Individuals diagnosed with spinal injuries are oftentimes unable to regulate their body temperature belowthe site of injury. Unaffected individuals regulate their body temperature through conduction, evaporationand radiation methods. Conduction heat loss occurs when the body comes into contact with a cooler
surface (i.e. the ground), but evaporation and radiation heat loss depends on signals from the body’s
control center. Individuals with spinal damage are unable to relay messages from their sensory neuronsto the hypothalamus . As a result, the hypothalamus is unable to stimulate vasodilation and sweating toinduce heat loss.When temperatures exceed 104
F, the inability to induce heat loss mechanisms poses threats to affectedindividuals. Specifically, elevated temperatures cause organ malfunctioning, cardiovascular problems andpotentially death . Therefore, the purpose of this project is to produce a vest that is capable ofmaintaining the core body temperature of individuals with spinal injuries at 98.6°F.
Challenger background and needs
The proposer of this project is Lisa Maddox. Maddox is a practicing MD that works with multiple sclerosispatients. She has requested a design for a thermal vest that is capable of cooling and heating to maintainan average body temperature of 98
F. Ideally this device should regulate the core body temperature inenvironments that reach 110
Purpose of the project
The purpose of this project is to design a vest capable of maintaining an individual’s core
temperature at98°F. Current vest models exist that utilize ice packs that are inserted into vest pockets. However, onceice packs melt, the excess water increases the overall weight of the vest. In addition, these vests onlycool the body for a limited amount of time. The overall purpose of this project is to create a battery-operated, light-weight, and functional vest that individuals will be inclined to use on a regular basis inwarm environments.
Project & Team Description
This is a two-quarter long project that aims to design a body temperature regulated vest. The first quarterwill be spent forming an initial design. The second quarter will be dedicated to building, testing andrevising the initial design.The project team is composed of five members from biomedical, mechanical and materials engineeringbackgrounds. Melissa Goss will serve as the team lead to coordinate all correspondence with QL+,manage the project budget and submit project reports. Greg Olsen will serve as the lead communicatorwith the project challenger and faculty. Other members will be appointed various positions as the designprocess develops.