to be used at home.
Alternate CPAP Interface for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients Team
Rebecca Alain, Brian Liao, Stephanie Pan, Aarushi Sehgal, Josie Zhao
CLIENT: Arpan Grover
CEO of Clarivent Medical
THE LUNAR SYSTEM: THE LOWER-EXTREMITY UNOBTRUSIVE ATHLETIC RESEARCH SYSTEM
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are a serious knee injury that are increasing in pediatric soccer athletes, with over 2 million ACL injuries occurring annually around the world. These severe injuries have permanent physical and psychosocial costs. Currently, there are no standardized biomechanical metrics that characterize ACL injury risk factors on-field, and most research is conducted in the lab, post-injury. This means that researchers miss out on a lot of data including how athletes move pre-injury, what athletes did that caused the injury, and how that translates to their movement post-injury.
To address this problem, our team has created a wearable, sensor-based device capable of measuring knee kinematics on-field. Our device is designed to capture the natural, unrestricted movement of pediatric soccer athletes and communicates that data to researchers, who can use the information to create standardized metrics of ACL injury risk factors.They can use the information to create standardized metrics of ACL injury risk factors. The device, which is entirely embedded within typical soccer equipment and logs the motion. The device prioritizes athlete safety, and ensures that athlete performance is unimpeded, all while collecting valuable data.
The Lunar System: The Lower-Extremity Unobtrusive Athletic Research System Team
Mona Behrouzian, Genna Bonnor, Shealie Lock, Atoosa Mahmoudian, Mona Pei, Meriem Satra
CLIENT: Dr. Tim Bhatnagar
Investigator and Engineer at the Motion Lab (Sunny Hill Health Centre, BC Children’s Hospital)
3D BIOPRINTED HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA MODEL
Hepatocellular carcinoma is a prevalent liver malignancy with more than half a million new cases diagnosed each year and it is the fourth highest cancer-related cause of death worldwide. Throughout this academic year, we – Ipek Egilmez, Natalia Gosnell, Karen Hwang, Tae Kim, Haley Moss, and Sanjana Singh – worked to develop a 3D bioprinted hepatocellular carcinoma model as our capstone project. We worked with our client Dr. Rafal Witek who is VP of Translational Sciences at Aspect Biosystems to develop these models as platforms for high throughput cancer drug screening.
The goal of this project was to develop a hepatocellular carcinoma model which better recapitulates the in vivo tumor microenvironment by creating biomimetic tumouroids. This goal was achieved in a two-step process where we first generated spheroids and then proceeded to bioprint these spheroids using Aspect Biosystem’s proprietary 3D bioprinter. The novel bioprinting approach using our client’s expertise allowed us to better mimic the in vivo tumor microenvironment and metabolic activity, as well as increasing reproducibility and scalability.
This model has the potential to transform current standards of cancer treatments and research by reducing cost, human and material resources required, and time needed during drug development.
3D Bioprinted Hepatocellular Carcinoma Team
Ipek Egilmez, Natalia Gosnell, Karen Hwang, Tae Kim, Haley Moss, and Sanjana Singh
CLIENT: Dr. Rafal Witek
VP of Translational Sciences at Aspect Biosystems
CAULIFLOWER EAR ACUTE MANAGEMENT
The outer ear is susceptible to blunt trauma, particularly in contact sports such as boxing. This leads to the formation of an ear hematoma: the pooling of blood between the skin and cartilage layers of the ear. If left untreated, the hematoma can worsen and develop into an irreversible physical deformity known as cauliflower ear. Treatment involves the drainage of blood via an incision and the application of a post-drainage medical dressing that compresses the hematoma. However, current post-drainage treatments are not standardized among physicians, which leads to inconsistent healing outcomes, such as the reaccumulation of blood and the eventual development of cauliflower ear. Our capstone team aims to design a standardized post-drainage treatment for ear hematomas that is customizable to different ear contours and provides the compression force required for proper healing. The device consists of four different magnet groupings that each fit a different ear contour. The magnet groupings consist of small circular magnets held together by medical tape and each grouping is encased in a silicone layer that interfaces with the skin. Our device provides physicians with a standardized and easy-to-use solution that ensures the effective treatment of ear hematomas and prevents the formation of cauliflower ears.
Cauliflower Ear Acute Management Team
Tanya Wu, Puneet Sidhu, Siqi Da, Ayooluwakiitan Okesanya, Zhe Wang
Abhiram Cherukupalli, MD MHSc
PGY-3, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, UBC
Emily Deane, MD, MSc
Chief Resident, PGY-5, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, UBC
CELL EXTRACTION FOR SINGLE CELL ANALYSIS IN CANCELLOUS BONE
Our team is developing a protocol to mechanically and enzymatically separate high numbers of cells from spongy bone. The extracted cell suspension is being prepared for a test called single cell mRNA sequencing. This will allow the cellular environment of prostate cancer metastasis in bone to be studied more in depth. Such information, particularly in regards to immune responses may inform future prostate cancer treatments. This technology has previously been applied to the study of soft tissues. However, the hard mineral matrix of bone presents a challenge. Enzymes used to break down the collagen structure of the tissue are unable to reach the collagen fibers through the bone matrix. Destruction of this matrix is not a feasible solution, as the cells of interest cannot survive in its absence. We are attempting to bridge this gap and create a robust protocol that can easily isolate cells from harder tissue while maintaining cell viability.
Cell Extraction For Single Cell Analysis In Cancellous Bone Team
Shaunti Bains, Carter Glen, Daniel Heath, Arnav Savla, Gavin Storoschuk
CLIENT: Michael E. Cox
Vancouver Prostate Centre
THE BLACKBOX: MINIATURIZED HYPOXIC CELL CULTURING CHAMBER
Every year, it becomes more difficult for pharmaceutical companies to develop new and innovative drugs. The primary barrier for developing drugs is a lack of accurate in-vitro testing samples. Our client, Apricell Technology, aims to address this issue in the field of cancer therapeutics. Through our project, we created a hypoxic cell culture chamber capable of accurately replicating cancer conditions on a plate.
Hypoxic, or low oxygen, cell culturing is an essential technique, requiring a controlled environment to mimic the physiological conditions of hypoxia. Current hypoxic chambers are large and expensive, making them inaccessible to many researchers. Our team has developed a miniaturized hypoxic cell culturing chamber that is affordable and easy to use.
The chamber is designed to fit any commercially available six-well plate. It is equipped with integrated pH and oxygen sensors that provide real-time monitoring of the cell culture environment. The sensors are connected to a microcontroller that regulates the gas mixture flowing into the chamber to maintain a hypoxic environment.
The chamber’s compact size and ease of use make it an ideal tool for researchers who want to study hypoxic cell biology in a controlled environment. Its affordability also makes it accessible to smaller research labs and educational institutions.
The BlackBox: Miniaturized Hypoxic Cell Culturing Chamber Team
Amin Abdolkhani, Selim Akef, Qiyang Geng, Mattathias Klassen, Yi Yang
CLIENT: Dr. Amir Seyfouri
The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for fast, accurate, and easy to administer diagnostic tests to identify people for quarantine and treatment. Rapid lateral flow immunoassays are one such platform manufactured by Response Biomedical Corporation with the capability of testing for a variety of infectious biomarkers with specific cartridges. Their current procedure, however, involves manual pipetting to transfer and mix component fluids into the test cartridge. As shown in the demo video, our team aimed to develop a procedure that allows for smaller samples of blood collected and removed the need for pipetting steps to reduce user fatigue during batch testing. This is achieved by using a sterile capillary tube to collect blood from the patients finger to transfer to the pad of our novel mix divider, before being placed up to three at a time in our Tri-Mixer Well and then dispensed into the test cartridges using the redesigned dropper cap. With comparable unit cost and test performance, our solution aims to increases the accessibility of batch testing with the RAMPTM Reader Platform in smaller scale clinics.
Tri-Mixer Well Team
Kevin Janzen, Tony Miao, Joshua Santo, Stephen Dohmoon Lee, Neal Elharidy, Isam Ibrahim
CLIENT: Dr. Patrick Francis
Senior Product Manager, Product Development, Response Biomedical
Disposable diapers are a significant contributor to global plastic waste, taking over 500 years to break down in landfills and posing a threat to the environment and public health. While reusable cloth diapers exist, they present skin-related conditions and inconvenience for caregivers. Our capstone team has engineered a 100% compostable diaper prototype using biocompatible materials, that maintains the cost, ease-of-use, and hygiene standards of current disposable diapers. With guidance from Rashmi Prakash, co-founder of Aruna Revolution Health Inc., and faculty supervisor Anna Blakney, Assistant Professor at UBC, we have created a diaper prototype that can compost under the right conditions in a municipal composting facility. All the raw materials used in our design are from plant-based sources and/or food waste, making our diaper truly sustainable. Our design consists of 4 different layers that work together to absorb urine that is excreted from a baby. As seen in the video, our prototype absorbs all the liquid that was poured onto it without leaking. In the future, we hope our design can be scaled and manufactured by our client to eventually revolutionize the industry.
Compostable Diapers Team
Johnny Cai, Wendy Ma, Alex Jung, Sabiha Sultana, Hannah Tesch
CLIENT: Rashmi Prakash
Co-founder Aruna Revolution Health Inc.