This project started in 2015.
We have been trying to find a solution to prevent the child from slumping their head
forward when they fall asleep in their car seat.
There are three specific issues that can arise from the head slumping over as a child is
in the car seat. The first is the pinching of the trachea.
The next is hyperextension of the neck. The third problem associated with the head
pinching is in the event of a collision, it would better protect the child from having
that either bounce back very aggressively and smacking their head on the back of the
car seat or from immediately hitting their head to their chest. Both are two very detrimental
things to the child’s brain because of airflow and also their muscles aren’t as strong
so an impact like that does much more damage. Looking at the kids sleeping in their slumped
position when you’re driving, it is very emotional because every time that you turn or every
time that you push on the break their head actually is rotating around their neck and
this is a very uncomfortable position. All we are trying to do at the end of the
day is to design a safer car seat for our kids. Last year we had a group of the undergraduate students working together to design the wristband
that is going to go around the baby’s wrist and monitor their heart rate. When the baby is
starting to fall asleep their heart rate will drop. We can actually have the babies in the car seats and not stop the car. With pushing a button on your smart device, you are basically
changing the car seat from the sit up position to the sleep position. We are trying to find a reclining mechanism to use to design the carseat. The first design
we went with was a flexible track which you can see right here but then we found that
the flexible track was a no-go. So we decided to go with a four bar mechanism
which looks more like this. It has a full 360 range of motion and this is what we used for
this model right here. We have this spring right here as the baby’s
neck, just to simulate the whole slumping position. The car seat’s range of motion looks like
this. This is the upright position and reclined
would look like this. This research it gives them the two flavors
of the mechanical. First, they can do the research in which they can build the model in the computer and look at the analysis or lets say the effect
of the forces within the computer, which by all means is giving them a very good opportunity
to learn those softwares and they will use it later on wherever that they go. Bring the biology and then combine it with the knowledge of the mechanical engineering
gives us something unique that all these students were interested in. What they learn in here is basically first of all they have a one-to-one meeting which
in many cases will provide them with a better education, will provide them with more information. By going through this research they kind of build up their leadership skills as well.
It also will give them an actual product. At the end of the day we are trying to design
a motorized car seat, so with getting the advantage of having the 3D printer and building all these
little pieces and putting them together they will learn how to make the actual product. Being able to conduct research especially going into junior year is extremely beneficial
for teaching me the other side of the curriculum where I am actually applying what I have learned. Which is leading me to want to pursue a Masters’ in biomedical or biomechanical engineering. Everyone if given the opportunity should take part in research projects just because you
learn so so much more. I am currently an intern at Siemens Healthineers
and they hired me because of my experience with one of their programs that we use here
for 3D modeling. I have been able to test my modeling skills
here and I’ve been able to use that at work and I’ve been helping other people with modeling
as well. It’s definitely a great opportunity.