Gannon University Students Win at Erie's Collegiate Innovation Showcase

- Erie, Pa. – Four Gannon University students were recipients of prizes as winners of the Erie Collegiate Innovation
Showcase held at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Undergraduate and graduate students in the University’s College of Engineering and Business first submitted
projects to the college’s dean, William L. Scheller, Ph.D., who chose two teams to compete in the showcase.
Students, Jennifer Papich and Christian Kennett were chosen to present their project “Assessment of Hygienic
Movements” and the second team of students, Alissa Jones and Anthony Cusati presented their project “Chimera
Space Technologies.”
Papich and Kennett presented the assessment of hygienic movements using a motion capture and analysis setup,
in which two webcams were used to track and analyze the movement of the upper limb during feeding. The
students worked to track the movement, interface the data to a musculoskeletal model and derive approximate
force values for various upper limb muscles involved in the motion. “This project began as a simple laboratory
experiment last semester and turned into a presentation topic for the American Society for Engineering Education.
When we heard about the innovation showcase, we decided we would enter and see what came of the
opportunity,” said Kennett.
That opportunity brought the two students a second runner-up prize of $500 and six-months of access to the ETI
building at the StartUP Incubator video production studio. The students were mentored by biomedical engineering
Assistant Professor, Davide Piovesan. “I really enjoyed the experience mostly because motion analysis and/or
biomechanics is my career of choice. I interned at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie and was involved in
similar exercises; because of that experience, my intent has been to work in biomechanics ever since,” said
Jones and Cusati presented a project and business plan to collaborate with local middle schools to bring high
altitude ballooning to teachers and their curriculum. The students developed a business plan for the pre-existing
company Chimera Space Technologies, which was started by Cusati’s brother-in-law, but struggled to obtain
customers and sales.
The concept the students created was to supply the support and curriculum for the teacher to help students learn
how to assemble the payload, the computer, the camera, etc. necessary to launch the project into extremely high
altitudes and then analyze their findings via live footage attached to the launched project. Because the teacher
may not have the knowledge of the launch, that portion, along with the retrieval, would done by the Gannon
students of Chimera.

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