Florida Tech Project Takes Top Prize at Statewide Senior Design Showcase

Pneumatic Compression Device Targets Lymphedema Symptoms

MELBOURNE, FLA. — An invention that replaces a pneumatic compression device with electrically-actuated spring-powered compression that could bring relief to more than 180 million worldwide sufferers of painful swelling caused by lymphedema won a top prize at the second annual Florida-Wide Engineering Senior Design Invitational Spring 2019. This is the second straight year Florida Tech students have taken top honors.

Held April 22 at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, the event brought together senior projects from the engineering colleges at 10 Florida universities.

Florida Tech’s winning entry, a biomedical engineering project called “Nixus,” was from students Thomas Ward, Ariana Eichler, Samantha Schultz and Daniel Mastellar. Faculty advisors were Kunal Mitra, Ted Conway and Kenneth Gibbs.

The project won the People’s Choice Award, which along with the Judges Award is given to the top university teams.

“Nixus” is easy to put on and can be worn continuously. It uses nickel-titanium actuators and nylon bands, which “compress sequentially from the ankle to knee to facilitate lymphatic drainage. Pressure sensors are placed between the device and the patient’s leg to ensure therapeutic and safe pressures,” according to the project description.

At Florida Tech’s own capstone design event, the Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Student Design Showcase held April 12, “Nixus” won the Northrop Grumman Best in Show Award for engineering and the Entrepreneurial Award, as well as the category award in Biomedical Engineering.

The Design Invitational at FAU was developed by engineering deans from the Florida universities to showcase the collective strength of engineering and computer science programs in the Sunshine State and the impact these institutions have in providing thousands of skilled engineering and technology graduates entering the innovation economy.

“From Jacksonville to Miami, to the Space Coast and the High Tech Corridor, Florida’s universities are educating and preparing thousands of engineering and computer science students for jobs in the Sunshine State – the nation’s fastest-growing economy – and beyond,” event organizers said.

Florida Tech sent two additional projects to the Design Invitational in Boca Raton. They were:

  • Sun Nuclear Water Pumping Reservoir: This project, from students Spencer Caldwell, Clinton Kannenberg, Jeff Stanifer, John Linn, Ljubomir Garvic, Chen Han, Qurat-us-Ain Panjwani, Jicmat Ali and Michael Anderson, redesigned the reservoir, pump and other elements of Sun Nuclear’s Radiation Scanning System.
  • Piston Dampening System: Students David Zanni, Tyler Crawford, Trevor Gebelein, Garrett Jacobellis, Barbara Shreve, Randi Stewart and Alana Thornton, working with Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Ballistic missile Ground Equipment Team, designed an improved safety system that interfaces with and protects multi-million dollar equipment while safeguarding civilians from unexpected piston deployment. 

“All three Florida Tech projects exemplify how our innovative mix of hands-on learning, classroom experience and real-world partnerships empower our students to succeed on campus and beyond,” said College of Engineering and Science Dean Marco Carvalho. “We are proud to have them representing Florida Tech in the Design Invitational.”

In addition to Florida Tech and host FAU, participating schools were: Florida A&M University/Florida State University, University of Florida, University of Northern Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Miami, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of South Florida and Florida International University.


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