Orpheus Medical

Stanford University School of Medicine, 2009 - $17,982

Hemorrhoids are blood-engorged enlargements around the anus that cause discomfort, pain, and bleeding. While more than thirteen million Americans suffer from hemorrhoids, most do not undergo treatment, because current treatments are either ineffective or extremely painful.

This E-Team is developing a device that is effective yet almost painless, and can be used outside the operating room, without anesthesia. The device, which is the size of an index finger, is inserted into the anus, whereupon a Doppler sensor in its tip locates the hemorrhoidal artery, which feeds the blood-filled hemorrhoid. The device then fires a staple-like clip that compresses the hemorhoidal artery, preventing blood flow to the hemorrhoid and causing the hemorrhoid to rapidly recede completely.

Operation Simple

Virginia Commonwealth University, 2009 - $16,700

Medical facilities in developing countries often lack adequate financial resources to purchase modern medical equipment. This is particularly the case with surgical tables, which can cost up to $80,000, far beyond the reach of local clinics. Instead, the clinics must rely on either wooden planks or outdated equipment.

This E-Team has designed a $500 surgical table for use in developing countries. Along with cost considerations, the design emphasizes portability through a collapsible design to minimize transportation requirements.


Stanford University School of Medicine, 2009 - $17,495

Over the last ten years, the number of patients seen in emergency departments (EDs) has grown rapidly, topping 120 million patients in 2008. Thus, efficient and accurate evaluation and diagnosis are essential to preventing overcrowding and ensuring high levels of patient care. Among the controllable causes of ED inefficiency, laboratory delays due in part to hemolysis are cited as one of the most prevalent and significant.

Hemolysis is the rupture of red blood cells and the release of their intracellular contents into a blood sample. It is by far the leading cause of unsuitable lab specimens, responsible for up to 70% of failed samples, and can delay the ED process by up to one hour: from drawing the blood to laboratory hemolysis analysis itself is approximately half an hour, and communicating the presence of hemolysis and redrawing the sample takes another half hour.

This E-Team is developing a user-friendly and cost-effective device that eliminates this delay. The device detects hemolysis of a blood draw immediately at the bedside, eliminating the delay associated with hemolyzed blood samples, thus increasing patient turnover in the emergency room, decreasing crowding, and increasing hospital revenue.

Medici Medical Technology

Duke University, 2009 - $11,850

Urinary incontinence (UI) affects twice as many women as men, primarily between the ages of 30-60, due to complications of childbirth, pregnancy and the configuration of the female urinary system. Despite the large number of women who suffer from UI, the current treatments are far from optimal, and no solution provides the control and convenience that patients need. Pharmacological therapies, pelvic muscle rehabilitation and surgery are most frequently used to treat UI. However, the non-invasive treatments (e.g., diapers) are stigmatized and uncomfortable. Surgical procedures are often ineffective, with failure rates as high at 50% for some treatments.

This E-Team, calling itself Medici Medical Technology, is developing two devices to treat stress UI in women. (The project started at an NCIIA funded program at Stanford). Stress UI is characterized by leakage that occurs during a quick (approximately one second) increase in pressure on the bladder during coughing, sneezing, hiking, sports or climbing stairs. The team’s time-delayed valve system addresses this issue by ensuring that such a short pulse of high pressure will not be sufficient to open the valves. However, when the patient does want to void, she can essentially do so normally by controlling the pressure in the abdomen for approximately three seconds, allowing each of the valves to open in series, one after another. Once all valves are open and urine is flowing, the patient will no longer need to bear down, as the pressure of the flow will keep the valves open. This device allows patients to regain their freedom and lifestyle by giving them back control of their own bodily functions while also providing convenience, requiring device changes only at each semi-annual checkup.


Johns Hopkins University, 2009 - $18,000

Every day as clinicians perform their morning rounds, patients are asked whether they have been using their incentive spirometer, an inexpensive bedside device that promotes deep breathing with a visual feedback mechanism. Current clinical protocol suggests performing deep breathing exercises using the incentive spirometers ten times per hour as a preventative measure to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications that include atelectasis, pneumonia, and bronchitis. As a testimony to their efficacy, incentive spirometers are provided to every single patient who undergoes general anesthesia. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell if a patient has actually been using the spirometer, forcing clinicians to rely on patient memory, which is neither objective nor accurate in the post-operative period.

This E-Team is designing an electronic, disposable incentive spirometer that will quantify when a patient uses it. The device is designed to allow hospital staff to monitor patient usage and lung capacity performance—features not possible with current embodiments. Ultimately, the team hopes to expand into the full spirometry market to help diagnose non-hospitalized patients for conditions such as pneumonia.

Enabling Effective Management of Neonatal Jaundice in Rural India

Stanford University, 2009 - $46,500

If left untreated, neonatal jaundice can cause kernicterus, a form of brain damage with complications including deafness, cerebral palsy, and death. In the US, phototherapy treatment (shining wavelength-specific light on the baby) has virtually eliminated kernicterus, but in developing countries like India only a small segment of the population has access to effective treatment.

In order to improve patient access to neonatal jaundice treatment in rural Indian clinics, this team - working with the non-profit technology incubator, Design Revolution - is developing a low cost, low maintenance opto-medical device. Instead of using fluorescent tube or compact fluorescent bulbs, the team’s device uses more efficient, high-intensity blue LEDs that can be supported by a battery backup.


  • Brilliance in India: New deal allows Bay-area firm to fight neonatal jaundice in rural India - Fast Company (Jan 2011)
  • September 2012: Brilliance is on the market in India and they are looking to expand to East Africa. The team estimates that 13 babies per device per month will get treatment in urban hospitals, which means lives saved and brain damage averted. 

From Science to Prototype: Out-of-the-Box Thinking for Medical Technology

University of Colorado - Denver, 2006 - $34,400

Two years ago, the University of Colorado at Denver merged with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, resulting in efforts to link curricula and engage UCD undergraduate students in research and clinical problems in the medical school. As part of that effort, UCD is now building a program to support E-Team project development. Over the course of twelve months, the program will help eight E-Teams of two to three students from natural sciences, engineering, pre-med and business to develop out-of-the-box solutions to customer health care needs.

During the first five weeks, student teams will conduct a thorough market survey featuring customer interviews. From their surveys, teams will identify a problem, conduct literature and patent searches on established approaches to solving the problems, and brainstorm solutions. The teams will then construct proposals for project development, undergo a five-week seminar on medical technologies, and attend the NCIIA I2V program. For the rest of the year, student teams will develop prototypes, while taking relevant courses, working with faculty mentors, and evaluating their own progress. At the end of the semester, students will demonstrate their prototypes and deliver a written report.

Global Healthcare Technologies Program

Northwestern University, 2008 - $46,000

The Global Healthcare Technologies Program in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University is an intensive, quarter-long course where students work with front-line healthcare workers to design medical devices specifically for the developing world. Ongoing projects include affordable digital radiology, inexpensive apnea monitoring for premature infants in areas with limited neonatal care, and a tuberculosis tracking system.

The grant will help broaden the program in three ways: 1) develop a curriculum to introduce engineering students to the business, social, and political environment of sub-Saharan Africa; 2) develop mechanisms to identify needs for medical devices in resource-poor environments by establishing an additional site in Uganda; 3) develop relationships with the business community and healthcare professionals to serve as additional mentors for student teams, who will subsequently be coached to apply for an E-Team grant and other sources of support to launch sustainable enterprises.

Program to Support Computer Application for Medicine

University of Virginia, 2005 - $25,410

This project seeks to create a new type of senior thesis program at the University of Virginia. Currently, over the course of a nine-month period, engineering students write an individual thesis that identifies, analyzes and offers a solution to a specific technical challenge. With this project, UVA will move away from traditional (individual) research and toward multidisciplinary student collaboration by having E-Teams develop computer applications for use in the medical field. In liaison with the university's school of medicine, each team will identify a medical need, suggest a solution, devise and test a prototype and follow the development cycle through to commercial viability.

Four E-Teams (each with three members) will be created during the first two years. Thereafter, it is assumed that more seniors from the annual pool of 450 individuals will join E-Teams; they will be selected on a competitive basis.

A Multi-disciplinary, Multi-level Innovation-team Course

North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 2008 - $9,000.00

This project supports a course focused on micro-manufacturing innovation in the field of medical and dental products. The course could be expanded to become a compilation of offerings with different technological emphases but a similar structure and innovation-centered context. All the resulting courses would: 1) be open to students majoring in any subject relevant to the topic of the innovation, and would also be made available to students attending NDSU's global partner institutions and students within the Tri-college network in the region; 2) create an enabling and sustainable framework for innovation teams to secure resources through partnerships with industrial organizations and private entrepreneurs, as well as through grants from governmental and foundation resources; and 3) potentially serve as departmental electives and have course credit hours fulfill graduation requirements.

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