Zane Ricks

Scholar: Zane Ricks

Zane Ricks

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Yantao Shen

Research Topic: A Novel Piezoelectric 3-D Micro-force Sensor for Force-guided Bio-manipulation: Design and Test

Abstract: The injection of genetic materials into a cellular membrane is a bio-manipulation task which requires a large degree of skill. Currently, trained operators have only met a 15% cellular survival rate over the course of an operation without the assistance of precision instruments. To enable a user to complete this task successfully, it is essential to provide sensory feedback to the user in response to the interactive forces between the injector and cell during injection. The purpose of this research is to design a 3-D and highly sensitive micro-force sensor, which is capable of ultimately interfacing with a 3-D haptic device to offer real-time force feedback to the user involved in such bio-manipulation. The sensor itself relies on using the highly sensitive Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) film to measure forces. In our design, four strips of the PVDF film are serially interconnected using rapid prototyped fastening devices, which feature 3 decoupled force measurements in the x, y, and z directions. Two types of circuits, one charge amplifier and one voltage amplifier, are employed in order to effectively process the sensor signals. In addition, both static and dynamic performance of the sensor is calibrated and analyzed. Several force-guided bio-manipulation tasks will be further implemented using this developed 3D micro-force sensor.

New Scholar: Fall 2009

Graduated With Baccalaureate Degree: Fall 2010

Masters or Doctoral Program Update: Accepted as a grad special in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno for spring 2011.  Accepted to the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Program at Vanderbilt University for fall 2011.