Rice University


Rice University, 2010 - $18,000

Approximately two million babies die each year from acute respiratory infections (ARI), almost all in developing countries. Many neonatal ARI patients in the developing world do not receive proper treatment because hospitals can’t afford ventilators, which cost $6,000 on average.

To combat the problem, this E-Team, calling itself infantAIR, is developing BabyBubbles, a low cost ventilation system for use in developing countries. The device uses a continuous positive airway pressure system, which works by maintaining positive airway pressure during spontaneous breathing, increasing lung volume at the end of exhalation, preventing the collapse of the airway structure, and improving oxygenation. The device helps to keep a baby’s lungs fully inflated so he or she can breathe naturally.

The team is aiming to implement the device in Rwandan hospitals first, followed by worldwide dissemination.

Update: In the summer of 2012, the infantAir team won $2m in funding through the Gates Foundation.

David Mims - Rice University


November 2010

  • Idenitifed numerous student teams from Rice for NCIIA grants, and guided these teams through the process.
  • Driving collaboration between research labs, engineering schools and graduate business school.
  • Working on Entrepreneurship@Rice, a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs on camnpus to gain access to ideas, networks, resources and funding.
  • Planning an Invention to Venture for January 2011.



David received his Bachelor of Arts degree (1995) from Rice University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration degree (2011) at the Jones Graduate School of Business, also at Rice University. In addition to his academic pursuits, David is the President of the Jones Student Association, Vice-President of the Entrepreneurship Club, a frequent contributor to the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, and has received scholarships from the Jones Graduate School of Business, the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and the Greater Houston Business Ethics Roundtable.

Prior to returning to graduate school, David spent almost fifteen years in operations management and business development roles in financial publishing, IT, telecommunications, and legal services organizations. In 2002, David founded FullView Partners, an Electronic Discovery management and consulting firm that maintained clients in five states and employed up to 45 attorneys, legal, technical, and software development professionals. The firm’s business focused on a number of high-profile, federal criminal cases, and introduced significant innovation to the industry.

After completing his MBA, David plans to continue in leadership roles in start-up organizations that develop innovative business solutions and create sustainable employment opportunities, while serving the Rice University and Houston, Texas communities.
David's vision
Throughout my career in entre- and intra-preneurial roles, I have developed a passion for developing and delivering innovative solutions to businesses that create sustainable employment opportunities for the communities that I serve.  Rice University is a premier research institution, with vibrant science and business graduate and undergraduate communities, who have the enthusiasm to bring ideas to the marketplace.  My goal is to leverage the structure of the NCIIA program and existing services of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship to create a nexus of entrepreneurial activity at Rice that will accelerate the development of business opportunities for our broader constituencies.

Optimization of a Novel Device to Measure the Intrinsic Muscles of the Hand

Rice University, 2009 - $13,200

Testing a person’s intrinsic hand muscle strength (IMHS) is helpful in diagnosing a number of health problems, from arthritis to diabetes to nerve injuries. The manual muscle test (MMT) is the most common clinical test to assess IMHS, but tends toward low validity, poor reliability and inherent subjectivity. There are a few other devices on the market, but all demand extensive clinician involvement and/or fail to isolate the intrinsic muscles, leading to errors. This E-Team is developing the Peg Restrained Intrinsic Muscle Evaluator (PRIME), a device that can comfortably and accurately measure IMHS for a wide range of hand types and sizes. It consists of a pegboard base, a force transducer enclosure and a display unit.

Technology Commercialization in Developing Countries

Rice University, 2009 - $32,000

With the purpose of addressing the astounding rates at which children in developing countries die each year due to lack of access to health technologies (often due to ineffective and unsustainable distribution systems), the Rice Institute for Global Health Technologies and Graduate School of Management will create a new technology commercialization course. The new course will focus on bringing engineering students who have already designed new health technologies with MBA students to develop business plans for these technologies in low-resource settings. Students will receive field experience in a developing country to gather information and identify local entrepreneurs and partners, and will produce and implement businesses to disseminate their technologies in developing countries.

This program will build on the success of a past course in technology commercialization course offered in spring 2009. In the course, four teams of MBA students developed business plans for assigned health technologies (created by Rice engineering students). With private philanthropic support, the students traveled to Rwanda during spring break and met with government officials and potential consumers from hospitals and clinics with the purpose of determining market size, potential consumers, price points, and product marketability. The new course will allow engineering and MBA students to work closely together in an interdisciplinary educational experience. MBA students will travel to Rwanda again in spring 2010, expanding on the business plans of former teams and developing plans for new products.

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