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Close up of a woman holding a plastic device onto her left arm.

Biomedical engineering senior Samantha Davidson is leading the only all-woman Engineering Design Program team in 2019. (Photo: KGUN9)

UA Students Working to Build a Device to Fight Child Abuse

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UA Students Working to Build a Device to Fight Child Abuse

April 19, 2019
KGUN features a senior design team creating a method to measure the age of bruises.

Engineering students at the University of Arizona are working on building a device that would help combat child abuse.

The device will be used to determine how long a bruise has been on a child's body -- allowing for further determination of exactly when the child got the bruise.

"Many child abuse victims are under the age of three, and that's due to the fact that they are unable to communicate verbally the details of their incidents," said Samantha Davidson, the student team lead.

The piece of technology will determine the age of a bruise by measuring how it reflects light.

"The way we're going about that is by taking intensity and wavelength of a bruise and we can take that to calculate the age of a bruise," said Davidson.

Engineering students were brought the idea to build the device from Dr. Dale Woolridge, the director of the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center, and Urs Utzinger, associate department head for biomedical engineering undergraduate affairs at the University of Arizona.

The team began planning the device back in August of 2018 and moved on to building the prototype back in January. They'll be showcasing the device at Engineering Design Day on April 29, 2019.

Students and their sponsors hope to finish the device as soon as possible in order to give doctors and social workers access to it.