SALT LAKE CITY, April 14 (UPI) -- Twelve student teams from the University of Utah were awarded more than $70,000 in prize money for inventing innovative medical devices to improve patient care or reduce pain.
The Bench-to-Bedside program combines medical students, engineering students and business students into teams that produce “start-up” companies to identify and solve an unmet medical need. The student teams are mentored by more than 100 University of Utah physicians.
The teams had six months and $500 to do their research, evaluate the intellectual property, make a prototype and write a business plan.
“In a world driven by healthcare innovation, Bench-to-Bedside gives completely inexperienced students an opportunity to form a dynamic team composed of business, engineering and medical students centered on a medical problem," Patrick Loftus, a University of Utah medical student and student president of Bench-to-Bedside, said in a statement.
"There is currently no better opportunity for a student to prototype a product, develop a company, file a patent and receive national attention -- all within a year."
The grand prize winning team developed an anti-infective intraocular -- into the eye -- needle, which reduces the risk of infection. Intraocular injections often result in infections, which can lead to blindness or eye loss. The anti-infective intraocular needle reduces intraocular infection.
Other winners included: a cost-effective screening tool to detect vascular leak in the eye, a smartphone app and software to improve the hospital discharge process, and an otoscope -- instrument to examine the ear canal and ear drum -- design, which allows healthcare providers to measure temperature, examine the ear canal and extract debris while maintaining an unobstructed view of the ear canal simultaneously.
[University of Utah]