Georgia Tech team wins Rice360 Design Competition

This article was originally published on Rice news, to view the original, click here. Written by: Carrie Noxon.

Global health technologies design contest attracted 27 teams from six countries

Heartone, a low-cost fetal heart monitor designed by Georgia Tech undergraduates, captured first place in the Rice360 Institute for Global Health Technologies2022 Global Health Technologies Design Competition March 25.

Georgia Tech’s Team Baby Beatz, (from left) Lydia El-Sayegh, Carina D'Angelo, Kadidia Haidara, Deborah Lobaccaro and Madeleine Tincher, took first place in Rice360 Institute for Global Health Technologies’ 2022 Global Health Technologies Design Competition.The international competition is in its 12th year and features low-cost technologies designed to address global health challenges in resource-limited settings. The contest drew 27 teams from six countries: Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the United States.

Heartone, a smartphone app, was designed by Team Baby Beatz to work with a Pinard horn, a widely used type of stethoscope for monitoring fetal heartbeat that was designed in the 18th century. The app offers a visual interface and low-cost data tracking and is designed to work in locations without reliable electricity or internet service. Baby Beatz team members Carina D'Angelo, Lydia El-Sayegh, Kadidia Haidara, Deborah Lobaccaro, and Madeleine Tincher were advised by Kelsey Kubelick and James Stubbs.

“Electronic fetal heart monitors used in high-income settings are not suitable for settings with unreliable power and minimal access to replacement parts,” said El-Sayegh, a biomedical engineering major. “We adapted our design to use readily available resources.” Baby Beatz was one of three finalists to present its projects to judges in the competition’s virtual program.

Team EquinOx, a finalist from Johns Hopkins University, took second place for its design to address health equity in blood-oxygen monitoring. Commercially available pulse oximeters have limited ability to detect low blood-oxygen levels, or hypoxemia, in patients with dark skin. Team EquinOx members Vivek Chari, Clara Cho, Janice Lin, Rahul Swaminathan, Valerie Wong, Jerry Zhang, Yuqi Zhang and Stanley Zhu designed an oximeter to overcome those limitations. They were advised by Jad Farha, Ashraf Fawzy, Elizabeth Logsdon and Dema Shumeyko.

Third-place honors went to University of Pennsylvania finalist Team Modulo Prosthetics, which designed a haptic, low-cost thumb prosthetic. Thumb amputations account for about 20% of all partial hand amputations and 40% of loss in hand function. Team members Alisha Agarwal, Michelle Kwon, Gary Lin, Ian Ong and Zachary Spalding were advised by Michael Hast, Prathusha Maduri, Sevile Mannickarottu, David Meaney and Michael Siedlik.

Team Chrysalis, also from the University of Pennsylvania, garnered most of the competition’s 4,800 online votes and won the People’s Choice Award for its design of a swaddle that helps newborns suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition of withdrawal from fetal drug exposure. Team members Julia Dunn, Rachel Gu, Julia Lasater and Carolyn Zhang were advised by Sevile Mannickarottu, Molly May-Decock, David Meaney and Michael Siedlik.

“We are encouraged and inspired by this passionate community of resilient problem solvers who have continued to innovate toward equity in global health despite persistent challenges,” said Ashley Taylor, Rice360’s director of education.

The program included presentation of the 2022 Rice360 Innovation and Leadership in Global Health Award to neonatologist Anne Hansen, medical director of neonatal intensive care and associate chief of newborn medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. In her keynote address, Hansen stressed the importance of designing for low-resource settings and discussed her work developing and testing Dream Warmer, a low-cost newborn warming mattress that does not require electricity. Competition sponsors included the Stephen W. Ley Family Endowment for Global Health and the Mehta Family Foundation.

– Carrie Noxon is a technical writer at the Rice360 Institute for Global Health.