Congratulations to the Winners of the 2017-2018 Kick-Starts!


Acoustic Fire Suppression Device
Nicholas Hsiao and Patrick Madalinski 

The Wave Extinguisher has many limitations, namely the size of the fire it can extinguish and the distance at which it is effective. The goal of this experiment is to create an acoustic fire-suppression device and investigate its ability to extinguish a fire using non-sinusoidal waveforms. The device operates on the principle that rapid changes in air pressure disrupt the fire’s ability to “breathe” oxygen from the air. By changing the waveform of the sound, we can manipulate the air pressure surrounding the fire in different ways, such as the intensity and duration of pressure spikes/drops. We aim to discover a relationship between the device’s performance and the properties of the sound waves emitted.

Sponsor: Dr. Justin Garvin



The Bugle Chip
James Chenoweth, Ford Minaghan, Michael Garneau, and Velarchana Santhana

The idea my team and I would like to pursue is a solution to the following problem: The placement and replacement of gastrojejunal (GJ) feeding tubes requires significant amounts of fluoroscopy, which can lead to cumulative radiation exposure, particularly in pediatric patients. Essentially, we are designing a way to ensure the proper placement of a gastrojejunal tube in patients over the age of one while limiting radiation exposure to staff and patients. Our preliminary design is a small device which would help hold open the pyloric valve, which separates the stomach from the small intestine. Resistance from this valve can cause complications while inserting the feeding tube, which requires the hazardous fluoroscopy to image the procedure in real time.

Sponsor: Dr. Sarah Vigmostad



Convert Any Piano to a Player Piano
Caleb Marting

I want to design and manufacture a machine that can be set on any piano’s keys, transforming the piano into a midi instrument, which is an instrument that can be controlled by a computer. This project is personal to me because, being someone who is not very musically inclined, it would augment the abilities of myself and others to perform music. The first stage would be designing the mechanics to drive the keys of the piano. Once constructed, code and electronics would be created to take midi data from a controller. This would then be routed into the mechanics to produce sound. After this idea is realized, it could be incorporated into multiple other projects: a jukebox, an instrument in a robotic band, or even a demonstration of STEM principles. This machine is the “easy way” out of taking piano lessons.

Sponsor: Dr. Justin Garvin



Irrigation Control System 
Justin Hoehne, Daniel Levitt, & Shane Trautsch

A solar powered, internet connected irrigation management system for household use that runs on solar energy entirely independent of an electric grid.

Sponsor: Dr. Anton Kruger



The KnowGlobe
Stephanie Krogh, Jacob Thompson, & Sawyer Goetz

Our idea is a modern take on a classic holiday knick-knack: the snow globe. The KnowGlobe contains a scale model of the Old Capitol Building, but could be made to contain a landmark from any city around the world. The KnowGlobe connects to the internet to gather real time weather information from the location represented within the globe. The current weather is then reconstructed within the globe using LEDs and sound cues to provide a live view of the outdoor conditions.  At the press of a button, the KnowGlobe will quickly cycle through the daily or weekly forecast for the represented city. We hope that the KnowGlobe will provide a fun and easy way to check the weather conditions at a glance.

Sponsor: Dr. Gary Christensen



Metered Dose Sunscreen Device
Kelsi Dahms, Gregory Graham, Colton Myer, and Ellie Wallace

With one out of five Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime, current sun protection options need to be reevaluated. Therefore, our team aims to improve current sun protection modalities. We will do so by creating a sunscreen bottle that is able to dispense recommended amounts of sunscreen individualized to the user. It is internationally agreed upon that sunscreen should be applied at a thickness of 2 mg/cm2. Hence, because everyone’s surface area differs, everyone’s needed amount of sunscreen differs. Our bottle will take this factor into account by using an individual’s height and weight to predict their surface area. In turn, the amount of recommended sunscreen can be accurately dispensed from the bottle based on each person’s unique surface area. The need for an improved sun protection modality was identified and referred to our team by a local otolaryngologist (ENT physician) who has seen the devastating effects of the sun firsthand in his patients. Additionally, everyone on our team has been personally affected by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation which strengthens our commitment to achieving a successful outcome.

Sponsor: Dr. James Ankrum



Stable Eyes
Sy Butler and Dylan Ponomar

The Stable Eyes is a handheld, lightweight camera stabilizer made by and for students of the University of Iowa. Our stabilizer uses a precisely balanced and adjustable system comprised of a moment arms and weights with a free rotating ergonomic handle to allow filmmakers to capture smoother footage. As the handle is moved by the camera operator, the weights will act as counterbalance to external movement providing stability for the camera mount atop the central axis of weights. Upon completion, we plan to donate our stabilizer to the University’s Film Department for students to use on class projects.

Sponsor: Matias Perret



The Talon Retractor
Sarah Cooper, Greg Malicki, Bryan Tanner, and Tommy Rashid

The current design of the Army/Navy Surgical Retractor causes significant tissue slipping throughout surgery, causing underlying tissue damage, possible patient bleeding, and increased surgical time. Our idea is to improve on the current design in order to prevent unintentional slipping from occurring.

Sponsor: Dr. Colleen McHenry/Dr. Seth Dillard



TSAT – Terrestrial Satellite Acquisition and Tracking
Bram Williams and Justin Hoehne

The TSAT platform will be a portable offline satellite tracking platform capable of fitting inside a backpack. Powered by software defined radio, GNU radio companion, MATLAB, and G-Predict, the TSAT platform will be able to use the computers RTC in combination with MATLAB and a local database of Keplerian elements, in combination with a GPS, the platform would calculate the location of relevant radio/weather satellites.

Sponsor: Dr. Anton Kruger



What’s Behind the Pink Ribbon: Tackling Truncal Lymphedema
Maria Fernanda Larraga Martinez, Genevieve Goelz, Anna Rodriguez, and Ashten Sherman

We want to come up with a way to prevent the development of truncal lymphdema in at-risk unilateral mastectomy patients to avoid its adverse health effects. We hope to achieve this through a wearable compression garment to address the asymmetrical anatomy of these patients.

Sponsor: Dr. Colleen McHenry