We've done a lot of work with the Onebreath low-cost ventilator team from Stanford University recently: the team received an E-Team grant in 2009, attended the 2010 March Madness for the Mind showcase of student innovation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and this week was announced a finalist in this year's BMEidea competition (see story below).
This month, Onebreath and its inventor Matthew Callaghan received further recognition when it was named as a Popular Science 2010 Invention Award winner. Read the story!
Diverticulitis is a disease characterized by the acute inflammation of a diverticulum (mucosal outpouching) of the colon. It’s accompanied by intense lower abdominal pain and requires emergency treatment, often involving hospitalization, with about 25% of these patients going on to have recurring attacks. The only treatment available to prevent recurrent attacks is colon resection, but many patients at risk for recurrence of diverticulitis are not surgical candidates due to advanced age or co-morbidities.
This E-Team is developing a device to address the clinical need of preventing recurrence of diverticulitis in a less invasive manner than elective colon resection. The device, an endoscopic RF ablation balloon catheter, will apply RF energy locally to the diverticular tissue, inducing a fibrotic response similar to that utilized by BARRX Medical in treating Barrett’s esophagus. The goal is to target diverticula for treatment while preserving healthy colon tissue.
The target market is relatively open (they’ve talked with several experts), with no prior minimally invasive methods or competitors that have successfully prevented recurrence of diverticulitis.
If left untreated, neonatal jaundice can cause kernicterus, a form of brain damage with complications including deafness, cerebral palsy, and death. In the US, phototherapy treatment (shining wavelength-specific light on the baby) has virtually eliminated kernicterus, but in developing countries like India only a small segment of the population has access to effective treatment.
In order to improve patient access to neonatal jaundice treatment in rural Indian clinics, this team - working with the non-profit technology incubator, Design Revolution - is developing a low cost, low maintenance opto-medical device. Instead of using fluorescent tube or compact fluorescent bulbs, the team’s device uses more efficient, high-intensity blue LEDs that can be supported by a battery backup.
Brilliance in India: New deal allows Bay-area firm to fight neonatal jaundice in rural India - Fast Company (Jan 2011)
September 2012: Brilliance is on the market in India and they are looking to expand to East Africa. The team estimates that 13 babies per device per month will get treatment in urban hospitals, which means lives saved and brain damage averted.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women in the US and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection leads to early treatment and improved patient outcome. Breast Self-Exams (BSE) aid early discovery of the disease, but only 29% of women regularly conduct the exam. Part of the reason for this low percentage is that health care providers do not have a standardized method for teaching breast examination skills.
In response to this lack of uniformity, the Brest Examination Simulator E-Team developed training tools to simulate breast exams and teach the proper procedure. The team created computerized, strap-on breast models for teaching patients how to perform breast self-exams and plated breast models for teaching medical students, residents, nursing students, and physician assistants to perform clinical exams. Each model simulates various conditions, including normal and pathologic. Both models contain electronic sensors to communicate users' movements to a computer screen as they examine the models. The computer data provides individualized performance evaluations and helps define the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of an adequate clinical exam, thereby standardizing the method. Model development is based on the E-pelvis simulator, which one of the E-Team members designed.
The E-Team consisted of a business graduate student and two research associates, one with the Stanford University Medical Media and Information Technology Department and the other with the Department of Surgery. They worked with the owner of a hardware and software development company, a professor from the School of Medicine, and the president of Mentice Medical Stimulation AB, a simulator company.
According to research and marketing firm CyberEdge, the virtual reality market was valued at $24 billion in 2000 and is expected to grown by more than 50% each year this decade. To be a part of that growth, this E-Team from Stanford University developed a Cheap Haptic Interface (CHI) system that provided a cheap technology for a multitude of uses.
A haptic interface is a design technique that allows people to use their sense of touch to interact with remote or virtual environments on computers. The user of this type of system can "touch" objects simulated on a personal computer by interacting in real life with motors, like small robots, or other physical devices. By grasping one of the limbs of the robot, the user can exchange information with the PC and move the position of objects in the interface. The technology has several potential applications, such as making computers more accessible for people with disabilities, training people for tasks requiring hand-eye coordination (such as surgery), and playing games.
Shoes should be replaced when they can no longer provide adequate cushioning; using a shoe beyond its useful life greatly increases the user's risk of impact-related injuries. The Impact Indicator, developed by this Stanford University E-Team, is incorporated into a shoe and monitors use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The concept is similar to that of the Oral-B Indicator found on toothbrushes, but for running shoes.
The indicator system consists of mechanical hardware, and electronics and software, which reside on a microprocessor. A signal is produced when the user's foot compresses the cushioning mechanism in the sole of the shoe with each step. Runners and other active persons who rely on their shoe equipment to be in top shape can use this product to ensure they are using a safe shoe. The team filed for an international patent and researched a sticker-sized version of the product for distribution directly to the consumer.
A running shoe exceeds its useful life and should be replaced when it no longer provides adequate cushioning. One of the major problems runners have is impact-related injury due to worn out shoes. The IMPACT Indicator is a monitor incorporated into a shoe that calculates the use of the shoe and displays its remaining life. The IMPACT Indicator prevents impact-related injuries that arise from using a shoe after it has worn out. The current model uses sensors on the toe and heel of the shoe, and a touch of a button indicates how much life is left in the shoe.
Both the consumer and the manufacturer benefit from the Indicator. The device can help reduce the number of injuries to runners and encourage consumers to purchase more shoes. The athletic shoe market is $14.7 billion annually, with the running shoe market comprising 16%.
The E-Team includes a graduate Product Design student at Stanford and an MBA student at the University of Texas at Austin. The team has support from a Product Design faculty member and two industry mentors, including a board certified sports medicine doctor.
In 2002, the NCIIA funded a Stanford University E-Team to develop a new device for harvesting marrow - the MarrowMiner. As the company StemCor Systems, the team has moved the MarrowMiner into clinical trials.
Biliary colic is a condition in which a gallstone becomes lodged at the gallbladder outlet, and, if left untreated, can cause severe and life-threatening infections. The most common treatment for this disease is surgical removal of the gallbladder, but due to a high risk of complications in the elderly and critically ill, surgery is not a viable option for over 200,000 patients per year. Instead, they're treated with conservative management, which is often unsuccessful. This E-Team is looking to develop a safe and effective alternative for these patients, as well as the large numbers of patients in developing countries where surgery isn’t an option. Since the gallbladder in patients with stones is actually normal and the stones are harmless provided they are kept away from the outlet, the team has developed a novel stainless steel filter device to prevent stones from reaching the outlet. The filter is delivered through a catheter and expands after deployment. Radial force holds the filter in place. The geometry of the filter prevents stones larger than two millimeters from passing.