Anemia is a chronic disability caused by a reduction in healthy red blood cells and affects an estimated 1.62 billion people worldwide, or about a third of the world’s population. Current means of anemia diagnosis are not well suited to rural areas of the developing world: standard electric centrifuges are dependent on sporadic power, and, should they need to be repaired, require specialized parts and mechanical expertise. Other solutions, such as rapid diagnostic strips and blood smears, frequently come solely from donations and are single-use.
This team is looking to fill the need for long-term, sustainable anemia diagnosis with CentriCycle, a hand-powered centrifuge made out of bicycle parts. The team has developed a prototype and business plan and is currently working to complete proof-of-concept testing and on-location field testing in India, its initial target market.
Electrical stimulation of the retina to treat blindness is an effective method to provide vision while parallel research progresses on providing a cure. However, this therapy is restricted since current electrode technology doesn’t conform to the back of the eye; gaps between the electrodes and the retina require greater stimulation potentials that can actually cause reduced visual acuity.
This team is developing SynapTech, a neural interface technology that will enable precise integration of the electrode with the retina, allowing minimal stimulating potentials, greater electrode density and enhanced vision. The team’s novel design consists of an array of moveable electrodes with micron-level precision.
Ascites is a condition in which fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity, most commonly from cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Patients suffering from ascites can initially be managed with diuretics and by restricting salt in their diet, but over time they need increasing doses of medication and eventually become non-responsive to treatment. Only a few patients with end-stage liver disease receive liver transplants; the vast majority of patients have to live with a significant amount of fluid in their abdomen, requiring a trip to the hospital for drainage every 2-4 weeks which clearly affects a patient’s quality of life. This E-Team is developing a novel technology aimed at managing patients with ascites at home in order to prevent frequent hospital visits.
Despite the indisputable need for the development of renewable energy sources, the current options for renewable fuel (ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, methane, and hydrogen) are heavily based on food crops. One promising option is cellulosic biofuels, which have the potential to replace 30% of current demand for transportation fuels. However, the decomposition of cellulosic biomass presents a formidable challenge that requires costly, energy-intensive and environmentally detrimental pretreatment steps.
This team is researching the viability of duckweed, a tiny, stem-less monocot plant that grows on the surface of ponds, as a cellulosic biofuel. Duckweed has a 2-3 day doubling time, utilizes non-arable land, can grow all year round and does not require extensive biomass pretreatment for biofuel production.
Lifting injuries affect hundreds of thousands of workers each year. Injuries arise partly due to lack of training and partly due to situations in which workers lift heavy loads for extended periods of time. The effects of these injuries are costly, with $50 billion per year paid out in worker’s compensation.
This team is developing the Strong Arm, a form-fitting garment that incorporates a unique system of load-bearing straps that allows workers to lift heavy objects more easily and with significantly less risk of injury. Essentially, the system shifts the forces of lifting from the injury-prone hands, arms, neck, shoulders and lower back and distributes them evenly to stronger and more stable areas of the torso.
A University of Virginia team developing PuzzleCast, a modular cast that treats broken arms by allowing an increasing range of motion to the damaged limb over the healing period.
A team from North Carolina State University developing 'Light Detection and Radiation' (LiDAR), a laser-based system that can be used by remotely operated vehicles to map underwater terrain in real-time.
A new program at UC San Diego, mystartupXX, (named for the female chromosome) aims to increase the number of women entrepreneurs by targeting female students for invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) of the deep veins is a disease in which patients suffer from poor circulation in their lower extremities due to non-functional valves. Over the long-term this condition can lead to varicose veins, skin discoloration, leg pain and debilitating leg ulcers. Currently, severe symptoms due to CVI develop in over six million Americans annually; this number is expected to rise as the population ages and obesity becomes more prevalent.
The typical treatment for CVI—a combination of compression stockings and wound care—has extremely poor compliance rates. Open surgical valve repair is rarely used because of its highly invasive nature.
This team is developing a minimally invasive, catheter-based solution for deep vein CVI. The catheter is inserted into the patient’s venous system and advanced to the incompetent vein, where the physician then actuates the catheter to form a version of a natural vein valve. Once the valve is created, blood flows upward freely past the new valve, and at the end of the pumping cycle, blood fills the newly created sinus pocket, causing the flap to close against the vein wall and creating a temporary watertight seal. In this way, vein competency is permanently restored without the need for an implant or invasive surgery.
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment for patients with severe chronic kidney disease. The process uses the patient's peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances are exchanged from the blood. Fluid is introduced through a permanent tube in the abdomen and flushed out either every night while the patient sleeps or via regular exchanges throughout the day. PD is used as an alternative to hemodialysis, with the primary advantage being the ability to undertake treatment without visiting a medical facility. The primary complication with PD is the patients’ failure to adhere to the complex protocol. This complicated protocol exists in order to ensure proper transfer of fluids while reducing side effects and complications.
The PuraCath Medical device can simplify the procedure and enhance quality of life of patients. The device is an innovative, self-contained PD catheter that doesn't rely on patient compliance.