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Innovation Comes from Environments Where Ideas Can Connect

Published on March 13, 2019

“Innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives. It comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.”

Steven Johnson

On March 6th, I have had the honor to judge the University of Washington’s Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge for the second year running. The event was a great opportunity for talented students to present their innovative solutions to the most difficult problems in the healthcare industry.

Simple, Straightforward, Impactful

I want to begin by saying how impressed I was with all the ideas that were presented. Each one is unique and can greatly contribute to our collective wellbeing.

Winner Team
Source: UW Foster Blog

This year’s winners are a team of students who devised Nanodropper, a universal eyedrop adaptor. The team argued that standard packaging of prescription eyedrop have low precision as they tend to dispense 5 times bigger dose of medicine than needed. Nanodropper, on the other hand, can dispense just the right amount of medicine, saving patients money.   

The third-place winner, Pulmora, presented another simple yet remarkably practical solution. Their autonomous emergency ventilator can keep people who have stopped breathing alive in remote locations.

The product came from the inventor’s experience as a mountain rescuer. Keeping someone breathing manually in a dangerous environment is no easy task. That’s why Pulmora’s ventilator does not require much effort or medical education.

Life-Changing Concepts

I was greatly impressed by the runner up team Appiture. Their solution is lowcost and easy-to-use hardware coupled application that can detect autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Special eyeglasses can measure how a child’s eyes respond to light and determine whether a child is likely to have ASD using a smartphone.

Instead of a traditional lengthy observation process, this ingenious solution can potentially limit the numerous downsides of a late ASD diagnosis. Appiture’s original low-cost mobile solution has the potential to transform the lives of people living with autism and those caring for them.

A notable contribution came from DevCo Diagnostics in the form of a one-step, cancer diagnostic device capable of multiplex detection from a human serum sample. Their solution demonstrates the impact events like the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge can have on the healthcare industry.

Remedies For an Aging Population

Some students took on the challenges associated with an aging population. From my experience in the sector, every little solution can truly transform millions of lives.

Team Biomech developed a low-profile robotic glove that improves dexterity and grip strength for people with loss of hand function. GripGlove allows elderly or disabled people to remain independent and improves their quality of life.

I was genuinely inspired by the number of proactive students willing to take on the most difficult challenges of today. I am convinced that the more opportunities we can help create for the younger generation, the better the world can become.