Brethren Armament logoTop image: Two people place a horse's hoof on a sensor plate. Bottom image: A man kneels to place a laptop in a padded case.By the time Engineering Design Team 1414 delivered the Advanced Farrier System, or AFS, to Design Day 2015, its sponsor, Brethren Systems, had already filed for a patent.

The low-cost, portable device, which uses sensor data to measure hoof pressure and dimensions, is designed for early detection of lameness and disease and to ensure a horse’s shoes fit correctly.

The project, which was based on technology that analyzes tire treads, not only moved along at a fast clip, it also caught the eye of judges, who rewarded the team’s outstanding work with the Sargent Aerospace and Defense Voltaire Design Award and the Edmund Optics Perseverance and Recovery Award.

The sponsor’s intensive involvement was a big part of their recipe for success.

Sponsor Quinn McIntosh was also a team member, providing expertise as a mechanical engineering major alongside biomedical engineering seniors Lindsay Bahureksa and Lindsey Conklin, systems engineering student Matt Ellison, optical sciences and engineering student Jacob Landsiedel, and electrical and computer engineering major Jovan Vance.

“The fact that we could talk to our sponsor about modifications right away and he could make decisions instantly was great,” said Conklin.

Here is how the AFS works: When a horse steps on the system’s film, differences in color represent pressure points on the hoof. The system then analyzes the impression data to identify potential foot maladies and provide individualized guidelines for horseshoeing.

McIntosh sees potential applications in veterinary medicine and the horse-racing industry.

“The Engineering Design Program gave me access to resources unavailable to a private entity, including the fantastic and diverse experts I needed to develop a product and actually bring it to market,” he said.