Student engineers honored with Freeman Awards

Minnkota recognizes team of University of North Dakota students for developing an innovative health prototype for patients with stability impairments.

CardioPost is the winner of the 2019 Andrew Freeman Design Innovation Competition, sponsored by Minnkota as a way to recognize the University of North Dakota's next generation of idea generators.

The winning entry is an innovative solution in the functional prototyping stage that improves the measurement of physiological signals and postural movement in patients with stability impairments. These cardio-postural impairments can arise from Parkinson's disease, concussions, old age and other diseases.

Physiological signal measurements analyzed in this research are the ballistocardiogram (BCG), phostoplethysmograph (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG) and electromyogram (EMG). Postural movements will be assessed through center of pressure (COP) measured by load cells. The goal of CardioPost is to measure physiological signals and postural movements simultaneously to simplify and accelerate the cardiovascular assessment process. Another goal is to market CardioPost technology in the health care industry by producing an affordable measurement system for in-home use.

Team members are Abby Aymond, Jon DeBeltz, Briana Bednarek and Stian Henriksen. They shared the first-place prize of $2,000.

Placing second was the team of John Dobie, Jake Geritz, Kalea Hoff and Alicia Keeling. They investigated the opportunity of producing glacial-grade acrylic acid (GAA) from a sustainable feedstock instead of propylene, which is a nonrenewable petroleum derivative.

The team shared $1,000. There were four teams in the competition.

From left to right first row, John Dobie; Kalea Hoff; Alicia Keeling, Frank Bowman, chair of chemical engineering; Briana Bednarek; second row, Ryan Adams, director of the School of EECS; College of Engineering and Mines Dean Hesham El-Rewini; Brendan Kennelly, Minnkota Power Cooperative; Jon DeBeltz; and Abby Aymond.

The Freeman awards were established through a 1996 endowment honoring Andrew “Andy" Freeman, a UND engineering alumnus and former 42-year Minnkota general manager. Although many may not know Freeman by name, Midwest drivers depend on the North Dakota native's most commercially celebrated invention – the electric block heater. Freeman's namesake competition identifies students who embody the visionary's core values of teamwork, innovation and communication.

“Thank you to Minnkota for being very supportive of our program and also for helping us remember one of its innovative people, Andy Freeman," said College of Engineering and Mines Dean Hesham El-Rewini.

Brendan Kennelly, Minnkota senior manager of power delivery engineering, said, “The engineering students from UND again impressed the judges with their innovation and teamwork. As usual, the projects were broad in application, covering such items as amphibious drones to in-home medical devices. Minnkota appreciates the ongoing collaboration with our regional schools and the quality of work and education they are investing in future leaders of the STEM industry, which in turn serve as a feedstock to the utility industry."


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