The Innovative Senior Design program allows fourth-year undergraduate students the chance to witness how physicians work and learn what tools would make their jobs easier. They can then apply this knowledge to develop new technologies for their senior design projects, according to the University.
One student invented a device that would allow physicians to analyze tissue in the lab, therefore reducing the amount of time a patient has to wait for surgery and avoid the risk of further infection, according to the University.
Another project proposed replacing traditional operating room lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) technology, while several others proposed ways of modifying surgical tools to make them more durable and easier to use in crowded operating rooms.
The program was piloted last year as nine students took on three projects and seed funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to the University. Those projects focused on ways to reduce the amount of fat in a liver prior to transplant; ways to make nerve cells more visible during surgery; and promoting rehabilitation in people who suffered from stroke or injury.
This year, 25 students are tackling eight projects. Students are charged with creating a working prototype of their project, defining their market and making viable revenue forecasts, according to the University. Work can continue on incomplete projects next year, while CIVET staff will seek investors for projects completed this year. That includes partnerships, licensing and funding for a start-up company.