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High School | Biomed | Biomedical Innovation | Activity: Biomedical Innovation Design | Innovation Award

Check out the student work submitted for real-world industry feedback! Learn more about submitting student work to receive real-world feedback here!

Grade: High School

PLTW Course: Biomedical Innovation

Submission type: Biomedical Innovation Design

Project overview: In this capstone course students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous PLTW Biomedical Science courses to design innovative solutions for health challenges  such as public health concerns, biomedical engineering, clinical medicine, and physiology. In Biomedical Innovation students work on their own or in teams to design and carry out an independent project.  This group designed a “Smart EpiPen”. 

Selected student submission materials:

Link to Full Project: click here

Select judge feedback:

“Hello, I work at Omega Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that is developing new biological drugs (biologics).  I am a patent attorney, and my job is to make sure that we have patents that prevent other companies from copying our drugs without permission and to make sure that other companies do not have patents that interfere with our ability to make and sell our drugs.

Your project does a good job of identifying weaknesses with a current system for treating a human health condition and providing a device that overcomes those weaknesses.  The project also provides a well-thought design for the proposed device.

One area that you may want to re-consider is whether the methods you have proposed for testing the device will address the potential problems with using the device.  Epi-pens are already used in humans, so the primary technological hurdle to overcome with your proposed device is not safety but rather whether it is user-friendly.  Perhaps your test study should compare the use of your prototype with traditional epi-pens in diabetics to see whether the prototype is equally easy to use.

Your project proposal is similar to what I do in my work as a patent attorney.  When I draft a patent, I have to describe a human health problem, explain the shortcomings of current drugs/devices/methods to treat the problem, and describe how the new invention will overcome those shortcomings to solve the problem.

Your project is a great start to a career in the biomedical sciences.  If you continue to identify problems with current modes of healthcare and to find ways to solve those problems, you will be able make important contributions to human health as your scientific and technological expertise grows.”

-Patent Attorney at Omega Therapeutics

“Hello, I currently work at Moderna under their manufacturing department. The biotechnology world is for innovators such as yourselves! I enjoyed reading your STEM project as you’ve illustrated how there are always ways to improve technology! 

What was done well was the illustration of the problem. Presenting the current facts, and how it affects people day to day. How this problem appears to be addressed but still leaves room for enhancements. The solution also demonstrated innovation, where the new epipen would have more dosages, and also provides a location tracker. The one-use port for disposal is also a great idea so that the user can remember the remaining dosages. 

This presentation was thorough. I did have a few questions. How often would the user have to charge the epipen? Also, what if the user leaves the pen charged overnight, does that interfere with the battery life? Are there alerts to remind the user that the pen needs to be charged before it completely dies? Also, would emergency dispatches come every time the pen is used? These are a few thoughts to consider to add or explain in your presentation. 

Working in the biotechnology field helps remind me every day how we are evolving. Creating ideas such as the three of you have is a big reminder on how great our minds can be at helping others.  You all have a wonderful idea and should continue to purse it. It would be great to see your names attached to something great in the future!”

-Manufacturing Technician at Moderna

Industry Award:  Innovation Award

School: Plymouth North High School

Teacher: Carl Nielsen and Nancy Rozak

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