About This Project
Current methods of imaging the heart from inside the body are expensive, cumbersome, labor intensive, and uncomfortable for the patient. We've designed an echocardiography probe that is small enough to be swallowed, requires no sedation to be placed, and that can be controlled remotely. This means we can take high quality pictures of the heart more quickly, less expensively, and in environments that are not too fancy.
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
Thousands of patients per year need a test called TEE to image the heart from inside the esophagus (I know, it seems weird, but we can create beautiful pictures of the heart from a probe placed in the esophagus, which is thin and right behind the heart). Unfortunately, this procedure is often miserable for the patient. It requires intensive monitoring, specially trained nurses, and a boatload of sedation. The procedure costs anywhere between $1,000-$10,000 bucks. Despite huge advances in technology, the probe used to obtain these images has not changed in decades. If the probe was smaller, and smarter, we could do this test in a less expensive, less monitored, and less awful way for the patient. The prototype has been designed. We are ready to start testing once the prototype is available.
What is the significance of this project?
This project is essential to improving the process of TEE and the availability of TEE. Once this technology is available we will be able to drive down the time, costs, and risks associated with having this important medical test.There is a clear need and market for this technology. We can replace cumbersome technology with an improved solution that reduces the cost and burden of invasive testing. The benefits for patients are obvious. No more coughing, gagging, side effects or high bills for a test that can be done in a less expensive way. Probe innovation will not occur by the major imaging companies. Why would they design something new when they have huge margins on their existing technology? The market needs a new entrant to innovate a better solution.
What are the goals of the project?
Our immediate goal is to build the prototype we have designed using simulation software. The specifications are clear. The market is clear. We are ready to send our design off for assembly as soon as we have raised the funds for the prototype and testing equipment. Once we have the prototype we will begin testing in people. Not mice. Once we have validated this technology in people we can consider if there are opportunities to create new probes for the veterinary space as well.
We need funding because there is no other way to quickly secure a small amount of funding to advance a prototype towards patent filing and further development. My engineers are students at Penn or joint Wharton/Penn students. I am a busy clinician. We do not have hours and hours to search out grants, get letters from whomever, etc. to secure a relatively small amount of money. We are taking a start up approach to this idea: demonstrate value in a short series of relatively inexpensive experiments, and either proceed to further development or fail fast and fantastically. The old model is dead - we are not looking to build careers and high overhead research programs in a university setting. We want to move this rapidly through prototype to company. That is how the science can be advanced- cheap initial manufacturing, rapid data acquisition and iterative design changes based on our results.
Meet the Team
Kobie Mensah-Brown is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is an avid programmer and is passionate about the mathematical underpinnings of pretty much anything. On campus, he sings in an A Cappella group called Off the Beat.
Aditi Verma is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Wharton Business School. In her free time, Aditi enjoys reading, cooking, and photography.She has an awesome knack for programming and a very casual passion for philosophy and ethics.
Rameen Vafa is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In his free time, he enjoys playing classical and electric guitar as well as salsa dancing! He volunteers at UCC, a student-run health clinic in West Philadelphia.
Theodore Guenin(Teddy) is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Wharton Business School. He enjoys everything from spaceflight to biofuels to playing harmonica and piano to snowboarding.
Find photos of the team below!
Kobina Mensah-Brown(Kobie) is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is an avid programmer and is passionate about the mathematical underpinnings of pretty much anything. On campus, he sings in an A Cappella group called Off the Beat
Nothing posted yet.
- $25Total Donations
- $25.00Average Donation