P10007: Mechanical Spine Platform
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Dr. DeBartolo-March 27 2009

Interview with Dr. Beth DeBartolo


First Sponsor Interview
Interviewers: Jeff Rebmann, Rochelle Perry, and Yi Xie
Sponsor: Dr. DeBartolo
Date: 27 March 2009, Dr. DeBartolo's Office 09-2051

Interviewer(s): First we would like to introduce ourselves - Jeff Rebmann, Rochelle Perry, and Yi Xie
Would you please introduce yourself as well?
Sponsor: My name is Beth Debartolo, and I am a Mechanical Engineering professor who has been working with a grant sponsored by the National Science Foundation for the past few years. We have used that money to fund multiple MSD projects in the past few years such as P08006 and P09006.
Interviewer(s): How much do you know about the Design Project Management process of preparing MSD projects?
Sponsor: I know about the project readiness packages that need to be completed. However, as of right now I have not thought much about what types of projects we are looking to put forward for next year. We have a grant that is about to expire with the Nazareth Physical Therapy Clinic and we would like to continue this. We must look into what types of projects will help us to continue this relationship.
Interviewer(s): Are there any projects that you have in mind that we (us three) could develop for the upcoming MSD quarter?
Sponsor: As I said before, there are not any specific projects that are defined as of yet. I have a interest in combing two projects from the past. These two projects are the Upper Extremity Exerciser (P09006) and the Motion Tracking System (P08006). Both of these projects were successful in their own right, therefore we would like to combine the two into another MSD track. This would enable us to track the patient's exercise progress via a computer. It also may allow for remote tracking of exercises so that the patient could work from their own home. It would be worthwhile for you to contact the guides from each of those projects: Dr. Phillips (EE) and Dr. Brown (EE).
Another project that may evolve would be a similar project to the Bike Balance training project (P08001). A need exists for a project that would allow the patient strengthen their muscles like they would on the bike, however these patients have lesser functionality to begin with. Therefore, this project would involve something like a exercise ball that they would sit on and move back and forth for muscle strengthening. It could possibly involve something like a game with auditory and visual signals when they are completing the tasks correctly. It could almost be like a "Simon Says" game, where they follows a given set of directions.
A third project that would be very helpful is looking into future projects with the Nazareth PT Clinic and NSF. Our grant was a five year grant, and is running out. Therefore, we would like to look into extending that relationship through further projects. Nazareth PT Clinic is a teaching clinic that has a low budget. This does not allow them to go and buy expensive equipment. Therefore, the equipment that RIT provides through MSD is very useful for them. I would also like to look into incorporating additional projects from other year levels in the NSF project roadmap. This could be from the cornerstone design course, or other design courses from all majors. Involving students earlier could be beneficial to the grant.
Interviewer(s): Do you do work with any groups other than the Nazareth Physical Therapy Clinic?
Sponsor: Yes. We have been involved with organizations like the Arc of Monroe County. In the past, however, they have had a high turn over rate of employees which has made it difficult to do projects and establish a relationship. We have also worked with Arc Works in which students did a project involving light manufacturing. Also AVVI Goodwill. Unfortunately, we have not done much work with them recently so there most likely will not be any projects upcoming with them. It is easiest to work with Nazareth because the relationship that exists is very good, and both sides are very interested in each others work.
Interviewer(s): Who are the other people involved with the NSF project track? Which people would be beneficial to speak with?
Sponsor: In the past, Dr. Matt Marshall (ISE) and Dr. Edward Brown (EE) have been involved in different projects. Each person has contacts with different organizations. I have been mainly involved with the PT clinic, but these other people have been involved with additional groups. Talk to them as well could help to see what opportunities for more projects exist. You could set up meetings with them. I will send out an email notifying them of what you are looking for, and hopefully it will create some dialogue between us all.
Interviewer(s): Who decides on projects and their directions, you or the outside organization?
Sponsor: It is a joint effort. We look to them to provide their needs and we decide how much we could handle over the course of two quarters. There is communication both ways and eventually we agree on the scope of the project and begin from there.
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