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SPRING 2013 NEWS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING From the Chair We are proud to announce that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Department of Bioengineering at Penn. We take this opportunity to look back on our Department’s history and take note of our present research and accomplishments. As one of the country’s oldest departments in bioengineering, we thank the four pioneering faculty members who took a few bold steps into unmarked territory, paving the way for the nearly 20 faculty members in our Department today. In addition to our outstanding faculty, the students of bioengineering are incredibly talented in the field; additionally, they strive to create a wonderful sense of community in the department. We have some of the most active student groups on campus: the Graduate Association of Bioengineering (GABE) and the undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). As our alumni and friends, you reflect both the accomplishments of our past and the potential for our future. Stop by to visit whenever you are in the area, and send us news about your latest plans, as we are eager to share our collective achievements with the greater Penn community. David F. Meaney S. R. Pollack Professor and Chair Bioengineering Students Win Senior Design Competition Pictured above is this year’s class of Bioengineering Senior Design students, who have worked throughout the academic year on self-designed projects in a wide range of topics. The students above were gathered for their final presentations this spring. At the end of April, the Penn Engineering Alumni Society sponsored the annual Senior Design Project Competition, where the top three Senior Design groups from each of the six Penn Engineering Departments competed for prizes. This year, one of the Bioengineering Senior Design groups won first prize. Seniors Nicki Blumenfeld, Anna Brzezinski, Brian Horwich, and Zach Shurden (all BSE’13) impressed the panel of judges with the vibrotactile feedback device they designed for use with elongated electrocautery tools typically used in laparoscopic surgeries. This technology provides an alternative type of feedback to the typical sensory feedback lost in laparoscopic surgeries; it has the potential to improve the 1 in 200 complication rate associated with these “Senior Design was a true culmination of our experience in engineering, and it was really rewarding to be able to pull together the different pieces of our BE background.” — Nicki Blumenfeld, BSE’13 surgeries. The winning group, self-named HapTech, has even applied for a provisional patent for their design. Regarding the entire Senior Design process, Blumenfeld said, “Senior Design was a true culmination of our experience in engineering, and it was really rewarding to be able to pull together the different pieces of our BE background.” Horwich added, “One of the greatest things I learned through Senior Design is that you don’t realize how good it feels to design something and then have it actually work.” The group members all recalled the moment of elation after the planning and programming were complete, and the device actually functioned as intended. continued on page 3… 1

Department of Bioengineering Newsletter: Spring 2013

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