The main goal of this project was to develop a sanitary electrical system that could provide consistent, high quality, cold therapy treatment to consecutive users to cut down on the reliance on single-use plastic ice packs. In order to achieve this, we first got in contact with Cheryl Rockwood, the head athletic trainer at Union College, to help us determine a set design requirements that would need to be met in order for such a device to be practical. We developed a list of design requirements including: reaching and maintaining temperatures between 40 and 50oF in under 5 minutes over a 180o to 360o area, consistently running 10 to 15 minute treatments over a 3 hour duration, being easy and quick to clean, have an easy to use interface, fit in a 2 cubic foot area, and cost under $1500. From this we researched existing products already on the market and brainstormed several design alternatives. In the end we decided to go with thermoelectric cooling modules, known as Peltier coolers, which would enable us to control the temperature electrically. We designed a system which was broken into two parts. The first was a sleeve made from a gel pack that contained the Peltier units to provide the cooling, copper bars to distribute the temperature, and thermistors to monitor the temperature. The second part of the device was a case that contained the drivers to control the peltiers, the circuit to read the thermistors, the Raspberry Pi as the control, with a touch screen attached, and the power supply to run everything. After constructing and testing the completed system, we found that the system satisfied the majority of its requirements. The system only fell short in that only one of the subsystems was able to reach a temperature of 45oF, while the other could only reach 50oF, and that it was not able to achieve coverage of 180o around a treatment area. This said, given more time these issues could have been addressed. Overall, the device that we designed could be a viable alternative to plastic ice packs to provide cold therapy treatment.
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