P16415: Human Powered Centrifuge and Test for live pathogens


Project Summary Project Information

Developing countries are struggling to perform the basic laboratory tests necessary to detect pathogens because of a lack of electricity and equipment. This results in unsanitary living conditions, contaminated drinking water, and a lack of basic health care. Standard centrifuges used in hospitals today are not a viable option because they are electrically powered and cost in the thousands of dollars range. Cheaper designs exist but are either too bulky, limited in spin speed due to physical constraints, or aren’t durable. This device will be easily moved by one person of average strength and dexterity, not require electricity, cost less than $250 to produce, easily operated by a single person, capable of handling the varying speed requirements of multiple tests, and capable of handling multiple test tube sizes. The main constraints are the size, weight and ease of use of the prototype, since it is required to be operable by one person. The goals of this project are to provide the customer with a functioning prototype of the centrifuge that includes a kit with the necessary test materials, a user’s manual and a technical paper describing the functions of the centrifuge and the kit.

For further background information, click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

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Project Name
Human-Powered Centrifuge
Project Number
Project Family
Save the World
Start Term
Fall 2015
End Term
Spring 2016
Faculty Guide
Chris Leibfried
Primary Customer
Sarah Brownell
Sponsor (financial support)

Team Members

From Left: Rob, Amanda, Nathan, Mechelle, and Laura

From Left: Rob, Amanda, Nathan, Mechelle, and Laura

Member Role Contact email:
Laura Pratt Communications Lead lp1136@rit.edu
Amanda Johnson Project Manager awj6750@rit.edu
Nathan Corr Lead Engineer nwc9610@rit.edu
Joanna Jayawickrema Facilitator jxj1494@rit.edu
Rob Newell Biologist and Subject Matter Expert rjn3221@rit.edu

Table of Contents


Project Management

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Subsystem Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation


With Thanks to our Sponsors and Guide:

& with special thanks to Professor Humphrey for all of his help with our calculations