By Isabella Bachman

The BU student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, in collaboration with Bioengineering Technology & Entrepreneurship Center (BTEC), hosted the second annual BTEC x BMES Design-A-Thon on April 27th. The design challenged students to develop a product or service that will yield positive health outcomes for and/or increase access to healthcare technologies in underserved communities.

Throughout the academic year student teams, under the guidance of BTEC faculty and graduate students, develop a product or service, which is then presented to a panel of judges at the end of the year. Design-A-Thon equips students with the knowledge and skills to address societal challenges in the healthcare industry by enhancing diversity considerations within the design process.

Seven finalist student teams presented their projects. The two first-place teams, BreatheRight and Osto-Pop, received an award of $1,000, while the runner-up teams, BUzz Bracelet and Mobile Vision, received $500. Graduate student mentors Dev Bhatt (BME PhD’28) and Alex Howard (BME PhD’28) also received $100 for their advisory roles.

The BreatheRight team was composed of three BME undergraduate students: Yash Patel, Nikita Vinay Kishan and Luca Pungan (BME BS’25). The team created a device that attaches to most asthma inhalers to monitor medication intake and respiratory function. This information is sent to a smart phone app, which then records the data, providing useful information to patients and healthcare professionals. The device and monitoring application are expected to provide a critical tool for asthma management, especially to underrepresented groups which have higher incidences of asthma

Two BME juniors, Ananya Pemaraj and Shadin Almaiman (BME BS’25), were on the Osto-Pop team. They developed a low-cost device for elderly colectomy patients with less manual dexterity to better access their colostomy bag. It is also designed to reduce odor and gas.

Industry partners were notably pivotal to the success of this event. Merck Research Labs sponsored the prizes and sent several representatives to give a presentation on their biologics research program.

The panel of judges included: Professor of the Practice Diane Joseph-McCarthy (BME, Chem), Executive Director of BTEC; Associate Professor Michael Smith (BME, MSE); Research Assistant Professor Xiaojun Cheng (BME); Rohan Jadeja (MS’19), Systems Engineering Group, KMC Systems, Inc.; and Lecturer Kavon Karrobi (BME), BTEC Manager.