While a technological breakthrough would be incredible, it means very little unless the information gained can actually be used. In order to confront the challenges of making technology attainable, I’ve sought out opportunities to develop new ideas and present them to an unfamiliar audience. From taking part in design challenges like HackDuke or Ideate, to presenting cheap and reusable science kits to local school principals and demonstrating them with a 5th grade class, I’ve learned how to adapt ideas to suit a client’s needs, and tailor my presentation to a target audience.
Senior Design: Living the dREaM
Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 (200 hours)
I’m currently involved in a year-long design class with Dr. Mark Palmeri to build a wearable device that determines when a subject is in REM sleep. I’ve done background research on the field, and found that most wearables really aren’t all that accurate. My team has done some work looking into the legal landscape, and mocked up our own prototype – I’ve focused on the machine learning algorithm that translates biosignals into a sleep state. We’ve followed many of the steps towards developing a project – everything from initial work like ideation, mind-mapping, defining a need and specifications, to documentation like FMEA, LBMs, ethical analyses, and worksheets for international standards. Along the way, we’ve learned a great deal about how to truly create a new product, and how many hurdles exist before it can be brought to market.
October 29-31, 2017 (15 hours)
A three-day conference devoted to creating an interface to help further research, the Hackathon provided a space for me to explore the steps required to convert a technical solution to one that can be used by other researchers. My time was spent designing a GUI to analyze videos of mouse interaction without human input required. The task was to improve analysis of mouse behavioral videos, which are frequently compared to neural recordings in order to study how different stimuli are represented in different neural patterns. This tool would be invaluable to people studying mouse behavior and its neural correlates.Although I was ultimately not successful in completing the project, I was able to learn more about the tasks required to bring an idea, like removing human guidance from a video-analysis algorithm, to a product that could actually be commercialized. Furthermore, this project helped me to understand that there is more to a solution than functionality – the user interface is also crucial to ensuring that it can be used as intended.
Science Kits for Kids
May – August, 2017 (30 hours)
This was a project to create a cheap and easy science kit that fit with North Carolina State education standards. My team and I developed a mystery kit, where students would use scientific techniques to analyze each clue and draw conclusions based on the data. Along the way, we learned about how to adhere to preexisting guidelines like education standards, how to work for an audience of fifth graders that was unfamiliar with the subject and would have an entirely different understanding of our work, and how to stay cost-effective – each kit was designed to take an hour to complete, be entirely reusable, and cost less than $7 to construct. Furthermore, through presentations in front of teachers and principals, as well as testing in a fifth-grade class room, we explored the challenges of speaking to different audiences with different expectations – all skills that will be useful when presenting a neuroengineered solution to varied audiences like doctors, patients, and insurance companies.
March, 2017 (5 hours)
Ideate was a design conference meant to provide an introduction to the process of generating ideas and transforming them into workable projects. I learned from successful examples, like an app that gameified daily tasks like drinking water and setting consistent alarms in order to help its user live a healthier life, and heard from experts about how to find solutions to everyday, unnoticed problems.