Tarleton State University student Kassie Marble calls it a preemiescope.

And someday it could help doctors better recognize detached retinas in premature babies.

The device emerged from a recent competition that Kassie, a junior physics major, won. She worked on various aspects of the Aggies Invent project, including mechanical design, naming the instrument, assembly and troubleshooting. Her biggest challenge was finding a multi-layer lens, sought in initial plans.

Unable to locate one in the allotted time, she cannibalized an out-of-service microscope.

“I came up with an arrangement of lenses that allowed me to take detailed images of the eye,” she said. “That showed if we had a multi-layer lens, our device would have worked.”

Aggies Invent is an intensive design experience offered at the Texas A&M Engineering Innovation Center. Student teams have 48 hours to create prototype solutions for real-world issues.

Besides Kassie, the winning team consisted of chemical engineering students Rachael Cohen and Antara Dattagupta of Texas A&M; mechanical engineering students Pablo Leon, Kenneth Livingston and Zachary Davis of North Carolina State University, and Cannon Woodbury of Texas A&M.

Sixty-nine students participated from seven universities.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a physics major, engineer, mathematician or even an art major,” Kassie said. “What matters is that you have a team that has a variety of skill sets that complement each other and that you work well together.” 

Kassie, daughter of Tarleton physics professor Dr. Daniel Marble, previously presented research projects at the Legislature’s Undergraduate Research Day in Austin, at the Texas State Meeting of Physics in San Antonio, and at the Division of Nuclear Physics in Vancouver.