At the first annual Health Innovation Challenge held on March 3, three of 18 participating interdisciplinary teams contained electrical engineering students. Congratulations to teams Walk n’ Roll, OstomyTech and Appropriate Solutions for being selected to participate in the selective tradeshow-style competition, where students pitched their innovative projects.
Hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Health Innovation Challenge joins two other long-running innovation competitions, the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge and the UW Business Plan Competition.
“The experience of the event was amazingly beneficial in both our technical development and professionalism. It was fascinating to see that people around our age are making huge steps to improve the healthcare space,” said EE undergraduate Kevin Fukuhara.
The OstomyTech team includes EE undergraduates Kevin Fukuhara and Saket Potluri. Their team is working to develop a mobile health app that will facilitate the production of pre-cut, individualized wafers to improve comfort for patients with ostomies, which is a surgical opening made in the stomach to allow waste products to leave the body. To secure an ostomy bag, a rubber connector, or wafer, must be used. If the wafer is too large or small, it will either leak or be too constricted. To overcome this problem, the team proposes creating customized wafers using 3D scanners. The team has doctor support from both Harborview and the Medical Center at the University of Arizona, which has volunteered to host the first patient trials.
Walk n’ Roll
The Walk n’ Roll team includes EE graduate student Sang Sagong and undergraduate Kirsten Winter. Their team is working to improve the functionality of the traditional four-wheeled rollator walker by adding components designed to curtail the most common situations that lead to falls. Their prototype features an improved braking and speed control system, an improved suspension system, structure that supports good ergonomic posture, and convenience in aesthetics and design. An electric braking system with an intuitive locking mechanism will minimize falls and allow for speed control by adding resistance when the user reaches a certain speed or is on a slope.