Three students working on the Center For Design Research’s WellCar project won the 2014 Connected World magazine University Competition conducted at Connected World Conference. Only universities working on projects involving remote data collection were eligible to compete in the contest, which took place during the Chicago Auto Show in mid-February.
Kent Diasabeygunawardena, Menomanie, Wis., Emma Murano, Halstead, and Brandon Wood, Independence, Mo., made their winning 20-minute presentation on the CDR’s WellCar project. Students from the Illinois Institute of Technology placed second.
The goal of the WellCar is to bring quality healthcare to rural parts of the State. WellCars would have many devices under one vehicle’s roof, which would be integrated with some means of securely exchanging a patient’s medical data to hospitals or clinics where it could be evaluated. Some treatments could be given, and prescriptions written on the spot.
The project has many sponsors, including the KU Transportation Research Institute, which recently awarded the project a $50,000 grant. Others include Abbott Point of Care, HealthSTATS, Philips Telehealth, Alere, Sprint, Voalte and others.
These medical technology providers will ensure the WellCar uses cutting-edge technology. Abbott Point-of-Care is providing its i-STAT handheld blood chemistry analyzer. HealthSTATS will provide "EVBP, evidence-based blood pressure," noninvasive approach to monitoring, treating and managing hypertension using a wristwatch-like device.
Sprint will provide the mobile connectivity for the WellCar. Voalte will provide its smartphone technology that allows health care practitioners to communicate directly through voice, alarms and text. The project is being designed utilizing a Ford Transit Vehicle Wagon, which has been donated by the company for this research.
“This startup competition is a platform for creative ideas looking to gain some traction in a booming marketplace. With connected technology, anything really is possible, and each of the participating incubators and universities is proof of that,” says Peggy Smedley the editorial director of Connected World magazine.
As a result of the win, the WellCar project will be featured in the April-May issue of Connected World magazine. The students were interviewed after their win and can be heard on the Peggy Smedley Show. The Internet radio channel features news and commentary on connected technology http://peggysmedleyshow.com/index.php?q=node/1763.
“The judges agreed that it’s amazing to see these young students think about the future,” Smedley continued. “And not only think about what’s cool and the wow factor, but how the WellCar can help people in rural places in need of doctors and patient care. I commend you and the CDR for that.”
KU’s presence at the Connected World Conference was not limited to participation in the competition. The students gave the CDR and WellCar additional exposure at the show by creating and manning a booth at the Connected World’s exhibition.
As well, Greg Thomas, professor of design and director of the CDR, was an invited speaker. He presented the CDR’s ongoing research and development in automotive applications entitled, “Healthcare On Wheels” citing projects done for Ford Motor Company and Bayer Healthcare. Professor Thomas also did two segments of “The Peggy Smedley Show” on current technology. http://peggysmedleyshow.com/index.php?q=node/1762