1:1 Interview with Mel Li (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1 …)

TV:  Tell me about the Lab on a Chip?

ML: The lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a device that integrates one or several laboratory functions on a single chip of only millimeters to a few square centimeters in size. LOCs deal with the handling of extremely small fluid volumes down to less than pico liters. The notion of the “Lab-on-a-Chip” generally indicates the scaling of single or multiple lab processes down to chip-format, primarily dedicated to the integration of the total sequence of lab processes to perform chemical analysis.  My previous work examined the design and validation of a LOC for screening blood samples to determine optimal personalized drugs and their respective dosages for specific patients to prevent heart attacks. A lot of those techniques were first inspired by the fact that tools requiring the examination, characterization and integration of the sophisticated hardware controls are made available.

TV: Describe your post doctorate work and bio medical engineering?

ML: I worked on research projects that are helping us to better understand and detect early heart disease.  My current research work involves measurements for fluid migration over surfaces then discussing those applications for medical diagnostics. My works also involve motor control for fluorescence microscopy for applications in life sciences.  This work involves spectrum study of fluorescent DNA or proteins. This graduate work is related to the building and diagnostic device which can measure at microscale, pinpoint dosage of drugs to show visibility of early signs of heart disease. The medical application revolves around a low cost infectious disease as well as looking at tuberculosis and malaria. The idea is to provide a breakthrough in what typically required extensive cost, lots of lab work and long examination to be replaced with a low cost and easily administered solution. The application is very similar to taking a sample of mucous or saliva; this is sort of like a pregnancy test. We collaborate with large industrial partners such as GE Healthcare and hopefully we’ll be able to produce a commercially viable product in time.

TV:  How are AVR Microcontrollers being used with the Arduino in your cosplay costume

ML: I use the ATmega168 (via the development and application of the Arduino Duemilanove board) for this costume. The microcontroller is used to control the color, power and timing of the lights on the costume through shift registers. The cosplay costume using this controller chip is the one pictured here.

3ddesign-origin-exoskeloton-avr-inside-microcontrollers-3dprinted.png

I also use the ATmega328 (via the Arduino Uno/Uno R3 board) for the lab projects previously described.  Specific tasks for the controller include driving the position and timing of a servo motor and/or linear actuator, as well as switching power on and off from an AC wall socket to a high powered, wide spectrum LED light source. Additionally, it was also used in a costume where it again controlled color, power and timing of LED’s, but these were driven using normal (non shift register) PWM signal controls. My costume using this controller chip is pictured here:

Figure 6: Photos by Mike Vickers

Figure 6: Photos by Mike Vickers

exoskeloton-with-atmel-avr-inside-microcontrollers-3dprinted

This is the ATmega32uF (via the Arduino Micro board) for my current project (in progress) that will be used for motor control.

 

3dmodel-Designed-Solidworks-AVR-Atmel-origin-lay-exoskeloton-avr-inside-microcontrollers-3dprinted

* Mel’s costume is an original design inspired by a wide range of cyberpunk/fantasy artists including Masumune Shirow, Eric Canete, Joe Benitez and various modern gaming concept art. According to Mel, the process was a lot of fun and took approximately three months of on-and-off planning and building. The assembly is made from over 60 parts designed in Solidworks and sewn/cut/glued/laser-cut/heat-formed using various techniques. The costume includes color changing LEDs on the spine and front that are controlled by Arduino boards with Atmel AVR and ARM microcontrollers and onboard RGB controllers (respectively). The costume is powered by 16 AA batteries, 1 LiPo rechargeable battery, two 2032 coin cells and one 9-volt battery. In total, there are more than 70 LED’s on the entire costume and over 60 parts.

** Part one of this interview can be read here.

 

One thought on “1:1 Interview with Mel Li (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: 1:1 Interview with Mel Li (Part 1) | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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