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Title: The Research and Development of an Miniaturized Ultrasound Machine
Authors: Mumm, Katherine
Advisors: Arnold, Craig
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: The basis of this design stems from a year long project I worked on last year. The design that I worked on last year was what I had hoped would be a solution to a decades long problem that exists around the world; the problem of a consistently high percentage of maternal mortality. This percentage tends to be large in rural and what have already been deemed “at-risk” populations. The definition of at-risk regards populations that are more susceptible to disease, as they are located away from strategic resources in fighting disease, such as hospitals, main roads, or doctor’s offices. In these populations, there is a large percentage of emergencies during childbirth and labor that lead to four things: permanent injury of the mother, permanent injury of the child, death of the child, and/or death of the mother. Originally my research led me to believe that the reason for these large percentages was based upon a lack of medical equipment and staff to properly respond to these emergencies, as well as a lack of communications availability to the rural populations. My design was based on this information that I pulled from a variety of sources, including the WHO, the UN, and UNICEF. Rather than just rely on this information, I conducted a research trip to Liberia and Guinea, focusing on the rural communities lying on the back roads connecting the two major cities of Monrovia and Conakry, in order to further assess what the problems could be. I found three key factors that disproved my original hypothesis: the first being that there were in fact a plethora of medical facilities, staff, and resources to respond to emergencies during childbirth and labor. The second was the constant presence of telephone lines and cell signal, disproving the lack of communications equipment being the main issue. After realizing this second point pretty much right away, I started to brainstorm and interview the healthcare professionals that I was in contact with to understand why the percentage of maternal mortality was so high, and the answer was clear, concise and very evident: The lack of paved roads. The lack of paved roads led to two problems: the first was that during the rainy season the existing dirt roads disappeared and led entire villages stranded from medical care. The second was that without paved roads, there was less incentive to travel to doctor’s offices for checkups, which led to a lack of education about what the mother might be experiencing and could lead to major problems going unnoticed until it was too late. While there is little I could do as an engineering project in college to fix the entire roadway system, I decided to instead focus my energy on bringing education and life-saving medical advice in the form of a first-response robotic device. In order to create this, I did a significant amount of research and data collection regarding the primary problems that someone might face during childbirth and labor, and came up with three major medical concerns that I would focus on. However, while doing this research I realized that it would be impossible to tell what the problem was without knowing what trimester the baby was in. In order to do this, I decided to focus my efforts this year on creating a solution to that in the form of a miniature ultrasound device.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2021

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