A torn ligament is an athlete’s worst nightmare. The popping noise that is the first signal of distress is followed by the knee swelling and excruciating pain. Also known as an ACL injury, it’s common during sports such as basketball, soccer, football, skiing, and tennis. Healing requires surgery and physical therapy and can take months. But what if there was a knee brace that could sense when the tissue is in danger of tearing and help prevent an injury?
That’s what Senior Design Team #20: Smart Knee Brace for Continuous Knee Monitoring is setting out to create. They’re working on a brace that measures the sounds the knee makes and collects that data to determine the health of the knee.
This all-female team consisting of seniors Lauren Crumpton, Tia Haire and Hannah Mintz, along with their Graduate Assistant Sandhya Chapagain and Electrical Engineering Professor Mohammad Moghimi are creating a brace with four micro-electrical monitoring sensors (MEMS). The data from the sensors is collected sent via Bluetooth to the athlete’s phone, where it is eventually uploaded to a cloud where the athlete’s doctor can analyze the data.
Senior Design is a year-long process where the engineering students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and work as a team to solve real-world problems for their capstone projects. They work for two semesters and in the spring will display their projects at the Senior Design Day, which would typically occur at the NIU Convocation Center. In light of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the event will be held virtually on Friday, May 8 from 1-4 p.m. at go.niu.edu/seniordesignday.