FIU partners with other schools in breakthrough technology

Jacqueline Rosado/ Contributing Writer

Monitoring your health and environment may be as easy as wearing a wristband or tooth cap.

According to Shekhar Bhansali, chair for electrical and computer engineering, an upcoming small device will monitor health, detect any changes within the person’s body and manage wellness.

Although the creation of such a small monitoring device is still in progress, FIU is going to be involved in this device’s invention.

FIU is collaborating with North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Virginia.

This project originated at NCSU, where the National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies is located. Although talks of building a sensor composed of communication chips started as an idea, it became a work in progress when the NSF decided to fund the proposal in March.

The sensors will be composed of the smallest of materials to create sensors, micropower generators, advanced next-generation electronics and communication. The size of these sensors will be 10 mm, which is about 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Depending on the type of research or data that doctors or researchers intend to collect, these devices will be created to wear as a tooth cap, wristband or anything else that is easy for the patient to move in.

As for FIU’s role in this research, the University will create sensors that gather analytical data from the body and then couple those results with FIU-developed nano energy storage systems joined with other contributions from the partnering universities. Doctors, patients and researchers will have easy access to health data collected by the sensors. The data can then be transferred to computers, phones and other devices.

The device’s main purpose is to make it easier for the doctor or researcher to conduct a more detailed analysis on how a patient or subject reacts to certain environments instead of just relying on the patient or subject’s oral account of how they feel or what they are experiencing.

“This program could have the ability of doing more than just monitoring wellness and health. Maybe with time, it could help save lives,” said Erin Muro, senior and biology major.

Bhansali said that this research will give FIU students a chance to work in large semi-industrial environments filled with limitless possibilities.

“Many of these students have no idea what research is and have probably never stepped into a research lab. With this project, we will be able to expose our students to science and nanotechnology, creating a new generation of researchers,” Bhansali said.

According to Bhansali, these FIU graduate and undergraduate students will be the key players in determining what will come out this project. For FIU, the main goal is to get students more involved in researching.

ASSIST is partnering with 11 secondary schools within the relative area of the partnering universities. FIU will be working with schools like Miami Coral Park Senior High School and Rockway Middle School to give these students the opportunity to be a part of this project.

The purpose of ASSIST’s partnership with these secondary schools is to create a new generation of researchers who are aware of science technology and the impact it can have on society. According to Bhansali, the students will understand how they can use these resources to benefit society.

Valerie Aleman, sophomore in journalism and mass communications, said, “This outreach program will help open up the children’s minds to whole a new realm of countless possibilities.”

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