dDOSI Spectrum Analysis Unit (dSAU) To Aid Cancer Research

2014 Design Award

One of the two 2014 Design Excellence Awards were presented to dDOSI Spectrum Analysis Unit (dSAU) team members Caroline Ekchian, Benjamin Havey, Andy Mo, Thomas Navdovich and Christopher Woodall.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Darren Roblyer acted as the team client.

From left to right: Associate Professor of the Practice Alan Pisano, Benjamin Havey, Andy Mo, Caroline Ekchian, Christopher Woodall, Thomas Nadovich, and ECE Department Chair Professor David Castañón

Advances in scientific equipment can provide new answers to important scientific questions. Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Darren Roblyer is developing new optical technologies that can be used to monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Limitations in currently available methods, however, have prevented his group from measuring patients at the Point-of-Care (POC) such as in a doctor’s office or in a chemotherapy infusion suite.  In order to develop the next generation of POC equipment, he turned to several ECE seniors for help.

ECE Capstone Senior Design Project team members Caroline Ekchian, Benjamin Havey, Andy Mo, Thomas Navdovich, and Christopher Woodall (ECE ’14) assisted Professor Roblyer in his efforts to improve optical research tools.

Photo by Chitose Suzuki for Boston University Photography.

The team developed a digital Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Imaging (dDOSI) Spectrum Analysis Unit (SAU) that will be used monitor the effects of chemotherapy on breast tumors. The device utilizes near-infrared lasers to measure the optical scattering and absorption properties of a tissue as well as concentrations of lipids, hemoglobin, and water. For their efforts on the project, the team earned a 2014 Design Excellence Award.

Their final prototype brought together complex hardware and software design. It not only encompassed seven hardware PCBs, firmware and software running on the processing system on the motherboard, and the Ethernet protocol to host the PC, but it also included software and libraries to be run on the host PC, a power delivery system, and an enclosure to house the hardware.

Photo by Chitose Suzuki for Boston University Photography.
Photo by Chitose Suzuki for Boston University Photography.

Team member Andy Mo said he joined the dSAU team because it was an opportunity to enhance his knowledge by gaining exposure to unfamiliar programming. Additionally, Mo valued the chance to work with Professor Roblyer. In an email correspondence, Mo elaborated “the feedback he gave for our hardware section was especially helpful.”

Roblyer felt that the team went beyond his expectations in showcasing their ECE skill-set. “The team fabricated an extremely impressive high-frequency synthesis and measurement system,” Roblyer applauded. Adding that his research lab “will use [it] as the core of a new tissue optical spectroscopy system for cancer research applications.”

Gabriella McNevin and and Donald Rock (COM ’17)