Nine inventors were permitted just three PowerPoint slides in a five-minute pitch at the University of Minnesota's annual Design of Medical Devices conference. Three got honors.
After a round of presentations that seemed like speed-dating for inventors, three promising inventions were honored at the University of Minnesota's annual Design of Medical Devices conference this week.
Nine inventors were permitted just three PowerPoint slides in a pressure-filled five-minute pitch Tuesday to a panel of experts, including venture capitalists and medical device investors, an engineer and doctors. Once their quick-hit offering was completed, the panel and the inquisitive audience lobbed questions at the inventors. A few presenters appeared stumped by certain questions, but most queries made textbook sense.
Have you filed for a patent? What's your competition? Is the device regulated by the Food and Drug Administration? What are your production costs?
Some of the inventions were deceptively simple, such as a stand to help infirm people stand up from a sitting position. Others were a bit more difficult for the layman to understand. Consider: A "Compliant Steerable Arthroscopic Punch."
The presenters were, for the most part, polished, freshly combed and somewhat practiced. At least two traveled from as far away as the Netherlands.
According to Marie Johnson, director of the University of Minnesota's Medical Device Fellows Program, this is the second year the "Three-in-Five" competition has been held at the U conference. "It's a great way for researchers to get immediate feedback from experts," she said. "It's also a lot of fun."
The three winners: An "Articulating Tool for Endoscopic Screw Delivery" -- a surgical tool to help place screws inside the thoracic cavity -- presented by Joseph Petrzelka, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; an "Endoscope Lens Shielding Device for Use in Laparoscopic Procedures" -- which makes it easier for doctors to navigate during surgery -- presented by Sterling Anderson, also from MIT; and "Adult Male Circumcision Tool for Use in Traditional Ceremonies" -- a disposable cage that fits over the tip of the penis in tribal circumcision ceremonies that also helps prevent HIV/AIDS -- presented by Kathleen Sienko from the University of Michigan.
Each winner was awarded $500 -- and some valuable advice, as well.
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752