The ninth annual Rice 360⁰ Institute for Global Health design competition was held March 29, 2019 on the Rice University campus in Houston, Texas. This year, 21 teams of undergraduate students from 13 universities presented their innovative technologies to improve global health.
The First Place Award and the People’s Choice Award went to Georgia Tech’s Libi Medical biomedical engineering team, whose fetal heart-monitoring technology, fetoMic, utilizes a microphone and app to detect and capture fetal heart rates. This affordable and durable alternative to rudimentary fetoscopes is designed to better allow clinicians to assess the health of mother and baby during delivery. Guided by the belief that “medicine is for everyone,” the student team ensured that fetoMic uses locally sourced materials with an easy-to-build design.
The winning Libi Medical team members at the competition were Lizzy Kappler and Yahia Ali, biomedical engineering students in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.
Libi Medical, is the inaugural developing world capstone team out of the Coulter biomedical engineering department. As part of the project, the team visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August of 2018 to talk with physicians, nurses, and midwives within their healthcare system. They identified a need for more sustainable, low-cost fetal heart monitoring solutions and have spent two semesters as part of BMED 4602 and BMED 4603 developing and testing their prototype. The original LibiMedical student team members include Elianna Paljug (BME '19), Yahia Ali (BME '19), Hannah Geil (BME '19), and Elizabeth Kappler (BME '19). During the spring 2019 semester, the team brought on Jonathon Vehaun (CS '19) and Martino Lo (ID '20) to help with app development.
The 37 judges at the Rice 360 competition included clinicians and researchers from the Texas Medical Center, the University of Houston, Texas State University and elsewhere, as well as industries dedicated to developing and manufacturing diagnostics and biomedical devices, including BD, Merck, Every Shelter, and 3rd Stone Design.
Competition sponsors included the Stephen W. Ley Family Endowment for Global Health and The Lemelson Foundation.
The team has also been accepted into the competition finals of the upcoming John's Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition in Baltimore, MD on April 14th.
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology