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2019 Summer Internship Guest Blog Post #37 by Jack Mills

Sydney Everett (Staff)
August 22, 2019

Throughout the summer, Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program participants will be writing guest blog posts about their internship experience. Following is one such post. 

By Jack Mills (EN ’20)

My name is Jack Mills and I am a rising senior studying biomedical engineering with a minor in mechanical engineering.  This summer, I worked at a biotech startup called Equine Smartbit, where they have developed new microtechnology used in measuring the biometrics of horses.  The biosensor and circuit board are embedded on the horse’s bit (the piece of metal in the horse’s mouth attached to the bridle and reigns) hence, the ‘Smartbit.’  By using reflectance pulse oximetry, the Smartbit measures heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and temperature, and this data is given to the user in real time via an app on their phone or tablet.  This data will allow for users to monitor and improve their horse’s health, something that is very valuable as many horses are a great investment to their owners.

In my first blog post, I focused primarily on the things I do the days that I am away from the office.  Most of the time, however, I was in the office, and I want to take this opportunity to describe some of the things I’ve worked on at the desk.  This internship has been a unique and very hands on experience for me as I’ve been exposed every component of the hardware.  This includes both the electronics of the sensor’s circuit board as well as the 3D modeling of its encasing.  One of my primary responsibilities throughout the summer was been taking over the 3D modeling of any modifications to the Smartbit case itself as well as creating other parts like the charging block and another case.  In order to be mass produced, these models must have the ability to be made using injection molding, which required a lot of research and understanding of what a 3D model requires so that it is injection molding friendly.  Incorporating uniform wall thickness and draft angles into my models was different from anything I have ever done in CAD, proving to be a new challenge.  I also created assembly drawings and orthogonal projection dimension drawings of the Smartbit using CAD, which will be used during mass production.

In addition to my work with the 3D modeling involved with the Smartbit, I have also learned a lot about the electronics involved in the sensor and the design of the circuit board.  While electrical engineering is not my strong suite, I have come to appreciate the complexity behind designing your own circuit board, especially one that is this small.

Besides my work as an engineer, I’ve also been exposed to something that I hadn’t really ever thought about before, which is the business side of running a startup.   Being involved in meetings concerning the structure, operation, and future of the startup has been really eye opening and has made me think about things I’ve never really considered.  These are just a few of the endeavors that I’ve done this summer, and I am happy with all that I have done to contribute to Equine Smartbit.