Engineering and Materials Science

Fixing bones and finding new solutions

Last week I submitted a group project report for a module called “Implants Design”. This module includes designing implants for the human body and understanding the way broken bones heal. During the project we had to design a new bone fracture implant device. We were given a case study of an elderly patient who had broken their leg bone and was suffering a number of medicals conditions. Below you can see a CT scan (a special type of imaging technique) of the broken bones of the patient (image 1).

Image 1: CT scan of the patient with a broken leg.

Image 1: CT scan of the patient with a broken leg. The lettering identifies where the bone fractures were found.

Once we identified the issues with the patient, we researched the current ways bone fractures are fixed. We found many ways such as a cage like contraption called the ilizarov frame (image 2), which holds bone together using wires and a metal frame.

Image 2: An example of the ilizarov fracture fixation device currently used in industry.

Image 2: An example of the ilizarov fracture fixation device currently used in industry.

After countless meetings and sessions generating ideas, which included drawing sketches and models (Image 3 and 4), the group came up with a final design for solving the bone fracture (Image 5). The design was produced using special software known as Computer Aided Design (CAD) to create a computer model of the implant. The final design was also discussed in a final report which included describing how the implant works and how surgeons could implant the device during surgery.

Image 3: An example of an initial sketch of an implant, produced during an idea generation meeting.

Image 3: An example of an initial sketch of an implant, produced during an idea generation meeting.

Image 4: An initial CAD design for a possible implant.

Image 4: An initial CAD design for a possible implant.

 

 

 

Image 5: A side view of the final CAD design of the implant.

Image 5: A side view of the final CAD design of the implant.

This was a very enjoyable coursework overall and is definitely one of my favourite group projects to date. Perhaps one day I could make my implant design a reality!

Review of my second year of study

Today I finished the last of my official revision lectures before my exams, so I thought I would summarize what I thought helped me successfully study throughout my degree so far.

Buying the correct stationary equipment

For me, having eight modules (The number of modules for my degree) to study for can be difficult, however when you have the correct stationary, this can help you to keep your notes tidy so that they are easier to find when you need them. The top 3 stationary equipment I would recommend is a folder for each module, sticky labels (To label your work such as the name of a topic for particular notes.) and punch pockets (To ensure your notes do not get ripped by getting caught in your folder.). Below is an image illustrating the stationary equipment I use:

An example of a labelled sticky label on a folder with notes inside a punch pocket

An example of a sticky label on a folder with notes inside a punch pocket.

Time management skills

As I have discussed in my previous blog “Revision tips 101” having time management skills is essential for balancing study time with leisure. Without balance, in my opinion, you could  face problems such as falling behind in your studies or even neglecting your personal health by not doing any physical activities (i.e. walking, jogging, sports etc.) . I set myself deadlines for when I want tasks completed, alongside scheduling time to relax.

Asking for help when you are unsure about something

When you are unsure about something when studying, the worse thing you could do is nothing. Explain to your teacher what you are having trouble with and get help. I have found that by asking questions I see concepts from another viewpoint and I benefit even more.

I cannot stress how important the tips are that I have mentioned, and I hope this will help you in your future studies.

 

 

 

Sometimes you have to keep it simple

Hey everyone! Following on from my most recent blog, I can happily say I successfully completed my robotic arm experiment. However, this would not have been possible if I didn’t keep things simple.

What exactly do I mean by keeping things simple? Based on my last blog, you may remember I said in my first lab sessions that I couldn’t get the robotic arm to move. Well in a nutshell, the main reason the robotic arm didn’t move was because I over complicated the experiment. In other words, if I had tried to solve the problem in the easiest and most efficient way possible, this would have reduced a lot of confusion for me. Below are some examples of simple questions I asked myself in order to make the robotic arm move:

– What are the components of the robotic arm?

– What are the aims of the experiment?

– How can I achieve these aims?

As you can see, by asking simple questions you begin to break down the problem into simple steps. In the end, this is what helped me to successfully complete the experiment. Now for those of you who are eager to see what the robotic arm looked like in action, below is an image of me controlling the movement of the robotic arm:

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Image: Me controlling the robotic arm after successfully building the circuit with other group members.

Finally, if there’s one thing you can take away from today’s blog it would be; If ever you come across a complex problem, try thinking about how you can simplify it in order to solve it.

As always now that you have gained this knowledge, how will you apply it?

Good-luck !

Is there really anything called “Failure”?

Hi everyone, and welcome to another week of my blogging. Today’s topic will be focusing on the illusion of failure, and why I think you have nothing to lose if you think you have “failed” in something.

So as I previously discussed in one of my earlier blogs, this week I started the first week of my robotic arm problem based learning (PBL) experiment. The reason I think it would be useful to discuss this is because I want you all to understand the thought process of what happens when something doesn’t go as you wanted it to. For my PBL (A way of learning through solving problems), I had to build a circuit (a path for the electricity to flow) using some wires and components using a breadboard (see my blog called “Engineering instrumentation is amazing!” if you want to understand what these are) and unfortunately, I wasn’t successful in building the circuit I wanted. Now, many people who would have been in the same situation as me would likely have given up already but for me, I think differently about it. For me, every “failure” is a new lesson. In other words, I use my “failures” to understand what I did wrong so that next time I can do it right. Fortunately for me, there is still time to correct my mistakes which is exactly what I plan to do. Below I have also attached some images of the circuit I tried to build and I have also included some bullet points of things I need to think about to improve my success:

 

20151126_105046instrumentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1A (Left) and Figure 1B (Right): The circuit I tried to build was not as I wanted it to be.

My action plan for the next lab session:

– Find out where to position each little piece on the breadboard (board that you put the objects onto)

– Find out how a breadboard works.

– Make sure I understand the aims of the experiment so I stay on track with completing it

– Ask for help when needed and don’t give up.

From today’s blog what I want you all to take away is that even-though you may be unsuccessful with something, such as not getting the grades you want in an exam, or not getting into the school sports team, always remember it is not what you have failed in that is important, what is important is what you have learned from this “failure”, and how you will ensure you will achieve what you want next time (see my blog called “setting goals and succeeding” for more on achieving what you want).

Just to finish off today’s blog I want to share with you a quote I tell myself everyday and what I think it truly motivating which is:

 

“A quitter NEVER wins. A winner NEVER quits.”

 

When university work does not feel like work at all

Hey everyone, I hope you all enjoyed your half-term break (I know many of you would have had this recently).

Today’s topic will involve the idea of when you are working at a job or studying a subject you love; and how it does not, therefore, feel like work at all. I was able to experience this during my lab experiment which involved something that I do for a hobby – exercise.

For my lab experiment, I had to measure the EMG signal (a graph with lines which shows the activity of a muscle) of my bicep muscle (the muscle in your arm) . What I did was move a weight which got heavier each time with my arm, and repeated this movement 10 times. In order to measure the activity of my muscle, I had to put a piece of metal equipment called an electrode on my arm, which was able to detect how much my muscles were working. Below I have included some images of what this looked like:

IMG-20151109-WA0005 IMG-20151109-WA0004

Image 1 (Above): A photo of the electrode that was used to measure my muscle activity.

Image 2 (Right): A photo showing how the electrode was secured to my arm so that it would not move while I moved the weight.

The main idea I want to get across with the experiment was the feeling of not doing something just because I wanted to get a good grade for my work, it was because I really enjoyed doing the experiment as it felt like something I would usually do in my spare time. If however I wasn’t interested in my subject, then maybe I may have thought the lab was difficult (in my mind) when in reality it was just the way I thought about the experiment that could have made it much more difficult.

Another thing I finally want to get across is trying to relate what you learn in class, to something associated to you as an individual.For example while writing the lab report, I imagine how this will help me to build bigger muscles instead of thinking solely about just getting the lab report over and done with. In other words, try to see the value of what you are learning and then (in my opinion), you will start to appreciate what you learn at school/college. I know this because this is something I have learned over time, and if it is not something you agree with now, I am very sure you will agree with me in the future.

Like always … now that you have gained this knowledge, what will you do differently?

Back at my old Sixth Form College (Parents Evening)

Hey everyone, i’m Huseyin a Second Year Medical Engineering student at Queen Mary.

 

Welcome to my brand new blog !

 

I hope you will all enjoy what goes on at university from my point of view, and will follow me throughout my time at university.

When I finished my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Language and Literature, I thought college was over forever- How wrong I was “haha”. This week I went back to my college to give a talk at a parents evening and I must say, I had a really fun time. I had to speak on a microphone in front of a BIG audience of parents and spoke about what life was like as a university student. One of the things I mentioned was how independent students are, and how you start to learn more about yourself such as things you like that you didn’t before.

The main lesson I learned from this week’s experience being back at college was that it made me realize how much I have improved as a person in every way, such as being able to talk to a big crowd of strangers. There are also so many other things I want to tell you all in my next blogs such as, what I thought about university before I was accepted, or even things such as how I found my lectures (Lessons where a teacher-like person talks) in my first year.

If I covered a topic that didn’t interest you enough in this blog, I’m sure the next blogs will interest you hint: I have also previously took part in really cool societies where I made something fly in the air.

 

I can’t wait for my next blog … See you all soon !

 

 

 

Industrial Liaison Forum

RJC_5013webThe March Industrial Liaison Forum was this week, and a number of SEMS students who are currently on placements were invited to talk to current students about their experiences so far. Not only was this a great opportunity for us to advertise the year in industry scheme, but also it was nice to talk to other placement students and hear about how they had found their year so far. At 1pm, myself and the other placement students were sat in front of a large group of current SEMS students. Crawford Blagden (SEMS Industrial Experience Manager) began asking us to explain in turn our own experiences of applying to placements and the assessment and interview process.

I am sure it was very useful for the prospective placement students to learn about this process and what is involved in an industrial placement. I also found it extremely interesting. Since all I know of industry is my own experiences, it was nice to hear about how other students were having different experiences of their work placements, and how the work they had been doing differed from my own.

I definitely think that an industrial placement is a personal experience, where what you gain is reflective of the work you do, the effort you put in and the attitude you take towards your work.

Hopefully all of the students who attended the talk enjoyed it and found it useful in preparing for the application process, and will go on to find interesting industry placements of their own.

Starting an Industrial Placement

I was quite nervous in the run up to beginning my 1 year placement at Buhler Sortex. Other than a small summer placement the previous year, I had little prior experience of engineering in industry. Whilst I felt that my knowledge of the course material was strong I was unsure how well it would translate in real life situations. I had received correspondence from the company regarding accommodation, travel to work and the surrounding area, as well as what I will be expected to wear and what time to arrive on my first day. This, along with learning more about the company and meeting some of my future colleagues on the interview day, made me feel far more comfortable entering a new place with a completely different group of people and routines.

I began the placement on the 14th of July. Much of the following 2 weeks was filled with introductions and basic training. I was introduced to the important (environmental, safety and business) regulations that must be followed by the company, including the formal process of patenting. This was something I had briefly touched on during my time at university, but having it explained with reference to real life examples helped to deepen my understanding of why and how patenting is involved in engineering.

I was also given an introduction to the validation process, including how it works, who performs validation on parts that are designed by the company and what the main aims of the validation process are.

My first 2 weeks did not however, just consist of training programmes and meetings. I was given other tasks for when there was no schedule training. From my first day I was introduced to Autodesk inventor (the company’s main CAD software)

By my 3rd day, I felt comfortable enough with the software to progress to something more challenging. I was asked to produce a very light visual model of one of the companies machines that could be used when designing plant layouts for customers. The thought that only 3 days into my placement, I would have the opportunity to produce work that will be used directly to help customers was exciting. Whilst this early responsibility was rather daunting, I felt that I was up to the challenge and would try my hardest to produce the work to the standard required.

In less than 2 weeks, I had finished this mini-project and had moved on to a more challenging project. I was asked to work on an enclosed, individual, customer driven, research project. This involved creating a new type of bracketry, to allow a higher level of machine customisation. This meant that the work I would do on this project would have a significant impact on the machines sold by the company, with products that I was designing going on to be used by customers. This placement has been very interesting and enjoyable so far, and I can’t wait to see what other work I will be working on as the placement progresses.

From Medicine to Medical Engineering

Tissue Engineering

I study Medical Engineering at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), but that’s not how I began my university career. Originally I was accepted into the university to study medicine.

Like almost every medical school applicant, I had spent most of my secondary school years knowing that I wanted to be a doctor. For me, it was a love for science and problem solving as well as a desire to help people that sparked my interest in the subject. As a result, my GCSE and A level choices (biology, chemistry, physics and maths) had all been guided towards a career in medicine. I had read the Lancet and New Scientist prior to applying, and had tried to learn as much as I could about new advancements in medical technology and patient care. Medical technology was something that particularly interested me, and which I spoke about a lot at interview.

When I started medical school I found it very interesting, and enjoyed the mixture of lecture based, problem solving and practical clinical skills teaching. However, one of the aspects of medicine that interested me the most seemed to be completely absent from the course! I felt that there was not any real emphasis on the research and development side of the field.

As the year progressed, I began to think that maybe a career in medical research or technology would be a better choice for me. I looked at other medical related courses available at the university and came across Medical Engineering – a subject I had never previously heard of – which seemed to offer everything I felt was missing from my medical course.

After speaking to some of the lecturers and tutors, and finding out more about the course. I moved to the School of Engineering and Material Science (SEMS) at the end of my first year and began studying Medical Engineering.

The mixture of modules taught are very varied, with some based in pure engineering (such as Dynamic Systems in Engineering), and others with a focus more on how engineering can be related to anatomy and biological functions (e.g. Fluid Dynamics of the Cardiovascular System). QMUL is a great place to study the subject, with research being carried out in a number of key and exciting areas, like tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and orthopaedic implant design.

As well as the course being great, SEMS has provided a lot of other support. With regular tutor meetings and the Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) mentoring scheme, I felt completely at home when I began the course. Additionally the school provides assistance to students in finding work experience and placements. I undertook a month long internship in Singapore last summer and am currently working in London on a 1 year industrial placement, both of which were advertised by SEMS. These opportunities have not only been interesting and fun, but will improve my employability in the future.

I can honestly say that choosing to study Medical Engineering here at QMUL has been the best decision I have ever made. Not only have I found the course content fascinating, but I have had the opportunity to see world class research, met some brilliant people, and been able to get involved in an exciting and rapidly developing field.

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