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BYU Students bring home top prize at i-ETC Conference

David, Tebbs, Poff, Chiang
Dr. Robert Davis, Daniel Tebbs, Sharisse Poff, and Dr. Wood Chiang

Last week, Sharisse Poff and Daniel Tebbs, working with Dr. Chiang and Dr. Davis, were awarded first place in the Engineering track at the i-ETC conference for their paper titled "Pulsatile Impedance Monitoring Circuit.” Each year, the Intermountain Engineering, Technology, and Computing Conference (i-ETC) is held at a participating university, this year being at BYU. Sharisse and Daniel are both graduate students at BYU studying electrical engineering who share a passion for biomedical applications of engineering.

The circuit Sharisse and Daniel designed for their paper can be used to monitor biological properties, with an ultimate goal of monitoring blood glucose levels noninvasively. Existing methods for monitoring blood glucose entail invasive procedures, such as blood sampling or subcutaneous transmitters. With this and subsequent circuits, Sharisse and Daniel seek to provide a noninvasive and more user-friendly option of blood glucose monitoring.

Sharisse and Daniel's circuit monitors biological properties by observing how impedance corresponds to human heartbeats. Daniel describes impedance as “how much a material resists electrical flow,” going on to say, “we want to look at how electrical resistance in your body changes when your heart beats." Through understanding these changes, Sharisse and Daniel seek to be able to monitor blood glucose levels. Speaking about this aspect of their research, Sharisse shared, “There are so many people who could use this in their daily life. Whether to manage diabetes, improve eating habits, or simply be more informed about their body, the ability to monitor glucose noninvasively could make a big difference. It would be so cool to see this technology on the market.”

The significance of this research has the potential to significantly improve people’s daily lives. Sharisse and Daniel’s research not only shows potential in biomedical applications, but also in other fields such as detecting fruit ripening or sensing whether a parking spot is vacant.

Both students plan to continue this research in future endeavors. After finishing their programs, Sharisse would love to work somewhere where she can do integrated circuit design, and Daniel hopes to continue biomedical research. They are both passionate about changing lives through their engineering work and have bright hopes for the future. Their work is a great example of the potential engineering has to vastly improve the human experience.