Senior Engineering students showcase capstone projects

ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Biomedical and Mechanical engineering students at the University of Maine have been hard at work for the past year as they finish developing their capstone projects.

They spent Friday morning showing them off ahead of their student symposium next week.

"This project is a co-op between mechanical engineering technology and bio engineering," explained Senior, Lucas Hayden.

Senior year may be winding down for these University of Maine students, but there's one last assignment they must complete: their senior capstone projects.

Students work for an entire year applying what they have learned from their engineering education on a project that peaks some interest to them.

One group is looking to improve arm impairment for the elderly with the help of a soft, wearable robotic system.

"There aren't currently a lot of options of how to rehabilitate a person's arms, so we hope that our cheap, easy to use device will help out the aging population," explained Senior, Rachel Detwiler.

Senior engineering student, Gregory Viola, says he hopes this tool will help older residents lead more independent lives.

"I myself have two grandparents that have trouble getting up and walking around," explained Viola. "It's nice to be able to try and help make it easier for them."

The pneumatic muscles can be mounted and worn to help move arms forward and backward to aid walking. Students say they had to be crafty in their building.

"Our professor is really about fail fast, fail cheap, so that's what we did," said Hayden. "We serviced some silicone ones and couldn't get those working for us and found these to be the most efficient way to get the project rolling."

The second project included a vest - which stands for "Vitals Education in Simulation Training.

The team of four has been working to develop an affordable wearable training system for medical personnel in an effort to increase the quality of health care.

"This gives a real interaction with the patient which makes it better for them because they'll be able to actually have that hands on experience and actually have bed side manner and be able to better treat the patient and not just a mannequin," said Senior, Jennie Daley.

"We had to do all the electrical engineering ourselves and the computer engineering ourselves, so it was a challenge, but it was definitely worth it," said Senior, Samantha Brown.

The projects will be among more than 300 that will be presented at the 2018 UMaine Student Symposium on April 17th at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.