The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has recently issued prizes in the annual Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Awards (BMEIdea). The contest is designed to motivate young biomedical engineers to design new products that might eventually by commercialized, something the graduates will have to deal with once in the industry. The first place was awarded to a team from Stanford University that developed a “Lab-on-a-Stick” device that can quickly screen for a variety of disease markers.
Lab-on-a-Stick uses Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) devices to detect virtually any infectious disease—from HIV/AIDS to Hepatitis C to tuberculosis—in a rapid wash-free format. Patients in need of a rapid diagnosis (results are available in an average of fifteen minutes) need only to swab the insides of their cheeks with a disposable “stick,” pre-treated with assorted protein receptors, and scan that stick with the handheld GMR device. This cost-effective technology addresses the need for more accessible nanotechnology diagnostics outside the laboratory, and seeks to replace the need for diagnostic labs completely.
Second place prize was given to a team from the University of Cincinnati for the SurgiSIL, a device designed to allow single hole laparoscopic surgeries through the navel.
The SurgiSIL accommodates multiple instruments through one working channel while still providing increased access within the abdominal cavity. Ease of use is further characterized by a simple insertion technique, yet another benefit not offered by current single port products. The SurgiSIL answers the challenges of single port surgery and ultimately presents an improved option for patient care by decreasing trauma, recovery time, and risk for herniation, which is a painful and costly corrective procedure. The end result to the patient is a hidden scar within the belly button. The SurgiSIL redefines the single port approach, enabling surgeons to meet the demands for improved patient care.
And the third place winner was a group from Brown University that created a biosensor to detect the presence of vitamin D in blood’s serum.
The Brown University team has proposed a method of measuring vitamin D using electrochemical detection technology similar to a commercial glucose meter. The affordable, hand-held device will use a disposable testing strip inserted into the device along with a sub-microliter blood sample, which will be analyzed for levels of vitamin D present. Results will be displayed qualitatively and quantitatively on a liquid crystal display almost instantly.