2017 Challenge Summaries

Theme: Surgery & Recovery


pH monitor in the distal esophagus

Gastric reflux is a common complication of anesthesia in small animals. Since it is relatively undetectable, we typically learn about it when spotting reflux in the oral cavity. In extreme cases we find out when serious damage has been done to the esophagus, leading to patient death. Can you develop a technology that piggy-backs onto the devices already used to monitor patient vitals during anesthesia, capable of measuring pH levels?

Arm Safety

It is crucial to appropriately tuck the patient's arms to minimize nerve entrapment and soft tissue injuries that can occur during prolonged procedures. Can you create an apparatus to tuck the patient’s arm effectively to reduce post-operative problems, allow the anaesthesiologist appropriate access to intravenous lines/oxygen saturation probes, and at the same time be comfortable for the surgeon’s work space?

Wire disorganization

There are multiple wires involved in laparoscopic surgery that are sometimes difficult to keep adequate control of, and that are often prone to falling out of the sterile field, especially when the patient position needs to be changed. Can you create some sort of pouch/device to keep these wires together to protect them during surgery and not interfere with the surgeon’s work field?

Synoptic Obstetrical Delivery Reports

In obstetrics and gynecology, its commonly a challenge being able to consolidate information from various sources together before C- sections are performed. Can you design an application able to consolidate relevant information for the surgeon before they perform a C-section?

Patient Positioner

To determine appropriate femur implant sizes for canines, the anesthetized animal typically needs to be scanned at a very specific sitting position. Moving the animal to this position can be very taxing for healthcare professionals, as dogs in this surgery can range from 20- 60 kg. Can you design and build a positioning device that a sedated dog could be strapped into, which then assists the surgeon in moving the animal’s limbs to a sitting position?

Christmas tree lock

As a result of many types of surgeries, chest tubes are used to drain blood, fluid or air from the lungs, heart or esophagus. In veterinary medicine, multiple tube sizes are used (depending on the size of the patient), resulting in imperfect connections to the christmas tree adaptor. Can you build a christmas tree adaptor able to connect to a variety of tube sizes?

Active Bone and Cartilage Storage

Bone and cartilage transplants are statically stored at 4°C. Cells might live longer, or transplant better, if the storage environment better simulates the loading conditions cells naturally experience. Can you build storage container to able to actively load tissue?

A better IV pole

After an operation, patients have poles which hold Intravenous (IV) and other drainage tubes. These get tangled with other cords, pose a tripping hazard and need to stay attached. Can you make a safer, more mobile and easier to use IV pole?

Bone Drilling Depth Gauge

Hand fractures are repaired using bone screws. Choosing screw length depends on a depth measurement, but current depth gauges can be counter-intuitive, hard-to-use and ineffective. Can you build a more effective, accurate, and user friendly bone depth gauge?

Ligament Repair Radiographic Localizer

Knee surgery involves drilling prior to re-attaching ligaments. Drilling the right location can be challenging, even with a guide-pin. Can you build a device to help locate the drill position from a single x-ray image?

Surgical lamp for developing countries

Surgical lamps are unavailable and expensive, need bulb replacement and don’t work in a power outage. Batteries, LEDs, super-capacitors and lenses are becoming cheaper. Can you make a low-cost, portable surgical lamp?

Bullet based medication delivery

Administering medicine to wild populations stresses the animal. Tranquilizer darts make anesthetic delivery easier, but have limited distance and accuracy. Can you build a better bio-bullet to replace the need to use darts?

Patient heating during surgery

Anesthesiologists make sure their patient’s body temperatures are optimal to prevent intraoperative hypothermia, by using plastic sheet filled with warm air. The inflating and heating device is a safety risk for staff and the sheets can limit surgical access. Can you design an improved method to heat patient’s during surgery?

Seizure prediction using machine learning

Recently, novel 3D electrodes have been developed for detecting neural activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. These electrodes could predict a seizure before it happens. Can you build a machine learning algorithm to predict the occurrence of a seizure from brain activity recordings?

Patient guide app for their orthopedic surgery

Currently, surgeons are expected to prepare, dispense and monitor information given to patients before and after a musculoskeletal surgery. Understanding, retention and application of this information is difficult for patients, results in poor resource use, poor recovery outcomes, patient stress and other problems. Can you design an app to support, guide and inform patients through the surgical experience?

Dynamic ankle manipulator for CT scans

Quantifying joint mechanics of the ankle is useful for different scientific and clinical evaluations. No system exists to control ankle joint rotation during dynamic CT scans. Can you build a system to precisely manipulate ankle motion in a CT scanner?