Innovative technology will be on display again this year at the annual Senior Design Demonstration Day. The virtual event hosted by NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET) will be held Friday, April 23 from 1-4 p.m. at go.niu.edu/seniordesign. Visitors to the website will be able to interact by live video chat with 72 student teams to learn about their innovative senior design projects.
Senior Design is a two-semester course and the pinnacle learning experience in an engineering student’s undergraduate education. The course brings together concepts and principles learned in the classroom and extends theories into practical use. Students form interdisciplinary teams and get hands-on experience in solving real-world problems, which is the kind of engagement that is the foundation of the curriculum at NIU.
In a collaboration with King Chung, Ph.D., Professor of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders in the Audiology Department of the College of Health and Human Services challenged a team to design and build a low-cost calibration device for audiometers. Below is a Q&A with Professor Chung about her experience with the team.
CEET: Why did you want to get involved/lend your expertise?
Chung: Because of my humanitarian work around the world, I saw the lack of calibration for the audiology equipment used to test people’s hearing, especially in low- and mid-income countries. The main problems are the cost of calibration equipment and the lack of expertise. So, I thought of a way to lower the cost of calibration equipment by eliminating the dedicated equipment for measuring sound characteristics and by creating self-guided and easy-to-use software so that audiology clinicians can calibrate their equipment and make sure their testing results are accurate.
I had the idea and filed a patent application in 2018. The next step is to reduce the concept into practice.
Last fall, the dean of engineering made an announcement about the senior projects for engineering students. It was a match and the rest was history.
CEET: What has been your reaction to the project created/how students managed it?
Chung: Three of the engineering students are creating the couplers, microphone sensor unit, and the software. The student who is responsible for creating the couplers is very responsive in addressing my concerns and needs for durability and portability.
CEET: Anything else you would like to add?
I’m looking forward to seeing the final product as it has the potential to help a lot of clinicians around the world.