2013 Capstone Teams

Maternal Health

Title: Designing a Diagnostic for Ectopic Pregnancy in Rural Areas
Client: Dr. Joanna Perron
Team: Haley Costigan, Anshum Sood, Helen Sun, Neeha, Teekappanavar

Ectopic pregnancies occur when the embryo implants outside of the uterine cavity leading to a non-viable fetus that represents a significant risk to the mother’s health. This occurs in 1-3% of pregnancies. In the United States, women will normally be diagnosed by transvaginal ultrasound at the six-week mark if they begin experiencing pelvic pain. However, in the developing world, there are both cultural and technological barriers to this type of diagnosis, since women may not be comfortable discussing symptoms, and technicians may be under-equipped and under-trained. This project seeks to develop a low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic that is suitable for deployment in the developing world.

2013 Maternal Health

 Global Health

Title: A Novel Device for Quantifying Behavior Change in Global Health
Client: Dr. Lisa Thompson
Team: Norman Bae, Brooke Liang, Rahul Nayak, Amanpreet Virk

In Guatemala, 62% of the population cooks with open fires, leading to the inhalation of byproducts that cause emphysema, cataracts, cancer, and heart disease. Berkeley researchers have developed both technological and behavioral interventions for this health challenge. The standard method of assessing the uptake and results of these global health interventions is a self-survey which is limited in the quality and frequency of data it can provide.  This project seeks to develop a tool for objectively quantifying behavior change in challenging rural environments.

2013 Global Health


Title: Monitoring the Amount of Fruit, Vegetables, and Nuts Individuals are Eating
Client: Dr. Lenard Lesser
Team: Michael Hwang, Vicki Ni, Elias Sideris, Jeremy Whang

There has been recent work in assessing the nutritional value of food by determining the number of servings of fruit, vegetables, and nuts in the dish.  While there is still ongoing research into how to use this information to rate or classify foods, a universal challenge for nutritionists seeking to conduct studies on complex, mixed dishes is the separation of the meal into its constituent parts for assessment.  This project seeks to develop a tool to expedite the separation and quantification of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts in a mixed dish.

2013 Nutrition


Title: A Zebrafish Feeding Unit
Client: Professor Su Guo
Team: Shilpi Mathrani, Ryan Akiyama,  Julie Haduong, Shawn Li

The zebrafish is a powerful and commonly used model organisms that is suitable for mutagenesis screening and knock-down genetics, yet maintaining a zebrafish facility is less expensive and space-intensive than for a mouse model. There is, however, a significant cost in manpower to manually feed and take care of the fish. The purpose of this project is to develop a solution to expedite fish feeding for a range of zebrafish facilities.

2013 Genetics

Patient Care

Title: Hospital Sleep Detection System for Prevention of Sleep Disruption and Delirium
Team: Emmalyn Chen, Rachel Cheng, Ernest Lai, Peter Mains

Multiple factors can contribute to delirium, including sleep disturbances, old age, treatment with multiple drugs, poor nutrition, and medical procedures. Many of these causes are often unavoidable in a hospital setting. However, one factor that can be addressed is sleep disturbance. While it is unclear whether sleep disturbance causes delirium or delirium causes sleep disturbance, the two are believed to be linked. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Guidelines for Prevention of Delirium recommends promoting good sleep quality as a preventative measure for delirium: “Promote good sleep patterns and sleep hygiene by avoiding nursing or medical procedures during sleep hours, if possible; scheduling medication rounds to avoid disturbing sleep; and reducing noise to a minimum during sleep periods.” This project aims to develop a device for monitoring patient sleeping and minimizing sleep disruptions in the hospital environment.

2013 Patient Care


Title: Prevention of Falls among the Elderly at Home
Team: Andrea Dickey, Noah Goldman, Robin Parrish, Geonyoung Kim

One in three adults over the age of 65 years of age falls each year. These falls result in fractures, decreased mobility, fear and trauma. In one study, while 74% of subjects were prescribed assistive devices, only 21% of falls occurred while patients were using devices. It can therefore be gathered that most falls occur when an elderly individual is not using his or her device. The chance of falling significantly increases when these users forgo their devices, as 30-50% of users who abandon their prescribed walkers represent a highly disproportionate number of at-home falls. Additionally, those elderly who do use their assistive mobility assist devices will often leave them behind to maneuver through tighter spaces in the home such as kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms. This project seeks to develop an assistive device which can more easily and conveniently be taken throughout the entirety of an individual’s home, such that they are more likely to use the device at all times, decreasing their chance of falling.

2013 Geriatrics

Medical Diagnostics

Title: A Non-Invasive Means of Accurately Determining Oxygen Saturation of the Central Venous System
Team: Marie Biscarrat, Nimmi Bhatt, Robert Chen, Manali Sawany

Measurement of a patient’s oxygen saturation in venous blood gas (SvO2) gives hospital staff information about the patient’s integrated oxygen consumption. Current measurements for SvO2 require invasive Swan-Ganz catheters which are inserted inside the patient’s body to sample the blood. However, catheterization carries many risks, including bleeding, infection, and pain at the catheter insertion site. Catheterization may also damage blood vessels and there may be allergic reactions to the dyes that are used during the associated coronary angiography. Furthermore, not only is the catheterization process time-consuming, but analysis of the blood sample must be performed in a laboratory. Thus, this project aims to develop a minimally invasive device that can measure SvO2 in a clinical setting.

2013 Diagnostics

Patient Monitoring

Title: Prevention of Narcotics-Induced Respiratory Depression
Team: Adrian Tabula, Brian Dick, Vinay Viswanadham, Yumi Suh

Surgery is painful; for post-surgical pain relief, physicians and nurses administer analgesics to patients. Opioids are one type of analgesic given to patient. Notable among opioids are their narcotic properties. Narcotic analgesics bind to opiate receptors distributed throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. Agonists of these receptors cause a variety of effects, including pain relief. However, binding of opioids to receptors in the brain stem may cause neurons to hyperpolarize, resulting in an inhibition of respiratory function. This drug-induced respiratory depression restricts the amount of oxygen that the body receives, potentially resulting in death. This project seeks to develop a device that allows hospital staff to monitor the respiration of patients being administered narcotic analgesics in a hospital setting.

2013 Patient Monitoring