Students’ Innovative Orthotic Device Wins Rothberg Catalyzer

Penn Engineering
Oct 23 · 2 min read
Michael Sobrepera, Ariella Mansfield and Rebecca Li pose with their winnings.

Penn Health-Tech’s Rothberg Catalyzer is a two-day makerthon that challenges interdisciplinary student teams to prototype and pitch medical devices that aim to address an unmet clinical need.

The Catalyzer’s third competition was held last weekend and was won by MAR Designs, a team of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics graduate students: Rebecca Li, Ariella Mansfield and Michael Sobrepera.

MAR Designs took home the top prize of $10,000 for their project, an orthotic device that children with cerebral palsy can more comfortably wear as they sleep.

According to the team’s presentation, existing wrist orthoses “improve function and treat/prevent spasticity. However, patients report that these devices are uncomfortable which leads to lack of compliance and may also prevent patient’s eligibility for surgeries.” MAR Designs’ device initially allows full range of motion, but gradually straightens the wrist as the child is falling asleep.

In second place was Splash Throne. Team members Greg Chen, Nik Evitt, Jake Crawford and Meghan Lockwood proposed a toilet safety frame intended for elderly users. Embedded sensors track basic health information, like weight and heart-rate, as part of a preventative health routine.

Integrated Product Design students Jonah Arheim, Laura Ceccacci, Julia Lin and Alex Wan took third place with ONESCOPE, an untethered, hands-free laproscope designed to make minimally-invasive surgeries faster and safer.

Finally, SchistoSpot took home the Catalyzer’s Pioneer Award. Bioengineering and Computer and Information Science seniors Alec Bayliff, Bram Bruno, Justin Swirbul and Vishal Then designed a low-cost microscopy system that can aid in the diagnosis of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis by detecting eggs in urine samples, eliminating the need for a hospital visit.

The event was made possible by a three-year donation by scientist and entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg, with the intent of inspiring the next generation of healthcare innovators.

Penn Engineering

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

Penn Engineering

Written by

Penn Engineering

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

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