U of A students making device to help solve child abuse cases

Device could help solve child abuse cases

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Bruises can happen anytime, but occasionally it’s from abuse. Researchers and students at the University of Arizona are working on a device that can help determine when a bruise happened to help authorities.

Samantha Davidson, a senior at the U of A, is the team-lead for the project. Five other women have been working on the project with her.

“I wouldn’t say it’s any different than working with men,” said Davidson.

The device they are making is just a little bigger than a phone, and that’s the whole point.

“We want to be able to allow the device to come to the patient,” said Davidson. “We don’t want the patient to have to leave wherever they’re most safe.”

When dealing with patients who have been abused, she said this is important. A large majority of child-abuse cases happen to children under the age of three. They are not able to communicate how or when a bruise happened, and this device could help.

It is placed over the bruise, and a light, with different wavelengths, flashes to collect data. It only takes about ten seconds and the reading is done. The idea is, once more research is done, an SD card can be popped into a computer with the data, and authorities, social workers or physicians can tell how old the bruise is and when it might have happened. This could put caregivers, parents or partners at the same location and time when the abuse occurred.

The students have been testing it on themselves—working on it for nine months.

“Luckily, none of us have been injured too bad this year. They’ve all been little bruises,” said Davidson.

They are not done yet, but the students are hoping to have their finished model by Friday. The public can see how it all works in person at “Design Day” on April 29 at the U of A.

“We knew the device would have a really great impact on the world, so we wanted to be a part of that,” said Davidson.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.