June 2013

BMEidea 2013: Competition Winners

BMEidea-Biomedical Engineering-Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Award

The BMEidea competition recognizes the best of the best in student-driven, innovative biomedical engineering design with high commercial potential and social impact. First held in 2005, winners of this annual competition are selected from some of the nation’s top biomedical engineering departments and are judged by a panel of faculty and industry representatives. Winning entries solve a clinical problem; meet technical, economic, legal, and regulatory requirements; feature novel and practical designs; and show potential for commercialization.

Prizes include cash awards of $10,000 (first prize), $5,000 (second prize), and $2,500 (third prize), and product development and commercialization resources and training.

The BMEidea awards are presented each year at the MD&M East Medical Device Trade Show and Convention.

Congratulations to our winners!

 

EchoSure team photo thumbnail

$10,000 First Prize Winner

EchoSure

The team members:
Devin Coon, 30, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Adam Lightman, 26, from Memphis, Tennessee
David Narrow, 22, from Baltimore, Maryland

School:
Johns Hopkins University

The device:
A simple system that, for the first time, enables nurses to perform routine monitoring of patients’ vascular health at the bedside. Find out more…

AWAIR team photo thumbnail

$5,000 Second Prize Winner

AWAIR

The team members:
Rush Bartlett II, PhD, MBA, age 26, from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Austin, Texas
Ryan Van Wert, MD, age 33, from Toronto, Canada

School:
Stanford University

The device:
AWAIR created the Wyshbone drug delivery catheter, which continuously applies topical anesthetic to the throat to reduce endotracheal tube discomfort. Find out more…

Gala Pump team photo thumbnail

$2,500 Third Prize Winner

Gala Pump by DS Labs

The team members:
Susan Thompson, age 28, from Baltimore, Maryland
Adriana Blazeski, age 26, from Ann Arbor, Michigan

School:
Johns Hopkins University

The device:
A hands-free, concealable, and quiet breast pump that women can use discreetly in the presence of others. Find out more…

Honorable Mentions for Promising Technological Innovations:

  • ChitO2-Clot, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • AccuRIGHT: Device-based therapy for Resistant Hypertension, Johns Hopkins University

Principal sponsor

Gala Pump by DS Labs - BMEidea 2013 Finalist

Meet the Innovators

The team:
Gala Pump by DS Labs

The team members:
Susan Thompson, age 28, from Baltimore, Maryland
Adriana Blazeski, age 26, from Ann Arbor, Michigan

School:
Johns Hopkins University

The device:
A hands-free, concealable, and quiet breast pump that women can use discreetly in the presence of others.

The problem: 
After having her first child, Susan struggled to incorporate a healthy and efficient pumping schedule into her routine upon returning to work and to graduate school. She often found herself in stressful situations, getting behind on pumping while missing out on work and school time. After speaking with other new mothers and conducting additional research, she discovered an overwhelming need for a discrete and effective breast pump that mothers could use while multitasking during the day.

The solution: 
The Gala Pump is a hands-free, concealable, quiet and effective breast pump that women can use in the presence of others. The device uses massage-induced milk expression that mimics hand-expression and has a low-profile collection system that includes a reservoir at the base of the breast. The compact device can easily fit into an undergarment, eliminating the need for bulkier vacuum pumps.

The word “Gala” means milk in Greek and relates to a story in Greek mythology about the creation of the Milky Way.

Challenges facing the team:
Refining the prototype to be as effective as possible has been a challenge for DS Labs. The compression technology provides an excellent solution to traditional vacuum technology, with far more benefits than standard breast pumps. DS Labs has gone through many versions of the prototype design to ensure they are as effective and efficient as possible.

Accomplishments and progress to date:
DS Labs is a 2013 BMEidea finalist as well as a 2013 finalist at MassChallenge, a fellowship accelerator program in Massachusetts. Additionally, the team won the Johns Hopkins University Life Science Business Competition and the University of Maryland Business Competition in 2012, both of which offered funding that supported DS Labs in building prototypes.

Their tip for other student innovators:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! DS Labs has cold contacted a lot of people looking for advice and it has been incredibly helpful. Not everyone responds – they have seen a 50% hit rate – but many people are happy to give a little of their time if they can be of assistance.

EchoSure - BMEidea 2013 Finalist

Meet the Innovators

EchoSure Team

The team:
EchoSure

The team members:
Devin Coon, 30, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Adam Lightman, 26, from Memphis, Tennessee
David Narrow, 22, from Baltimore, Maryland

School:
Johns Hopkins University

The device: 
A simple system that, for the first time, enables nurses to perform routine monitoring of patients’ vascular health at the bedside.

The problem: 
Each year, hundreds of thousands of patients undergo surgeries in which arteries and veins are joined together. These surgeries save lives, yet too often result in failure because the vessels break down in the immediate post-surgical period.

During clinical observations, the EchoSure team saw firsthand the poor performance of existing blood clot detection systems and the consequences for patients when clots were not detected in time to save the surgery. For example, a female patient who had undergone surgery to create a new breast out of her abdominal tissue had a clot form after surgery, and by the time it was recognized, it was too late to have it removed. The reconstruction was lost.

Doctors often decide against using existing clot detection systems due to their many shortcomings that affect safety and accuracy. The EchoSure team saw the need for a safe and effective system that doctors could utilize consistently.

The solution: 
The EchoSure system detects post-operative complications as they arise, giving surgeons the chance to restore the surgery before it’s too late. The system is comprised of the EchoMark, a novel implant, and EchoFind, an ultrasound software package that locks onto the unique EchoMark signature and analyzes blood flow. Together, these components provide a simple system that enables routine monitoring of vascular health at the bedside for the first time.

Challenges encountered:
The most significant challenge has been to understand their users’ needs. EchoSure is the first fully functional ultrasound device designed for use by a nurse at the bedside. The team continues to refine the system so that a nurse with little-to-no ultrasound training can use it effectively, requiring robust yet user-friendly software.

Accomplishments and progress to date:
EchoSure has developed a working prototype that has demonstrated notable success in large animal trials.

Their tip for other student innovators:
The EchoSure team has learned that successful medical innovators must have a core clinical need that acts as a motivational drive to sustain them during long hours of difficult work. The clinical imperative reminds everyone why they are making a sustained personal investment. 

Yet, the clinical need must spur passion not only for the innovators themselves, but also for influencers in the outside world. The success of an innovation often hinges on whether it causes someone to “sit up in their chair and give you ten minutes of their time.”

AWAIR - BMEidea 2013 Finalist

Meet the Innovators

The team:
AWAIR

The team members:
Rush Bartlett II, PhD, MBA, age 26, from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Austin, Texas
Ryan Van Wert, MD, age 33, from Toronto, Canada

School:
Stanford University

The device:
AWAIR created the Wyshbone drug delivery catheter, which continuously applies topical anesthetic to the throat to reduce endotracheal tube discomfort.

The problem: 
The idea for AWAIR originated through Rush and Ryan’s participation as fellows in Stanford’s Biodesign Program. Biodesign fellows spend one year in medtech innovation courses and are then placed in a local hospital to identify medical and/or operational problems. Teams rank problems in order of need and build prototypes to provide solutions to the most pressing ones.

In their time visiting and observing in a hospital, Rush and Ryan noticed that ICU patients with breathing tubes were often heavily sedated, which led to a number of negative side effects, including increased length of stay, ventilator-associated pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, pressure ulcers, and delirium. At the same time, patients without breathing tubes were not sedated and fared much better. Rush and Ryan saw an opportunity to eliminate or reduce sedation by providing a new solution for people with breathing tubes.

The solution:
Rush and Ryan created the Wyshbone drug delivery catheter, a device that continuously applies lidocaine, a topical painkiller, to the throat in order to reduce the discomfort of having a breathing tube inserted. AWAIR’s targeted approach allows clinicians to minimize IV sedation and allows the patient to be awake and comfortable during the process. 

Challenges encountered:
AWAIR has found the funding and regulatory environment for start-ups in the medical field to be extremely challenging, but are learning to navigate it. Even with experience, there remains a steep learning curve. By definition, there isn’t a playbook for being innovative. For example, not everything moves at the pace of a start-up like theirs; so it has been essential to plan far in advance in order to properly follow the processes and regulation guidelines. 

Accomplishments and progress to date:
So far, AWAIR has received $5,000 from NCIIA in a Phase One E-Team grant, and has applied for a Phase Two E-Team grant for additional resources. 

Their tip for other student innovators:
Three lessons, actually: Listen, be intellectually honest and persevere.