We just said goodbye to a majority of our interns coming from a variety of colleges throughout the U.S. The 15 students spent two-and-a-half months working on projects to expand the Jump STEAM program, increase childhood vaccination rates and change the way pulmonary disease is detected in children.
During the first week of August, the student teams shared their final presentations of their work. We’re excited to share what they’ve achieved.
2021 summer intern projects
PNC VR STEAM Library: Emmy Baker (Bradley University), Meredith Buchen (Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing), Dustin Clark (Southern Illinois University), Charli Kerr (Bradley University) and Rachael Schulte (Bradley University)
In an effort to continue expanding access to Jump Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math programming, this team developed an immersive educational experience in virtual reality to promote health care careers for middle and high school students.
Called the PNC VR STEAM library, the platform allows young people to discover a variety of opportunities in health care through mazes, quizzes and simulations. These include nurses, phlebotomists, pharmacists, various assistive technicians, catheterization lab technicians, surgeons, pre-hospital professionals, sports medicine clinicians, anesthesiologists, optometrists and various non-clinical careers.
The VR software focuses on careers that are experiencing shortages in the industry, as well as those that young people are most interested in based on survey results. As young people move through the application, they are immersed in a variety of environments that are relevant to the occupation they are exploring.
For example, a child can stand inside of a blood vessel, watch as the bloodstream flows through the vessel and play with red blood cells as part of the phlebotomy course. Along the way, students can learn the educational steps they must take to enter these health care fields.
The VR experience will be made available to schools at no cost. The OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois will also use the program for the PNC Bedside STEAM program.
PNC Interactive Augmented Reality: Eli Adams (University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago), Ian Conger (Drury University), Connor Davey (Southern Illinois University), Bradley Goss (Dakota State University) and Matthew Sciarabba (Bradley University)
This group has created a mobile application to teach the concept of medical segmentation to middle school students using augmented reality. The goal is to get young people excited about possibilities in non-clinical health care careers, such as bioengineers.
As learners go through the app, they will learn about MRI and CT scans, the basics of segmentation and how it’s applied in the medical field and how to “read” what they’ve segmented. They choose whether to segment a brain, heart, lungs or liver and the difficulty level of that task. They then have to segment or outline the organ they’ve selected.
Once a user has done this properly, their model is launched into AR where they can walk around their segmented organ and determine what they see. If a player fails to find and trace an organ three times, guidelines will pop up to help the user get through the process.
The group tested use of the app with about 40 people at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. During this time, learners ages 5 to 70 showed significant interest in playing the game, several groups returned to engage with the app further and several kids also asked more questions about segmentation. Teachers at the museum also showed an interest in using the app in their classes.
The Segmentation AR app will be available on Apple and Android app stores and will work on a multitude of devices, including phones and tablets.
Pulmonary Acoustic Sensor Telemetry Array ”PASTA”: Genevieve Kerns (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Madison Ray (Ohio State University)
Rapidly diagnosing lung diseases in children is difficult as using a stethoscope can have low accuracy and turning to radiation-based imaging can be harmful. The “PASTA” team aims to reduce these unnecessary risks by developing a wearable, adhesive device made up of sensors that will continuously monitor lung function while also classifying sounds that can indicate respiratory changes.
The team has developed a prototype design that includes eight sound sensors that will feed into a central signal processing box. The box will be attached to a belt, allowing easy access for clinicians and giving patients the ability to move around freely. The group also developed an algorithm to sort sounds heard by the sensors in order to accurately diagnose lung disease.
Initial tests of the prototype on both live subjects and manikins indicate the sensors are capable of hearing various lung sounds, including those that are abnormal. The team was able to record, process and export audio wave files in a format that can be plugged into an algorithm for diagnostic capability. They were also able to give physicians the chance to compare the device’s lung sound audio to what they currently hear from a stethoscope.
Although they are unable to complete the project, the group has left an outline of what should take place in future iterations of the wearable device. That includes finding ways to make the technology smaller, improving the quality of lung sounds and ensuring the monitoring system is comfortable for the patient.
More to come
While the summer interns are done with their projects, their work will be passed on to Mission Partners for further development. There is also another group of interns who are continuing work on a pediatric vaccination program through the end of this year.
It’s always sad to see another group of interns move on from their projects and back to school. But it’s also amazing to see where these young people end up once they’ve graduated from college. There is no doubt in my mind we’ve only seen the beginning of what these students will do in the future. We are thrilled that we’ve been a small part of their journey.