Piggyback

Brown University, 2001 - $18,000

Medical professionals rely on a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) for a number of daily tasks. PDAs replace medical dictionaries and encyclopedias by providing accurate, convenient reference information, and some PDAs perform as medical instruments, such as EKG monitoring devices. However, even as medical professionals benefit from PDA use, they still must fill out patient forms manually, often transcribing information from the reference software to their PDA. Medical professionals who do not wish to fill out charts by hand must leave their patients in order to retrieve printouts from desktop printers.

This E-Team recognized a need for more advanced technology to help medical professionals transfer information more efficiently from their PDA to patient evaluation forms. The team's solution consisted of a small printer that clips to the back of the PDA. The printer conforms to the shape of most PDAs and prints on both label and printer stock. Using label stock, medical professionals can print out information and affix it quickly and efficiently to patients' forms. Piggyback's printer also has the potential to incorporate additional components, such as Bluetooth, a wireless technology.

The team grew out of Brown University's Entrepreneurship course. The five undergraduates involved in the team had skills and knowledge in engineering, economics, entrepreneurship, computer science, and intellectual property. Two professors with extensive knowledge of engineering and intellectual property protection advised the team.