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School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Uncategorized

Smart-Sock: Monitoring ankle edema at home

By Michelle Fredrickson for WSU News

Washington State University researchers have developed a “smart” sock to track ankle edema, a symptom of many serious medical conditions, at home. The researchers hope the innovation will lead to a more cost effective, accurate, and easier way to track edema, an accumulation of fluids in the lower parts of the body that is often a symptom of heart or kidney failure.

Washington State University researchers have developed a “smart” sock to track ankle edema, a symptom of many serious medical conditions, at home.Although edema is an excellent health indicator, measuring it currently requires a doctor’s visit and is often done with a tape measure. Measuring edema continuously could also provide more useful information for doctors than sporadic measurements.

Led by Hassan Ghasemzadeh, assistant professor in the School of EECS, the researchers have designed a “Smart-Sock” that uses multiple wearable sensors to accurately monitor ankle circumference to keep track of edema. The researchers have a provisional patent on the technology, and hope to begin deploying the device in clinical trials this fall.

The device contains two types of sensors—a motion sensor and a circumference measurement sensor. The circumference sensor measures changes in the physical girth of the ankle, while the motion sensor differentiates the posture of the wearer. Taken together, the device can interpret the data. When a person is standing or sitting, fluid tends to move down to the ankles, whereas when a person is lying down or reclining, fluid tends to move to a more equalized distribution.

“When it comes to monitoring ankle edema, it really matters what the current body posture is when you’re measuring circumference,” said Ramin Fallahzadeh, a doctorate student working on the project.

The researchers are developing an app that would take the sensor data from the device, determine its relevance, and then send the relevant information to either a desktop or phone. They are also working to include sensors to detect abnormal gaits of the patient. And, they aim to make the sensors embedded in the sock disposable, so users don’t have to wash it.

Student club night deemed a success

By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

bright_facesNearly 200 students packed into a lecture hall in Sloan Hall on September 3rd for “Student Club Night” where faculty, staff and student club leaders provided both pizza and food for thought to new EECS students. The atmosphere was lively and all faces were engaged as the new students were called to get involved in a hands-on way with their future.

Clinical associate professor Andy O’Fallon laid out how vital it is for the success of engineering and computer science students to be involved in studies outside of the classroom. “You have to do the academics; you have to go to class; but you also have to do more. Joining a student club is a perfect example of that.” Assistant professor Matt Taylor also stressed the importance of extra-curricular learning, saying: “Figure out what you’re passionate about and do it. If there’s not a club that does what you want to do, get a group of friends together and build something.” Sounding more like a football coach than a “tech guy,” systems administrator and 30 year staff member of EECS, John Yates had the students on the edge of their seats. He related how awesome it was to see so many undergraduate students taking personal responsibility of their education and future by participating in student club night. EECS director, Behrooz Shirazi summed up the evening, charging the students to “Be curious.”
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The purpose of the evening was to highlight the EECS student clubs and make new students aware of the resources available to them outside the classroom. Following the fast paced presentations, students were given a map of all the student club locations and turned loose for the open house where club leaders waited to answer questions.

Assistant director Sakire Arslan AY and undergraduate advisor Alli Guyer, who headed up the event, were pleased with the attendance and the positive tone of the evening. Sakire explained, “This was an event that was encouraging to both students and faculty. All the people here are interested in doing cool stuff and this was an opportunity to bring them all together in a different format.” She commented on the inspiring effect of taking faculty and students out of the classroom in order to understand each other in a new way. Alli commented from an advisor’s perspective, “We find that students who are involved with clubs do better in school; these students are the cream of the crop. Joining a club reinforces the concepts students are learning in class, and makes them more immersed in the information.” She went on to say,“Especially when it comes to computer science if you want to be successful you need to create a posse. It is so collaborative.”


Andy O’Fallon, Alli Guyer & Sakire Arslan AY drawing the names of the door prize winners from the evening

Team Gleason takes 1st place in the EECS Senior Design Poster Contest

By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

winning_gleason-1Fifteen competing senior design teams from EECS displayed their posters in the halls of the department on April 24th. The judging was administered by five industry representatives specializing in areas such as: microelectronics, power systems, electrical engineering and software development. The winning team, Team Gleason, was chosen based on their poster, their project as a whole, and their presentation.

Team Gleason was inspired by former WSU football star, Steve Gleason who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a terminal disease that attacks motor neurons, causing the loss of muscle function. This makes communication very difficult, especially in the late stages of the disease. Because patients are able to control their eyes and eyelids up until the end, this becomes their only potential means of communication. Eye-tracking software has been develpoed to help patients communicate; unfortunately, it is very expensive. The goal of Team Gleason, a non-profit organization, is to raise awareness about ALS, while at the same time providing a more affordable means of communication for those suffering from it.

cropped_gleason-1Team Gleason has been developing a reliable predictive-typing software program which runs on a generic Android or Windows-8 tablet; and uses two hardware platforms for eye tracking: The Eye Tribe and The Pupil. Steve Gleason’s mother, Gail Gleason(pictured below at the Open House) is very supportive of  the Team Gleason project and has attended most of their weekly meetings. “He (Steve Gleason) liked our software way better than his expensive system in some key ways, including predictive typing,” says team mentor, David Bakken.