At Harvey Mudd College, engineers must complete three semesters of "Clinic." Clinic is a capstone experience designed to develop the skills necessary for professional practice by pairing groups of students with a corporate sponsor to tackle real life engineering problems. You can find more information about clinic projects by going here.
My first semester of clinic was Spring 2009. I joined a project in its second semester, and helped design an advanced bandage. This bandage can stop bleeding without the application of pressure, which will literally be a life saver for soldiers on the front line. The corporate sponsor for this project, Oregon Biomedical Engineering Institute, is currently seeking an international patent for the invention. Due to the confidential nature of the project currently, I cannot currently go into more details.
Through my senior year (Fall '09 - Spring '10), I worked on a project sponsored by Beckman Laser Institute, a medical research center based at the UC Irvine campus. The goal of our team was develop a combined optical coherence tomography and diffuse optical spectroscopy imaging device. While doing research and consulting with professors in the Physics department, one professor advised us that the mathematics involved could only be covered by an upper-division, semester long physics course. While I can't claim to be an expert on ray transfer matrix analysis, I WAS able to successfully lead my team to understand the underlying technology and to use that understanding to design a successful prototype.
Since our liasons at BLI are using the prototype to perform research for publication, I can post only limited information. I have been allowed to post video from a presentation in which I condense incredibly advanced physics into meaningful concepts for undergraduate engineers, computer scientists, and physicists during a second semester presentation:I am also allowed to post a few pictures. The first is a picture of the components, viewed under a microscope, with part of a penny used for scale.
The larger prism is only 1.5 mm in each dimension. My favorite part of this picture is seeing the paper under the small prism on top of the large prism. The image is being reflected from the floor, through the small prism, and from the large prism to the viewer's eye.
Below is the picture of the gluing process for an optical fiber and prism. I designed and machined a small fixture that made it easy for even these small components to be properly aligned.
If this project does lead to publication, I will certainly post a link to the article.