The current gold standard treatment for forearm fractures includes a period of full immobilization of the site of injury (typically six to eight weeks) followed by routine physical therapy to regain muscle strength and range of motion. However, each year approximately 6.8 million Americans experience immobilization-induced muscle atrophy, which increases recovery time and vulnerability to further injuries.
This team’s solution is a modular cast design dubbed the PuzzleCast. It consists of several interlocking thermoplastic components that have the ability to unlock degrees of freedom while still maintaining immobilization of the injured area. By increasing range of motion during the healing process, blood flow is increased, muscle atrophy is reduced, and overall healing time and physical therapy are shortened.
This Phase I CCI will place chemistry at the center of research efforts to describe the molecular composition of the universe. The Center for Chemistry of the Universe will assemble a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary group of researchers to investigate and understand chemical processes in the interstellar medium. The chemistry occurring under the unique conditions of the interstellar medium produces the initial molecular starting materials for solar system formation. This chemistry, which produces a surprisingly rich set of common organic molecules along with more exotic reactive species, also supplies the molecules in meteorites and comets that may deliver the building blocks of life to young planets. Understanding this chemistry will require the development of high-speed broadband mm-wave spectrophotometers for chemical identification as well as new methods to probe chemical reactivity in cold gases and on surfaces.
The Center will establish connections between fields such as combustion chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and materials processing that share the theme of "chemistry under extreme conditions." The Center will provide a team-oriented, collaborative and multidisciplinary research environment for graduate student and postdoctoral researchers. Synergistic center activities capitalize on the broad appeal of the space sciences and include a summer undergraduate research program, a university-level general science course, new web materials for the general public and display materials for out-of-school time programs in science centers and museums.
The laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder, is one of the most frequent surgeries performed in the United States, with an estimated 922,000 performed annually. Although laparoscopic removal significantly decreases surgical risk and recovery time, difficulties can arise when removing a gallstone-ridden gallbladder through a twelve-millimeter port. An important step in the surgery occurs when the physician puts the gallbladder into a laparoscopic retrieval bag (endobag); gallstones bulge at the bottom of the bag and can become wedged in the removal site.
To solve the problem, this E-Team is designing an endobag that employs cross-linked synthetic fibers nestled between pieces of polyurethane to create a structure similar to a novelty finger trap. When the surgeon pulls up, the contents inside the endobag lineate (form lines) due to the resulting radial force, preventing bulging of the gallbladder during extraction. The device integrates with the current procedure and tools; no new techniques or equipment are necessary.
This E-Team developed a syringe disposal system for use by mass inoculation programs, particularly in the third world. Current disposal systems often do not protect users from accidental needle pricks, and the containers are too easy to open, resulting in dangerous reuse of needles. The container will be lightweight, puncture resistant, and very difficult to open once the needles are disposed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) would be the primary user of this technology. The long-term objective of the team is to form a company that will license or produce products that will improve healthcare safety worldwide.
The E-Team is made up of graduate and undergraduate students studying chemical engineering, engineering science, and biomedical engineering.
This E-Team designed, built and tested a fiber-reinforced plastic composite vehicle (car, truck) wheel. The wheel is substantially lighter than current metal wheels, resulting in improved performance and fuel economy.
Advancements in endoscopic technology have significantly widened the scope of possible procedures, going from being able to just look inside the body to being able stage cancer, drain pseudocysts and more. But, despite the success of endoscopic technology, doctors often have to remove one device and insert another one each time a new function is needed, whether it be electrocautery, stent deployment or fine needle aspiration. This E-Team is developing a new multifunctional endoscopic needle that will consolidate devices, ultimately reducing waste and procedure time. The team’s needle would be dynamic, allowing the physician to begin a procedure with a small diameter needle to locate and reach a lesion, then further explore or alleviate the lesion by increasing the needle diameter during the procedure. The internal diameter of the needle device would remain large enough to allow simultaneous use of other devices, such as a stent or cautery device, increasing the doctor’s procedural capacity without requiring the removal of the initial device.
This grant supports the expansion of an undergraduate course in biomedical design. The course engages undergraduate students in creative design before they reach their senior capstone course, encouraging students to develop and maintain their creativity while motivating further independent course-based learning. In the end, the course hopes to provide students with theoretical and practical design experience, an introduction to entrepreneurship in biomedical engineering, and an introduction to the discipline.
This project seeks to create a new type of senior thesis program at the University of Virginia. Currently, over the course of a nine-month period, engineering students write an individual thesis that identifies, analyzes and offers a solution to a specific technical challenge. With this project, UVA will move away from traditional (individual) research and toward multidisciplinary student collaboration by having E-Teams develop computer applications for use in the medical field. In liaison with the university's school of medicine, each team will identify a medical need, suggest a solution, devise and test a prototype and follow the development cycle through to commercial viability.
Four E-Teams (each with three members) will be created during the first two years. Thereafter, it is assumed that more seniors from the annual pool of 450 individuals will join E-Teams; they will be selected on a competitive basis.
Millions of people are diagnosed with life-threatening allergies each year, and in extreme cases these allergies can cause a deadly anaphylactic response. To combat anaphylaxis in an emergency situation, allergic individuals carry a life-saving injectable dose of epinephrine; however, epinephrine injectors currently on the market are too bulky and a hassle to carry, and as a result less than half the people who should carry an injector on them at all times actually do so. To answer this problem, the EpiCard E-Team, now formally incorporated as Intelliject, Inc., has invented an automatic epinephrine injecting system that is credit-card sized and easy to use. The EpiCard can be carried almost anywhere -- in the user's purse, wallet, or pocket -- and is efficient and safe.
The Virginia-based company has now received nearly $13 million in funding from various sources. Visit intelliject.com for more information.
In 2009, Intelliject announced an exclusive license worth $230 million with Sanofi-aventis U.S. for a novel epinephrine auto-injector, in the U.S. and Canada territory. Under the license, Sanofi-aventis U.S. shall be responsible for manufacturing and commercialization. Intelliject will be responsible for the on-going development and for obtaining U.S. regulatory approval and has retained certain co-promotion rights in the territory.
Approximately 40,000 patients per year that suffer from pancreatico-biliary disease receive Self-Expanding Metal Stents (SEMS) to alleviate pain. SEMS placement is normally a 30-60 minute outpatient procedure that involves passing an endoscope through the patient's mouth and navigating through the stomach to the entrance of the biliary duct. The insertion procedure can be complicated, however, and the stent can be easily misplaced, leading to infection, morbidity, and hospital admission.
This E-Team is developing a device to help make SEMS procedures easier. The device is an after-market addition to the existing SEMS catheter that acts like a shock absorber, slowing any sudden increases in insertional speed and giving the technician enough time to retract the inner catheter before SEMS misplacement occurs.
This E-Team is developing a device to treat uterine atony, the failure of the uterus to contract after a c-section birth, which can lead to excessive blood loss, hysterectomy and (sometimes) death. While there are a wide array of treatments for uterine atony (manual stimulation, drug therapy, surgery, medical devices), they aren't particularly effective and their cost and complexity often precludes their use outside western hospitals. The team's simple mechanical device is a clamp that simulates manual stimulation more effectively by compressing the uterus, suppressing hemorrhaging. The clamp clicks into one of three settings, each corresponding to different levels of pressure.
EcoMOD is an ongoing green building project at the University of Virginia in which architecture and engineering students construct affordable, modular homes that use 30-50% less energy than similar houses. They’ve built five houses so far, funded by a variety of non-profits, corporations and the EPA. The first house, ecoMOD1, has an extensive monitoring system in place to gather data on energy and water usage. While the system works well, it’s far too expensive to be a commercial energy-monitoring product and hasn’t been replicated in the other ecoMOD homes.
The team is now developing a commercial version: a low-cost, freeware, wireless home energy monitoring system that provides real-time feedback on energy use (electricity consumption of major appliances, water consumption, indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, and carbon dioxide emissions), has the capability to adjust thermostat and ventilation settings based on whether the residents are home, and enables peak load shedding of selected appliances based on price signals from the utility. It consists of microcontrollers ranged around the house, a base station, and a web interface.
The proposal requests funding for the development of a commercial prototype of a composite auto wheel and a proprietary process for producing it. The project seems feasible and well thought out. There is ample commercial potential if it is well executed and the students involved appear to have the appropriate background and skills to carry it out. The proposal has strong support for the advisor who advises a number of E-Teams.The budget request is appropriate and the proposal is well written presenting a clear work plan and time line.A total of $19,718 is requested for:Equipment: $1,799Internships: $4,500IP: $2,300Travel: $500Supplies, etc.: $10,619
Through participating in E-Teams in the Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia, students study the invention process and learn how to create environmentally conscious designs and products. With this NCIIA grant, the course modules were altered to incorporate hands-on innovation. The objective was to provide students with enough financial and development support to make significant progress toward patenting and marketing new technologies that both make a profit and make the world a better place to live. This course has generated several Advanced E-Teams, including the Soil Aeration E-Team and the Inventor's Toolkit E-Team. Professor Gorman also works with the Solar Airship E-Team.
In areas where organic waste products have accumulated in excess, the oxygen in the soil is often depleted. When this occurs the soil becomes anaerobic and waste material degrades very slowly, and can prove to be toxic. This E-Team has created and refined a new windmill design intended to aerate anaerobic soils, thereby restoring artificially anoxic environments. Applications for soil re-aeration with the compact, inexpensive windmill are rejuvenating coastal dredging lands, constructed wetlands, and landfills. The market envisioned for this aeration system includes private property and government restoration projects.
During the grant period, the team is completing a patent application, and field-testing prototypes with several potential customers at sites around the country. The Soil Aeration E-Team originated in Professor Michael Gorman's Invention and Design course at the University of Virginia.