The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering recently announced the winners in the three categories of the DEBUT challenge, a biomedical engineering design competition for teams of undergraduate students. The three categories focus on devices for diagnostics and therapeutics as well as technology that can aid underserved populations and individuals with disabilities.
According to the institute, the judging was based on four criteria: the significance of the problem, the impact on potential users, the originality of the design and the existence of a working prototype. Each winning team will receive $10,000, to be shared among team members. An awards ceremony will be held during the October 2012 annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) in Atlanta.
In the category of Diagnostic Devices the winning project was Q-Path: A Flow-Through High-Throughput Quantitative Histology Platform, submitted by a student team from the University of California Los Angeles. The project addressed the most common form of bladder cancer, transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), which is the fourth most common and ninth most deadly form of cancer in men.
QuickStitch – a surgical suturing device to improve fascia closure – was the winner in the category of Therapeutic Devices. The winning team was from Johns Hopkins University
In the category of Technology to Aid Underserved Populations and Individuals with Disabilities the winning project, Low-Cost Spirometer, addressed the lack of devices to measure lung function for the diagnosis and monitoring of respiratory diseases in the developing world. The winning team is from Washington University in St. Louis.
There were a total of 61 entries from 39 different universities with 284 students involved. For more information about the projects and the winners, go to: http://debut.challenge.gov/ Despite Minnesota's standing as a worldwide hub for medical techology, none of the teams in this year's competition hailed from here. There were nine teams from the Midwest.