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  5. UV light-emitting bandage wins 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Prize

UV light-emitting bandage wins 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Prize

John Booske stands with Qualcomm Innovation Prize winners Yei-Hwan Jung, Sarah Sandock, and Mehdi Shokoueinejad.

John Booske stands with Qualcomm Innovation Prize winners Yei-Hwan Jung (middle-left), Mehdi Shokoueinejad (far right), and the team's mentor Sarah Sandock. Photo: Brett Stepanik.

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A smart, ultraviolet therapeutic bandage won the top prize and $15,000 at the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation competition at UW-Madison. The Power Wearables team of biomedical engineer Mehdi Shokoueinejad, electrical and computer engineers Akshay Kumar and Yei-Hwan Jung created the MicroViolet Patch to combine phototherapy with a typical adhesive bandage. 

The group says the MicroViolet Patch technology can be used to treat everything from acne to tumors. The thin patch emits a controlled amount of UV radiation to directly target wounds and to aid in the healing process. “Just as plants absorb sunlight and use chlorophyll to grow cells, we use light to expedite the cell-growing process,” says Shokoueinejad. 

The MicroViolet Patch system includes disposable adhesive bandages and a reusable flexible module containing the microscale light emitting diode, medical sensors to monitor the injury or disease, and batteries to power the system. The product is thin and flexible enough to be adhered to the skin like a traditional bandage, and the medical sensors send data wirelessly to a smartphone application, allowing for real-time tracking information on both the disease and the device. In addition to its $15,000 prize, the students also earned a trip to Qualcomm headquarters in San Diego, where they will present their idea to Qualcomm leaders.

The global semiconductor company Qualcomm Inc. sponsors the Qualcomm Innovation Prize, which challenges students to develop new products that take advantage of wireless technologies, and to marry those ideas with market-ready business plans. This year’s competition featured 25 teams of UW-Madison students and was held April 17, 2014. 

Second place, and $7,000 went to LeadOff. Created by the Sensori Athletics team of Peter Opperman, Greg Roble, electrical and computer engineers Shengqi Zhu and Yei-Hwan Jung, and biomedical engineer Mehdi Shokoueinejad, LeadOff is a sensor that attaches to a baseball bat or other athletic equipment and is used to measure, track and analyze movement data. In the case of a baseball bat, the LeadOff is placed on the knob of the bat and can measure average and maximum swing speeds and the angle of the bat throughout the swing, and can collect data at the moment of impact with the ball. “The real magic of this application is in the software,” Opperman says. “The value we’re adding is how we translate the data.” 

All the swing data LeadOff collects is transmitted wirelessly to a device such as a tablet, and coaches are able to collect hitting data over a long period of time to track a hitters’ improvement. 

Qualcomm Innovation Prize runners up Shengqi Zhu, Greg Roble and Peter Opperman

LeadOff by the Sensori Athletics team of Shengqi Zhu, Greg Roble and Peter Opperman. Photo: Brett Stepanik.

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The third-place team, which earned $5,000, was Zuntik, developed by Jacob Scheiber and Andrew McLean. Zuntik is an online calendar distribution tool allowing users to create, upload, edit and instantly download any calendar to their computer, smartphone or tablet. Users can access Zuntik from either the website or a mobile app, and can consolidate all of their digital calendars into one place. “We wanted to get rid of all the useless features of other calendars,” says Scheiber, “and just create something beautiful and intuitive.”

Judges didn't have an easy job choosing winners. “We, as judges, spent a lot of time deliberating, trying to pick a good balance between what was innovative, but was also realizable and could be turned into a business,” says Samir Gupta, vice president of engineering for Qualcomm, and one of the competition’s judges. “It was really hard to pick, but the winners are all very well deserved.”

In addition to first-, second- and third-place prizes, judges awarded three additional $1,000 prizes. The winner of best business plan was pulseMobile. Designed by Geoff Chon, biomedical engineering students Chris Fernandez, Olivia Rice, Nick Glattard and Brandon Jonen, and computer science student Jared Buckner, pulseMobile is a software and hardware platform that monitors congestive heart failure patients and uploads their data directly into a cloud-based, clinical support application. 

Best prototype went to UbiK, an alternative portable text-entry system for smartphones that allows standard and customizable keyboard typing on conventional surfaces, created by electrical and computer engineering students J.J. Wang and Kaichen Zhao.

And the A-Station by Alteau won best technical idea. Developed by mechanical engineering students Eric Ronning and Bimpe Olaniyan, biomedical engineer Jon Seaton, and chemical engineering student Cedric Kovacs-Johnson, the A-Station is an autonomous health clinic that collects an individual's blood pressure, heart rate, blood O2 levels, height and weight. The A-Station aims to aid in the collection of medical data of low-income and impoverished people who would otherwise not have their medical information pertaining to diabetes and other diseases tracked.

John Steeno
4/21/2014