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Public Lab Research note


Honors Thesis Project

by erikakovalski | September 24, 2021 19:42 24 Sep 19:42 | #27797 | #27797

I am a senior in the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst. I am currently working on an honors thesis project that incorporates the use of a Raspberry Pi to construct an instrument that will be used to collect data and solve a research question. I will be posting updates and progress in this thread. As for my first update, I have been jumping between a few ideas regarding bacterial disinfection and human medicine but have decided to build upon a previous project that I worked on a few years ago during a science fair.


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Updates throughout the course of my project will be posted as comments. My second update includes discussing my options for the project with my professor and refining possibilities through problem-solving!

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Third update! About four weeks into brainstorming my project and I have decided to use a Raspberry Pi to assist in refining a phone case that disinfects its own surface with UV light.

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Fourth update! I am currently working on my Research Proposal to obtain a grant for my project and determining the exact materials needed to construct three prototypes.

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Update for week five: I spoke with my professor and weighed my options as far as disinfection goes. I have been surfing the web for the modes of UV disinfection as well as comparing them with other methods to determine why UV disinfection is more optimal. I am also currently thinking of ideas for which type of data I want to use my instrument to collect. Seeing as though bacteria are microscopic and are very difficult to obtain data from, it might be difficult to do so!

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Microscopy is not a strong area for me. But,is it possible you could make a setup for fluorescence microscopy?

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I understand that your final project probably won't be able to use microscopy. But, it may be a starting point. Maybe work backward from a microscopic method to straight color comparison ( as a guess, under uvc illumination, then looking for specific color of flourescence)? Good luck.

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That's a good idea! I will definitely look into it.


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Week six update: I am still working on gathering data about the materials needed to construct my project and budgeting them. I will continue to work on my research grant proposal as well!

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Week seven update: Almost finished with my research grant proposal! I discovered many new materials I can incorporate and worked with budgeting for them. I am exploring the idea of fluorescence microscopy for bacteria detection. I also came across the option to order Far UV-C LED light chips to incorporate in my project. After doing some research, I found that Far UV-C light has a smaller wavelength than regular UV-C light does. This makes it harmless to human skin and tissues and eliminates a component of my project that I was planning on factoring in!

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Update for week eight: I completed my Honors Research Grant Proposal and am preparing it for submission. Aside from the literature aspect, I am currently working on reaching out to UMass faculty to arrange plans for 3D printing my instrument and using an incubator to analyze its effectiveness.

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Week nine update: My Honors Research Grant Proposal has been submitted! I reached out to a professor at UMass in the Integrated Science Building and discussed the future use of an on-campus incubator for growing the bacteria I will be swabbing on my instrument before and after use. I am planning on meeting with another faculty member for a tour of the 3D printer in the UMass Makerspace next week.

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My update for week ten! This week I am planning on beginning my literature review and meeting with a faculty member for a tour of our on-campus 3D printer. This semester is flying by and I am making good progress with project-planning thus far!

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Week-eleven update: I am putting together a list of useful literature to include in my literature review. I have found interesting and informative pieces regarding Far UV-C light and the incorporation of it in LED form. I also received a tour of the 3D printers on campus and learned new ways to ensure the material I am printing is antimicrobial (aside from using 'antimicrobial' filament). Nozzles used by the printers are made out of different materials. I learned that stainless steel and copper nozzles do not harbor bacteria and, therefore, play a big role in their reduction during the printing process.

Thank you for posting these updates!


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Update for week 12! I am making good progress in planning for my literature review. I have found 19 pieces of literature that discuss all components of my project and even learned about the effectiveness (or lack of thereof) of sterile cotton swabs in swabbing for bacteria on a flat surface. I am going to need to modify the materials I plan on purchasing to put into effect this new information!

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Week thirteen update: I am moving along with my research in literature and getting prepared to begin the literature review. I have also started to explore ways I can transmit voltage from a battery to apply to the LED lights in the case.

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Update for week fourteen: I have begun working on putting together my literature review using the literature I have found over the past couple of weeks. I am also working on creating a code that allows me to automatically control the LED lights. Additionally, I am modifying my list of materials needed to be purchased in order to piece together my prototype after reading into which materials would be more beneficial over others in making my product successful.

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