Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
Reid Chunn - Harris-Stowe State University
The ways that cells and tissues respond to forces over time are important to physiology, but are often difficult to characterize. A key challenge with typical tensile measurements is that the cells exert forces over a range both too small for conventional macroscale mechanical testing equipment such as benchtop tensile testers, and too large for nanoscale equipment such as atomic force microscopy; this was our control to compare against. We hypothesized that creating a micro stepping apparatus using Arduino would allow for accurate experimentation with high efficacy. This research allows the Center for Engineering Mechanobiology, Genin Lab, to measure the stresses of tissues, such as cardiomyocytes, that will provide fundamental data for future researchers when examining heart stresses, including pharmacokinetics.
Arduino Uno is an adaptable, open-source microprocessor system that can be programmed to control an assortment of electromechanical systems. We soldered and stacked the Arduino board and two Adafruit MotorshieldV2’s, then wired four unipolar stepper motors to the corresponding MotorShield ports and created programs to smoothly and continuously drive the stepper motor that would subsequently stretch the tissue. Arduino Uno was controlled by MATLAB software with support from the native Arduino IDE, MATLAB analyzed the data from force transducers.
We found that this research opens the door to reliable and fiscally responsible experiments, that are applicable to an array of projects, such as programming a camera to take pictures at intervals or actuate motors as a programmed condition is met, with minimal technological background knowledge. There are numerous support videos and guides that make Arduino UNO approachable by both novice and veteran researchers.
We conclude that using Arduino hardware with MATLAB is a viable and reliable source for conducting controlled, precise experiments dealing with tissue and data that is too small for conventional macroscale mechanical testing and too large for atomic force microscopy. Lastly, the stepper motor apparatus can easily be morphed to fit needs in tighter spaces. Future research for the project would be to stretch cardiomyocyte cells in different temperatures along with varying stresses to simulate the effects of blood pressure medication, hypertension, or other heart conditions.
This poster presents the Reliable Experiment Implementation and Displacement System(REID) for performing flexible benchtop experiments in controlled-displacement mode. The REID System is based upon integrating Arduino Uno with MATLAB and inexpensive but accurate stepper motors.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation; Center for Engineering Mechanobiology Washington University, St. Louis
Faculty Advisor: Guy Genin, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I revised generic MATLAB code for a single motor and expanded it to accept user input for motor number choice, with input validation and intuitive user interface. I created a separate code specifically for actuating multiple motors to use identical tissue with different stresses: differing accelerations or all similar stresses: same accelerations. Along with functional coding, I debugged the programs, completed majority of the background research, and 3D printed an arm to hold a magnet for the next step of the project.