Monday, December 8, 2014

URSP Student Sameen Yusef Improves Oxygen Concentrators for Neonatal Health in Low-resource Areas

Searching for facilities readily equipped with technologies to help a sick family member in Karachi, Pakistan piqued my curiosity in how biomedical engineering could influence healthcare development.  I decided to read more about bioengineering in global health, and eventually it led me to neonatal health issues. I realized I wanted to work on improving oxygen concentrators to decrease the mortality rate of children infected with pneumonia in South Asia with Dr. Nathalia Peixoto. This semester, I’m working on designing a low-cost oxygen analyzer using zinc-air batteries coupled with an Arduino. Zinc air batteries are batteries most commonly used for hearing aids, and Arduino is a microcontroller board. This is all a fancy way of saying I am working to make a device that measures oxygen concentration from a machine that filters air for oxygen.

On a weekly basis, I mostly work on programming an Arduino board and running tests for the zinc-air battery. For example, this week, I ran an experiment for the zinc-air battery and measuring the voltage changes depending on the oxygen concentration with the Arduino. Then, I programmed the Arduino to sample the voltage every second and output the value. My current work is focused on finalizing the relationship voltage and oxygen concentration as linear and writing a program accordingly, as well as making a basic circuit with comparators so that a specific LED lights up depending on the range of concentration.