July 2009

Mashavu: networked health solutions for people in Tanzania

Another cool innovation from NCIIA's Sustainable Vision program - the Mashavu healthcare system, created by a team at Penn State. Think Tanzania, where there's one doctor for every 50,000 people, meaning that many never see a doctor in their lives. Think technology: Biomedical diagnostic tools and a data entry system, operated by trained local villagers. The diagnostic system is connected to a network of doctors in the US, who can review the data and prescribe situation-appropriate medical treatment. In this video, team leader Khanjan Mehta describes the technology (clips provided by Cornell University's eClips program).

Khanjan talks more about Mashavu here.


Cool technology file: Solar ivy's GROWth

Former E-Team GROW's solar ivy technology is flourishing. The wind and solar power generating photovoltaic leaves system, which can be easily integrated on the side of a building to produce energy, was featured in the MoMa Exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind and was a concept design for a five-star luxury hotel in Zayed Bay, Abu Dhabi.

Read more about GROW's growth at Inhabitat.com.


More about Lab-on-a-Stick, 2009 BMEidea winners

Stanford University's  Lab-on-a-Stick team talks more about their BMEidea award-winning innovation, here.


Entrepreneurship training for 'Base of the Pyramid' ventures

NCIIA presents essential training to move your 'base of the pyramid' venture ahead!

Register now for our new Advanced Invention to Venture workshop for ventures that focus on customers in developing nations. The workshop will be held in Cambridge, MA, August 16-19. This intensive, four-day workshop, created especially for 'base of the pyramid' ventures, will followed by eight weeks of weekly, one-hour teleconferences or strategy sessions with coaches and mentors.

Innovative Probe Design for Adaptive Metrology in Manufacturing Environments (InsituTec)

University of North Carolina, 2002 - $17,500

Quality control is a key element in the industrial production process. Historically, methods to inspect the geometry of manufactured parts have consisted of either single parameter probes or Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), which require parts to be removed from manufacturing process. The InsituTec E-Team developed a state of the art precision instrument that is ten times faster than traditional methods, yet comes with comparable accuracy, lower cost, and the added advantage of implementation within the manufacturing process. The probing system rapidly measures 0.125" to 1.0" diameter holes, including outer and inner diameter holes. The system's design scales to encompass small and large circular features and is capable of measuring cylindricity, surface finish, and form error in real time.

The team completed its first phase of product development with support from a December 2001 Advanced E-Team grant. With the initial grant, the team furthered product development, established InsituTec Inc. and filed for intellectual property rights. A mix of sales and research grants totaling $560k has made the young company profitable, and they anticipate an 80% to 100% increase in revenue in 2007.


Rowan University, 2002 - $14,750

An adverse effect of chemotherapy is that it lowers patients' white and red blood cell production as it attacks their rapidly dividing cancer cells. Progressive reduction in red blood cell counts leads to anemia, while reduction in white blood cells leaves them susceptible to infection. In the event of infection, mortality rates for chemotherapy patients can reach as high as 70% if not promptly treated with antibiotics. Thus, quick detection of infection is critical to maintaining chemotherapy patients' health. Because fever is an indicator of infection, chemotherapy patients and their caretakers must monitor patients' temperatures to ensure patient health. When fever is detected, patients require prompt medical attention.

The ChemoTemp E-Team developed a fever monitoring and reporting device for chemotherapy patients. The device accurately measures patient temperature, identifies fever and risk of fever, and reports fever conditions to the patient and/or caregiver. Patients can wear ChemoTemp comfortably for long periods of time.

The team consisted of twenty-three undergraduate students from the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinic course, including students from electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and life sciences students. These students worked with a team of twelve graduate students and the clinic course professor.

A Microfabricated Compound Eye for Intravascular Optical Detection

Stony Brook University, 2002 - $17,100

The novel compound eye device was designed for the detection of incident radiant energy. Modeled after the compound eye found in insects, this biomimetic system has the capability of generating a high-resolution mosaic from the simultaneous detection of light from many sources. The particular application presented here is for the improvement of angioscopy, the imaging of blood vessel walls by use of a fiber optic scope. Angioscopy has enabled physicians to better understand the pathological mechanisms of atherosclerotic disease, to evaluate failing vein bypass grafts, and to assess angioplasty effectiveness. Each year, 1.5 million intravascular procedures are performed, and endoscopic purchases total $650 million with an annual growth rate of 6-7%. However, available angioscopy catheters are unable to provide quantitative details, often making their use secondary to angiography, a simpler technique. By projecting images from several polymer waveguides onto a photodiode array, the compound eye device calculates distance and measurements from multiple perspectives. This improvement makes angioscopy a viable alternative to existing technologies. The innovative features are the small size, fabrication method, ability to provide quantitative dimensions, and application to intravascular imaging.

Bringing Unique Nanosatellite Solutions Down To Earth

Case Western Reserve University, 2002 - $20,000

Nanostar Technologies is a startup company with a unique nanosatellite-based technology developed at Taylor University in Upland, IN. This grant focused on developing a prototype that can transfer small amounts of data from remote locations on a non-time critical basis. The team's unit was equipped to sense the tank level of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and report the information to an LPG distributor. This enabled distributors to optimize their operations efficiently and save money on their primary costs of doing business (gasoline, labor and truck maintenance) by cutting down on the number of deliveries made each year.

New Design Painting

Lehigh University, 2002 - $13,600

A favorite art activity for many children is painting with tempera paints and brushes. Although kids enjoy the creative and fun exercise, they often make a mess when painting. To address this problem, the New Design Painting E-Team analyzed existing paintbrushes. From their research, they created the No-Dip-Paintstick. The No-Dip-Paintstick is a revolutionary, self-contained art utensil that eliminates the need for separate pots of paint, water for rinsing, and multiple brushes. The transparent handle of the brush contains a soft cartridge of non-toxic, washable paint. The handle's transparency allows the user to see the color of paint held within. To release the paint, the user squeezes the brush and activates the cartridge. Paint flows from the cartridge and into a funnel which controls the paint flow onto the brush bristles. The eight brushes in the No-Dip-Paintstick set have synthetic, straight nylon bristles.

Alertus Technologies

University of Maryland, 2002 - $17,300

In the post 9/11 environment, there is a growing public demand for emergency alert systems that warn against terrorism, natural, and human-generated disasters. Warning systems currently on the market contain centrally located sirens, which do not cover the full area of many closed communities. Moreover, existing systems lack the capability to efficiently provide pertinent emergency information to response crews. In response to the need for technologically advanced, safe and user-friendly alarm systems, the Alertus Technologies E-Team is developing a proprietary wireless communications solution for the dissemination of emergency warning information to concentrated populations with dedicated information providers. The product revolutionizes the warning systems industry by its reliability, all-hazards capability, active functioning, advanced localization, and embedded security. The system will be marketed to closed communities as a high-tech solution and low-cost service. The Alertus solution encompasses two proprietary software products, an innovative security protocol, and proprietary hardware receivers.

Update: After winning several other grants and business plan competitions, Alertus is on its feet and selling product. Visit the company's website here.