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How to 'hatch' a solution

World Bulletin Team

VitalEyes - winners of the Faculty of Applied Science Award
VitalEyes - winners of the Faculty of Applied Science Award

Great Hatch is a grassroots organisation aimed at bringing scientists, engineers and clinicians together to solve medical related problems. Institution Fellows Kevin Oversby, CEng FIMechE and Kris Gadareh, CEng FIMechE who mentored at the event, describe their experience.

The 2018 annual event was held during the weekend  of 2-4 March at the UBC Engineering Design Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

During the weekend, over thirty real life issues in healthcare were pitched to 14 multi-disciplinary teams who tackled the problems.

Teams spent most of the weekend ‘hatching’ problems which involved :

  • exploring a healthcare need or problem
  • identifying customer segments
  • validation of proposed solutions
  • creating a working prototype. 

From Saturday to Sunday morning, participants had 24 hours to develop and prototype solutions to their proposed problems; some even stayed overnight!. They were provided with thousands of dollars worth of prototyping supplies ranging from electronic equipment to art supplies.

The mentoring session was held between 3:30-7:00 pm on Saturday. During the first hour teams presented two minute mini-pitches to all the mentors. This allowed mentors to get an idea of the problem pitches and how each team was planning on solving it as well as what they might be unsure about.

After the team presentations, mentors from the engineering, design, and healthcare fields spent approximately 30 minutes with the participants whose problem pitches were aligned with their own background or expertise. Mentors discussed problem-solving processes, helping team members understand their target customers/patients and the clinical need or the technical aspects of their product/solution.

As mentors, we met with four teams proposing diverse solutions to clinical problems including:

  • using touch therapy as a non-invasive treatment method aimed at lowering anxiety in children in a paediatric care unit. This team’s proposal was based on developing a device using haptic feedback technology. 
  • using an arduino board and software, a team had built a prototype device for monitoring patients’ vital signs/ heart rate in order to expedite first respondents diagnosis in an emergency situation.
  • the development of a low cost portable device to measure the peripheral visual field acuity at the onset off cataracts.

During our mentoring session with each team, we emphasised the importance of the target customers/patients, stakeholder validation and implementation while solving healthcare needs.

Great Hatch 2018 Grand Prize Award and three Gold Sponsor awards were presented: 

  • Great Hatch 2018 Grand Prize Award went to Lumina, a simple, low-cost mechanical improvement on tools used in central venous access to improve efficiency and reduce risk
  • Faculty of Applied Science Award for Best Innovation: VitalEyes, a triaging tool for healthcare professionals in the Emergency Department that non-invasively monitors patient vitals
  • Faculty of Medicine Catalyst Award for the most interdisciplinary team: Flutter, a device that helps expecting mothers monitor fetal health
  • Joule Healthcare Innovation Award for Biggest Potential Impact: Dtech, which aimed to aid diabetic patients in early detection of diabetic neuropathy.

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