Biomedical engineering students who spent the past
school year devising new tools to help
diagnose and treat patients unveiled their work last week
before judges and dozens of interested
observers at the department's annual Design Day event.
In recent years, Design Day has been held at Homewood,
but last week's event took place on the
East Baltimore campus to make it more convenient for School
of Medicine faculty members to attend.
Most of this year's design projects were sponsored by
School of Medicine faculty members seeking
new or enhanced tools and devices for their work.
The 15 teams that took part in oral and poster
presentations included nine undergraduate
groups and one graduate group that spent two semesters on
their design projects and four
undergraduate teams that spent one semester and an
intersession on theirs.
Each undergraduate team, usually consisting of eight
to 10 students, included a mix of freshmen
and upperclassmen. The goal, course instructors said, is to
engineering majors a chance
to gain hands-on engineering experience as soon as they
enter the program.
The first-place prize went to the team that developed
SurgyPack, a system that should enable
physicians to move and secure a patient's intestines away
from the operating area during abdominal
surgery. The student inventors say this system should cut
the time required for this "packing"
procedure and reduce the likelihood of injury to the
In recent weeks, this team's project, under the name
SurgyTech, also scored first-place wins in
two state and regional student business plan
Second-place honors in the Design Day competition went
to the ICU Mover undergraduate team.
Its device includes a tower for sensitive medical equipment
attached to a combination wheelchair-
walker. It is designed to allow seriously ill
intensive-care patients, who are normally kept highly
sedated and immobile, to get out of bed and walk. This
therapy is believed to improve the patient's
The third-place award went to a device made to improve
the visibility of markers used in
focused-beam radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
Judges for the contest said the top three projects
were so close in quality that they awarded
each team the same amount of prize money: $3,500.
According to Design Day organizers, biomedical
engineering student team projects in recent
years have led to a number of provisional patents,
licensing agreements and start-up companies.