The BMEIdea competition, like a medical device nerd’s Christmas, is an annual event that gifts us with innovative and exciting inventions. It’s been hosted by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) since 2004. The competition pairs university students with academic and industry mentors to solve clinical problems with designs that must be practical and have potential for commercialization.
This year’s first place winner, receiving $10,000, is the team from the University Of Michigan with their device Magneto: Magnetic Induction Internal Bleed Detector. The device is designed to detect femoral artery bleeding following a catheterization procedure. Post-catheterization bleeding is a major issue in the world of interventional procedures. Concern for post-catheterization bleeds sometimes requires extensive observation. If not immediately obvious, the bleed is sometimes caught at a late stage requiring blood transfusions, CT scans, or other costly interventions. The Magneto detector uses magnetic induction technology to detect a femoral artery bleed at an early stage, where simply applying pressure is still a viable intervention. What isn’t specified in the press release is whether this device can detect a more proximal bleed into the retroperitoneal space, which is a notoriously difficult problem to detect and not an easy fix. While probably not a panacea to post-catheterization bleeding, this device appears to be a step in the right direction. Nice work Michigan.
The second place $2,500 award went to Stanford (disclosure: this author is a Cal graduate), for their Oculeve implantable device to treat chronic dry eyes (or xerophthalmia if you want to impress people at a cocktail party). A dry eye can be anything from a minor annoyance to causing major visual impairment. This is due to the fact that without adequate hydration, the cornea becomes opaque to visible light. The Oculeve device is an implantable electric stimulator that is inserted in a procedure into the lacrymal gland, which per the team, increases tear production to a near-normal level.
Finally the $1,000 third place prize went to Purdue University for their OSMOSE wound care system. This system, using a proprietary nanotechnology, reportedly has antimicrobial activity against a broad-spectrum of bacteria (including antibiotic resistant strains), promotes wound healing and is low cost. Wounds and wound infections are still significant and costly clinical issues, so we hope that this system works out well.
Full story: 2011 BMEidea winners announced!