Graduate Student Andrew Cavanaugh, Selected for i3 Competition Finals

Andrew Cavanaugh, PhD Candidate of Electrical and Computer Engineering-
Toxic Gas Sensor for Fire Fighters

Graduate Student Oral Presentation Competition Finals

Andrew Cavanaugh, a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was invited to attend the i3: Investing in Ideas with Impact presentation. This competition encourages graduate students to consider how their ideas could become the foundation for new products. Andrew was one of eleven candidates to present a three minute talk about his research. Candidates are not allowed to use PowerPoint, or any visual props while speaking and are just asked to present their case to a panel of elite judges. Andrew graduate research is titled: Toxic Gas Sensor for Fire Fighters and his representative abstract is listed below:

"Heart attack is the number one cause of death in the line of duty among firefighters in the U.S. In addition to the stresses associated with their duties, firefighters are exposed to toxic gases, such as hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, which increase their susceptibility to heart attacks. These gases are also acute toxins, which can kill or incapacitate through damage to the nervous system and heart. While regulations are in place to limit exposure to these gases, the firefighter in the field has no way of measuring their individual dose. Existing sensors fail in fire situations, and are primary designed for industrial hygiene applications. Our proposed device will provide firefighters with individual feedback on their exposure risk, and bring laboratory grade data to the field. Employing an on-board reservoir of an inert gas, and micro-fluidic pumps, our device will adjust the concentration of gas to combat the high heat and humidity of the fire-ground, as well as enabling us to measure gas concentrations above the dynamic range of a commercial grade sensor. Currently we have tested a larger prototype device in the WPI Fire Laboratory, and are developing a miniaturized prototype. Once in production, this device will be low cost and invaluable addition to the turnout gear of each of the 4 million firefighters in the U.S. who are putting themselves in harm's way".

Congratulations to Andrew Cavanaugh, for being selected for the finals of the i3 competition.



April 24, 2012

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