Biochemical Nanosensor Networks for Accurate Injury Detection

Student: Lawrence He
Table: MED6
Experimentation location: School, Home
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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[9] “Body Area Network Markety,”   FACT7208MR, April 2022,

[10]   L. He, "Hamstring Injury Detection Using Body-Centric Nano Networks," IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC), March 2022, pp. 50-50.

[11]   L. He and M. Eastburn, "Smart Nanosensor Networks for Body Injury Detection," IEEE International Conference on Smart Internet of Things (SmartIoT), Aug. 2022, pp. 15-19.

[12]    IEEE Standard 1906.1-2015, “IEEE Recommended Practice form Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework”, 2015.

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Additional Project Information

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Research Plan:


Most of my research has been theoretical. My plan was to model it after the Smart Blood that I saw in the James Bond movies. This blood could read vitals, find their locations, and diagnose any injuries or diseases that Bond had. My plan was to tweak the nanosensors to chemical ones and determine the minimum amount needed for accurate injury detection.

The architecture was to include wearable data collectors on the inside while nanosensors were either injected or swallowed. Then, data would be transmitted from the data collectors via the Internet of Things (IOT) to the data centers. So, physicians and medical professionals could process the data.

The plan included collecting data through simulations via MATLAB Simulink. Before running a simulation in MATLAB Simulink, I needed to come up with some parameters to model the situation. These parameters would directly relate the number of nanosensors needed to the minimum number of readouts for a successful diagnosis. These parameters included the length of the wearable data collector (cm), the number of nanosensors, the time for blood to circulate through a human body (sec), the injury monitoring time (sec), the average velocity of blood flow (cm/sec), etc. 

The next step of the plan was creating a mathematical model that would relate the parameters/constraints to the minimum number of nanosensors. Some constraints already had natural ranges. For example, the time for blood to circulate through the human body ranges from 45 to 60 seconds.

Once the model was complete, the next part of the plan was to run the simulations. Since there were no actual test subjects or physical interactions, there were not many safety precautions to be weary of. The simulations related different amounts of active nanosensors to the number of readouts achieved. 


Questions and Answers


1. What was the major objective of your project and what was your plan to achieve it? 

The objective of my project was to minimize the number of utilized biomedical nanosensors to collect enough information for an accurate detection of multiple types of injuries.

    a. Was that goal the result of any specific situation, experience, or problem you encountered?  

Yes, fencing is my favorite sport in the world and I often compete nationally. The most common fencing injuries are hamstring injuries and this prevented me and many of my friends from fencing for many months. My research and my goal for this project all stemmed from this experience.

    b. Were you trying to solve a problem, answer a question, or test a hypothesis?

I was trying to solve the problem of early injury detection with the fewest sensors.

2. What were the major tasks you had to perform in order to complete your project?

One major task I had to complete for the project was developing a model for the situation. This part was particularly difficult because it combined the bio parameters I found (blood flow velocity, circulation time, etc.) with my knowledge in calculus. 

    a. For teams, describe what each member worked on.

I did the project by myself with help from my research teachers at school. They helped me find the materials I needed such as MatLab Simulink. They also taught me the basics of research paper writing as well as introducing me to the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair. I owe all my hardwork to them. 

3. What is new or novel about your project?

    a. Is there some aspect of your project's objective, or how you achieved it that you haven't done before?

Yes, before this research project, I had never used software like MatLab Simulink. I also learned how to run Simulink, especially not with multiple variables as I eventually learned how to do. As mentioned before, another new part of my project was the mathematical model I developed that is multivariate and includes an integral.

    b. Is your project's objective, or the way you implemented it, different from anything you have seen?

There are many projects similar to mine in some way. For example, there are some wearable diagnostic systems, projects on the nanoscale and molecular communication networks, and projects on common injury diagnostics. These projects inspired me and I synthesized the ideas that I read with my own research to write my paper.

    c. If you believe your work to be unique in some way, what research have you done to confirm that it is?

To help my research, I also joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), or the largest technician profession organization in the world. They have an extremely helpful database with many projects and papers from the past. In fact,I found many of my sources there. Besides that, I also used this database to verify that my project was unique.

4. What was the most challenging part of completing your project?

   a. What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?

When I first started this research project, I had no plan and wasn’t even sure that my highschool would have the resources to fund a project on nanosensors. Furthermore, my research would always have to be theoretical until I could get my hand on some expensive equipment and technology. I got a bit discouraged seeing my research friends laughing and having fun with their zoology projects while I could hardly make any progress with mine. Things seemed bleak and I had thought of even changing to a project that involved animals as well.

Luckily, I decided to talk to my research teachers Mr. Eastburn and Mr. Smirk. They introduced me to several helpful resources such as Matlab Simulink for my data, the IEEE to read other papers, this Mercer Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF), and other local research symposiums. 

With my teachers’ encouragement and expertise, I created a first draft of my paper and submitted it to the IEEE SmartIOT 2022 research competition. I never expected any results from this competition. However, to my surprise, I was awarded with a Young Researcher Award! I was extremely proud of this achievement and this motivated me to continue this research project despite the challenges. 

Despite the success, my research mentors and friends encouraged me to participate in other research competitions and symposiums. So, I later joined another competition, the Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC) which is hosted by the IEEE. I didn’t win any awards in this competition but I continued developing a better model and running more simulations with my research teachers.

The last competition I attended was the North Jersey Advanced Communication Symposium. I submitted a paper titled: “Modeling Body Centric Sensor Networks for Chronic Injury Detection” and it was a success! I was awarded an Excellent Poster Presentation Award by the IEEE. 

   b. What did you learn from overcoming these problems?

From the challenges, I learned that I should stick with my interests and research topics that I like instead of topics that everyone else is doing. As long as I work hard with my friends and mentors, I can achieve anything. Now, when I am researching, I am not afraid of obstacles but see them as a necessary step towards success. If there is an obstacle then there must be a way around that obstacle. This is what motivates me to continue my research and it also allows me to learn about new topics, new equipment, new technology, and new research methods or procedures.

5. If you were going to do this project again, are there any things you would do differently the next time?

Yes, if I were to do this project again, I would first explore the internships in the nanosensor field. Hopefully, I could land an internship with a university professor. Then, I could develop a better research plan from the start and have access to better resources. The professor’s experience would definitely benefit my project and my skills as a researcher. It would be a great opportunity. However, I don’t regret exploring this topic with my research teachers and friends at Princeton High School. It was very fun and interesting.

6. Did working on this project give you any ideas for other projects? 

I believe the fun part of research is that it is never over. One discovery leads to another and there is always future work to be done. Working on this project gave me many ideas for future research projects. For example, the system could be adjusted to detect insulin levels, blood sugar levels, and glucose levels. This would be especially useful to people suffering from diabetes. Furthermore, the Body Sensor Network (BSN) could be adjusted for the detection of viruses such as COVID-19. It would hopefully provide a faster and more accurate test than most RAPID-tests. Lastly, the optimization of different elements of the network could be studied. This would also improve the overall system and its efficiency. All of these are extremely interesting future projects that stem from this one.

7. How did COVID-19 affect the completion of your project?

COVID-19 affected my ability to meet in-person with my research mentors to learn about new concepts and refine my project. However, I am extremely grateful that I could still work with them on Zoom (unfortunately some of my friends working with animals couldn’t do the same thing). COVID-19 took some of the fun away from working on research in-person with friends but I am lucky that the entirety of my project could be done remotely. The pandemic slowed my research project down but it never stopped me. In fact, the lockdown inspired me to use nanosensors for COVID detection in my future work.