There are over 1.5 million spinal fusion surgeries performed annually worldwide. Bone grafting is the standard practice in orthopedic medicine to foster restoration and healing of the spine in addition to providing structural and biological support. The current gold standard for graft materials is the autologous bone graft, which uses cancellous bone from the patient’s own hip (clinically termed the iliac crest bone graft or ICBG). ICBG produces the best results, but it must be extracted through an invasive procedure that is cumbersome for the surgeon and painful for the patient. There is currently no specialized device designed to extract sufficient volumes of ICBG for spinal surgery without high risk to the patient.
This team’s goal is to dramatically improve the procedure for extracting ICBG. The device will be minimally invasive, will standardize the harvesting procedure, and will allow for safe extraction of large volumes of ICBG. This will increase spinal fusion success rates while reducing patient morbidity, surgical time, and healthcare expenditures.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the second most common type of healthcare-associated infection in the US. VAP occurs when bacteria form on endotracheal tubes and invade the lungs, resulting in over $10 billion in unnecessary hospital expenses and almost 36,000 deaths annually.
Currently, only two methods are used to combat VAP: sterilization and antibiotics. Sterilizing medical tubes rids the surface of transmissible pathogenic agents, but over half of all endotracheal tubes are exposed to bacteria even before being inserted, with some adhering irreversibly to the tube surface. The second technique is administering antibiotics to patients, but this has not shown satisfactory results due to bacteria’s inherent resistance to antibiotics.
This team is developing nano-TEC, a proprietary antibacterial coating that is effective in preventing bacteria formation on endotracheal tubes. In bench tests their solution is six times more effective and costs substantially less than the only other antibacterial coating products on the market.
Remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) utilize vision-based systems—cameras—for providing user feedback. But vision-based systems are inherently limited underwater simply by the distance that light can travel; light backscatters in water, creating hot spots and otherwise noisy images. The alternative solution for many of these problems is sonar, which provides clear 3D images of the seafloor, allowing ROV operators much more detailed and larger maps. However, sonar can be prohibitively expensive, costing up to ten times more than cameras.
The WolfTracks team is developing a mid-range solution between cameras and sonar. WolfTracks uses Light Detection and Radiation (LiDAR), a laser-based system, to map the underwater terrain in real-time. Wolftracks will cost less and have a larger scanning distance and lower power output than traditional low-end sonar solutions, dramatically expanding the range of uses and expanding the market for scanning, mapping, search and rescue, and other applications.
Each year, nearly 600,000 women die worldwide as a result of complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. In South Asia, barely 50% of women have access to antenatal care, and as a result millions of women over the years have died avoidable deaths.
This team is developing a kit consisting of rapid and cost-effective point-of-care tests to screen expectant mothers for various readily treatable diseases and health problems that can lead to complications during pregnancy. The kit contains different marker pens pre-filled with reagents and a special booklet. A simple mark on a piece of paper by the test pen creates a dipstick for urine, and results in an easily read color change, telling the healthcare worker if action is needed. The kit provides a 10 to 100 fold cost reduction in the cost of tests and longer shelf life for reagents in challenging environments.
The team is partnered with Jhpiego, a leading global NGO in maternal/child healthcare, which will provide access to test populations and marketing strategy development assistance.
Masssachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010 - $16,650
In order to meet the needs of local communities in developing countries, NGOs, designers, governments, academics, and policy makers need comprehensive, accurate data. But existing data collection processes are time-intensive, costly, and ultimately extract information from communities without engaging the community members themselves in the analysis.
This team is developing mSurvey, a simple, accessible technology that uses text-messaging technology to survey communities through mobile phones in developing countries. The technology captures data in real-time from anyone with a mobile phone and pays each respondent with mobile funds. The survey’s model enables communities to reflect on the disseminated data results from each question asked, a unique feature absent from current survey methodologies in developing countries.
The team has already performed two pilot projects in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest slums in Africa for another team at MIT (Sustainable Vision grantees Sanergy). mSurvey reached out to over 360 community members in 2.5 hours, who texted their input to 25 questions about housing conditions, sanitation, and other demographic information.
From Popular Science to Voice of America, from new companies and products and the launch of the Global Innovation Initiative to our new student ambassadors, NCIIA and its grantees were news stories in 2010.
Submitted by NCIIA Guest on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 10:05
Over the past two years, the Endurance Rhythm team, an E-team out of Stanford University, has worked on patenting a micro-generator for electronic implants of the heart.
While in the phases of developing its technology for powering implantable medical devices, the team has launched a new startup company, Endurance Rhythm Inc, for its device.
“Although the grant has ended,” said project primary investigator Paul Wang, “The project is continuing. The grant helped demonstrate proof of principle and ready our project for investment/partnership, which we are continuing to very actively seek. The grant was incredibly helpful and an amazing help for our team.”
In his latest look at the year's coolest inventions, NPR's Guy Raz interviews Eben Bayer of Ecovative Design, a 2007 NCIIA E-Team. Listen to the interview or read the transcript... Some key takeways: Greensulate and Ecocradle perform as well as synthetic products, but require a fraction of the energy to produce; Greensulate and Ecocradle are formed from natural materials and processes (so, waste packaging should end up in your compost bin, not a landfill); while you could eat Greensulate, it wouldn't taste good.
Update: More kudos for Ecovative: 'One to watch' as noted by Popular Science.