About the Competition
National Design Research Forum (NDRF) was established in 1969 by the Institution of Engineers (India) (IEI) to promote research, design, development and innovation in the various branches of Engineering and Technology. NDRF annually organizes national level design competition for students in about 15 disciplines of Engineering to inculcate the importance of problem solving and design ideation for the unsolved mysteries and day-to-day problems. National Design Awards and the All India Student Design Competitions are the two schemes for students.
This year, NDRF conducted the 48th All India Student Design Competition open to Final year and Pre-final year students pursuing any course in Engineering or Technology. One Gold Medal, one Silver Medal and one Bronze Medal in each discipline were awarded to students.
Students were allowed to generate ideas and designs in one of the following 15 disciplines:
● Aerospace Engineering
● Agricultural Engineering
● Architectural Engineering
● Chemical Engineering
● Civil Engineering
● Computer Engineering
● Electronics and Tele Engineering
● Electrical Engineering
● Environmental Engineering
● Marine Engineering
● Mechanical Engineering
● Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
● Mining Engineering
● Production Engineering
● Textile Engineering
Design and the award won
The design of an abdominal belt for the measurement of foetal heartbeat and monitoring of uterine contraction during labour using textile materials was developed on a theoretical basis. This design was awarded the Silver Medal under the discipline of Textile Engineering in the 48th All India Student Design Competition.
Description of the design
Monitoring the heartbeat of a foetus and the contraction of uterus of the mother during labour and delivery is a very critical parameter. Conventionally, two sensors embedded into an elastic belt are being widely used. One sensor is used to monitor heartbeat of foetus and the other sensor is for uterus contraction monitoring. The belt causes extra pain and makes the mother uncomfortable during delivery. This idea revolves around replacing the elastic belt with comfortable textile material and use of better and modern sensors for monitoring are being researched. Such an idea on a basic level is being generated.
The conventional belt is a woven structure of polyester that is very tight on the belly of the mother. The belt acts as a medium to hold two sensors in place and avoid it from movement. This belt makes the mother very uncomfortable due to non-breathability property of the fibre.
The alternate idea generated is to use knitted belt. Knitted structure allows ease of movement and deforms according to the movement. The belt is knitted using Nylon that gives good breathability. Conductive fibres are incorporated into the knitted structure that senses the pressure of the uterine contraction. These signals are transferred through the fibres to an electronic device that converts the signal and transmits it to an external monitoring device connected over Wi-Fi. The overall belt is coated with Shape Memory Polymer to keep the belt intact and to avoid excess pressure on the mother during movement.
This design enables the belt to be used as the sensing device rather than just a sensor holding medium. Sophisticated sensors can be used to monitor the foetal heartbeat. This design allows the continuous monitoring during the complete gestation period as well because the sensors are wireless and it does not restrict the movements of the mother.
The award function was held at Kala Academy, Panjim, Goa, on 29th October, 2017 at the Inaugural Function of the 25th IEI Convocation and Technicians’/Students’ Convocation in the presence of the Chief Minister of Goa.