Innovating Next-Generation Bioinstrumentation

A team of recent Columbia Engineering graduates won first place at the Biomedical Engineering Society’s inaugural Undergraduate Design Competition, beating out teams from 16 other universities in developing market-ready bioinstrumentation.

Shawn Thomas BS'15 (pictured), Daniel Huang BS'15, Jason Suh BS'15, and Jennifer Xiong BS'15 presented Hydrassistant, an advanced dehydration sensor tailored for military use.

Daniel Huang BS’15, Jason Suh BS ’15, Shawn Thomas BS’15, and Jennifer Xiong BS’15, developed the Hydrassistant, an advanced dehydration sensor tailored for military use, as their senior design project, and have continued refining their concept after graduation. They competed against five other finalist teams in oral presentations at the BMES 25th annual convention, held October in Tampa, Florida. Finalists demonstrated their product’s novelty, market and regulatory viability, and business plan addressing compelling clinical needs, among other criteria.

“When you work on a project for a while, it can be tough to tell whether or not what you're creating actually has value, or if you're being fooled by your own tunnel vision,” said Thomas, who presented for the group. “We may not have a million-dollar product yet, but the recognition makes us feel that we're on the right path coming up with an elegant solution to a difficult problem.”

The Hydrassistant team, mentored by Aaron Kyle, lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at the School, won $3000 in prize money. They are currently pursuing a patent and publishing a scientific paper on their novel diagnostic techniques to assess dehydration.

Sponsored by Medtronic, the BMES competition was designed to increase undergraduate biomedical engineers’ product development expertise.

“The Hydrassistant team’s innovation is amongst the best projects we’ve ever had,” said Kyle. “This award is a testament to their intelligent hard work.”

—by Jesse Adams

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