Engineering professor develops device to help finger deformities

Engineering professor develops device to help finger deformities

A Kennesaw State engineering professor and her team of students recently developed a new finger support device that could help those suffering from finger deformities.

Dr. Simin Nasseri, a professor of mechanical engineering at KSU, recruited undergraduate students to assist her in improving upon the limited capabilities of traditional finger supports.

Nasseri worked with a team of seven of her engineering students: Vitale Kyle Castellano, Mushfequr Kotwal, Levi Brindle, Shanice White, Tammy Ong, Barrett Tallant and Anthony DeDiego Jr. The students helped design the product and assisted with literature reviews, computer programming, simulations, mechanical testing and selecting materials.

Several of Nasseri’s family members and friends have suffered from finger deformities caused by arthritis and other ailments. Nasseri said the supports that people currently use are not strong, comfortable or resizable.

Nasseri said this inspired her to design a new support made of soft polymer with inserted sheets of aluminum, steel or carbon-fiber which is more durable, soft and resizable. Her device is also the first composite support in which a soft polymer shell is used together with the inserted sheets.

“The support is so thin and soft that it can be used at functional positions, meaning that you are able to slip it over your finger and perform normal, everyday tasks with your hands without difficulty,” Nasseri said.

Additionally, Nasseri and her students worked on designing a foot support device to help people suffering from painful bunions or swelling on the joint of the big toe.

“My students enjoyed these research projects a lot,” Nasseri said. “They found out how biomedical engineering can be useful for people and how designing and manufacturing a device can help them with all the pain and suffering they go through.”

Mushfequr Kotwal, a student from Nasseri’s team, attended the Southeast’s Preeminent Regional Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavored Conference in October 2017 to discuss the research methods that were used in the project.

“Over the course of the project, I felt like I obtained a great deal of critical thinking skills,” Kotwal said. “My biggest takeaway, however, was learning how to conduct high-quality research and publish papers.”

Kyle Castellano, an alumnus of the mechanical engineering technology program, was the leader of the student team. Castellano and Nasseri published several journal papers together which led to Castellano receiving a research assistantship at Auburn University.

“I’m always grateful that she was able to take me under her wing and introduce me to engineering research,” Castellano said, according to the KSU website. “My goal always has been to attend grad school, and I don’t think I could have made it without Dr. Nasseri’s guidance.”

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