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Chennai students selected for national awards

Staff Reporter

Respiratory monitor, biotech project shortlisted for honours



ACHIEVERS: Student innovators R. Arvind, E. Eben Raja and C. Prashanth of St. Joseph's College of Engineering, along with their college director, Babu Manoharan, at a press conference on Thursday. — PHOTO: N. Sridharan

CHENNAI : Two final year projects by students of St Joseph's College of Engineering, Chennai, have been selected for national awards by the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

R. Aravind and E. Eben Raja from the Department of Electronics and Instrumentation have created a computer-aided instrument to monitor respiration, useful in identifying conditions such as sleep apnoea in coma patients (when breathing stops for 10 seconds or more, causing serious damage such as cardiac arrest or stoppage of the brain). At present, respiratory monitors mostly come attached to ventilators, which may not be necessary for some patients who can breathe on their own.

Aravind says their model overcomes some of the existing problems in the monitors as their model has a dual sensor; one is attached to the nose and one to the abdomen. This cuts out false alarms. The computer incorporated in the model permits continuous online monitoring with a simple display that is easy to interpret. Also, it can be connected to a LAN and kept outside rooms requiring a highly sterile atmosphere, such as an intensive care unit.

The Electronic Engineering Corporation is currently doing clinical trials with the instrument at the Vikram Sarabhai Industrial Estate.

C. Prashanth from the Department of Biotechnology conducted an experiment to study the parameters (volume primarily) that affect the growth and production of microbes used in producing DHA, a fatty acid vital for brain development. DHA is Docosahexaenoic Acid used for treatment of coronary heart diseases. Prashanth's experiment is a preliminary study on the second method. The two projects were chosen from 16 by students from institutions such as IIT and NIT. Eight projects have been short-listed for the National-level Innovative Students Project Award 2006 - Bachelors Level award, to be presented on December 8 at the Indian National Science Academy, Delhi.

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