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

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.