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Last updatepon, 16 sep 2019 8pm

New York

Research Students build their way to success at NYCSEF competition

NYSCEF is a competition where students from all over New York City come together and present scientific projects they’ve worked on all year. Students send in a research papers, and about 450 projects are selected to be presented at the Science fair. Among the 450 projects, only 120 are selected to move onto the final round

By ARMIN PASUKANOVIC

Surely, robotic body parts only exist in “The Terminator.” There is no such thing as a real cyborg, right?

Wrong! Rana Mohamed ’19 can tell you, robotic body parts are real. Mohamed won first place at the New York City Engineering Science Fair (NYCSEF) for her robotic passive walker.

NYSCEF is a competition where students from all over New York City come together and present scientific projects they’ve worked on all year. Students send in a research papers, and about 450 projects are selected to be presented at the Science fair. Among the 450 projects, only 120 are selected to move onto the final round.

Mohamed’s invention was a step towards the future of biomedical engineering.

“I built an actuated passive walker that mimics the movement of exoskeletons used by paraplegics, people who are paralyzed from weight down,” said Mohamed. “I made this walker to conduct energy expenditure experiments to extend the battery life of my walker. Essentially, if I am able to figure out which variables can decrease energy consumption I can project my findings onto an actual exoskeleton.”

The passive walker has a promising future. It can be used to help people paralyzed from the waist down. For instance, veterans with lost legs can use the passive walker to walk normally.

Mohamed is currently studying how to extend the battery life and lower the weight of the walker to make it possible to attach it to the skeleton of a human. She will be attending New York University (NYU) Tandon this coming fall to continue her research in biomedical engineering. 

The science research class helped  various students branch out into different fields they are interested in and get a hands on experience.

“[You] Start research as a sophomore and you do foundational work like how to write papers and how to write an argument, and sophomores do the sophomore science fair,” Mr. Elert said. “Juniors try to find internships in labs across the city and work there for about a year, and then they enter competitions in the fall of senior year.”

Xie described her second place win as “an honor”

“I studied [and] did field work on monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus,” said Xie. I’m in a psychology lab. I worked with the ArcGIS, which is a system that allows us to map things, put data layers onto a map, and to perform spatial analysis.”

Xie did research and mapped out Monk Parakeet nests. Monk Parakeets are small bright green parrots, that can be relatively noisy creatures.

“Since monk parakeets are oftenly viewed as a noise nuisance, my research can help inform people about where monk parakeets tend to nest so people who are not fond of much noises would know to move away from areas or if people like the noises, they can move closer to the birds,” said Xie.

This research gives the real estate market a new perspective on property value. Depending on the buyer, knowledge on where the Monk Parakeets are nesting can change the buyers view on the property.  

Whether its building passive walkers or mapping the nesting of Monk Parakeets, the future is bright for NYCSEF competitors, and I urge students to take part in its competition.

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