Inside INdiana Business

Rose-Hulman team takes design competition grand prize

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A team of Rose-Hulman students has taken a share of the grand prize in an international competition that encourages innovative medical technologies to solve global health issues.

Biomedical engineering student Carla Archuleta and electrical engineering student Abel Keeley designed an inexpensive oxygen saturation monitoring system for several patients in acute care. The project is part of a Global Engineering for Health course taught by electrical and computer engineering associate professor Deborah Walter, and computing engineer student Heda Wang is developing a prototype to test and collect data during the upcoming school year.

Out of 28 applications involving over 100 developers from Europe, Africa and North America, the students’ idea won them a share of four grand prizes in the UBORA Design Competition. 

“My sister is a health care provider and she mentioned that one of the challenges hospitals are dealing with now is how to monitor and provide care for patients while trying to minimize the time spent in the room with vulnerable and/or infectious patients. That was the inspiration for this project,” says Keeley, from Syracuse, New York.

Archuleta adds, “We thought a low-cost system would be useful for low-resource countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The students continue to discuss development issues with Walter during the summer months.

“Once we get back on campus it would be great to continue working on the prototype and testing the device. From there, we want to make improvements to the design,” said Archuleta, from Littleton, Colorado.

UBORA was looking for open source technology solutions for COVID-19 or similar outbreaks of infectious disease. Students in the spring course were forced to pivot to the international design competition due to travel restrictions denying them their original plans of fixing hospital equipment while living in the Dominican Republic in the summer. 

“My overarching goal in engineering has always been to build things that help people. To achieve that, I plan on getting a design-oriented job in the electronics industry,” Keeley said.