Firstly, we had over 170 people apply for our 75 available positions. We ended up sending out 80 invitations – 40 Engineers (20 software, 20 hardware), 30 Healthcare (ranging from OT to Med students/residents to Nursing), and 10 Design students (ie Kwantlen Polytechnic University and BCIT product design). The Friday night networking event was organic, people really seemed to enjoy themselves. After the fact, multiple participants approached us about just how exciting it was to be in a room with that many like-minded and passionate individuals. Saturday morning, we had 36 healthcare problem pitches. Most of these were well thought-out, specific pitches which cited data, or included anecdotes. By 10:30-11am on Saturday, teams had formed around various problem pitches – with 10 teams formed in total (we capped the team numbers at 8 members per team).
The rest of it was ‘hatching’. The teams were resourceful, and maintained excitement throughout. Some teams interviewed their colleagues – for example an Occupational Therapist surveying her colleagues; this team actually placed 2nd – and I describe them below. Other teams, went to the nearby Tapestry Assisted Living Home to borrow a walking aid for prototyping. It was really impressive how resourceful these teams were. At 12:30am on the Saturday, there were still more than half of the 75 registered participants still in the building working away. By the time we left at 3:30am, there were still around 15 left. Teams felt that the prototyping resources and mentors available were a vital component of their success.
The final pitches were also impressive. Some of our judges in the preliminary round complained how difficult it was to choose 4 teams out of the 10.
The top 5 teams:
Geyer Family First Place Award: (In addition to $1500, also get a meeting with Paul Geyer):
Smart Curve: This problem was pitched by an practicing Pediatric Occupational Therapist who found a specific pain in fitting wheelchairs for children with spinal problems. The problem is that the process takes 3-4 days with 3-4 separate fittings by the OT in order to complete. Usually this is done over an entire work week. Anyone outside Vancouver has to get to the major urban centre to get this done. The team developed a method to make a 3D contour map and leverage telemedicine to uncouple the analysis from the production.. i.e. turn a 4-day arduous procedure into a 1-day procedure with the final product being mailed to the participant. They also spoke about the additional data for understanding disease and deciding interventions that this kind of tech could leverage — and this data may be another viable revenue option.
VCHRI Second Place Award ($750):
UpRight: This is a smart walker developed specifically for patients with Parkinsons. A little background about the disease is that patients can get 1) Freezegait – they will stop mid-step. This can lead to falls as their walker escapes them. Falls are a major expense to the system, and increase morbidity to patients. 2) A visual, auditory, or tactile ‘cue’ can be used to get someone out of this frozen state. The textbook example is to put a piece of paper on the floor a few steps in front of the patient, they will then be able to unfreeze and walk to this point. This team developed a system to improve walkers – their system senses if the patient’s gait is frozen and then automatically brakes so that the walker doesn’t slip away. Then a laser is projected as a ‘cue’ to prompt the patient, and once they step, the brakes are released. It was definitely the most impressive prototype of the weekend.
UBC Biomedical Engineering Hardware Award ($500):
Companion: A GPS wearable with instructions for those with early dementia. People with early dementia can get lost – often near their homes. These patients often struggle with losing their independence. The product takes GPS and provides the user with directions on how to return home – if they’d like to go home. They were differentiated from other products on the market in that they didn’t compromise independence.
HumanAPI Software Award ($250 and 1 year of HumanAPI access):
Happi: An app for those suffering with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Their goal is to integrate wearables data and provide clinically-validated surveys to users. They also integrated a ‘game-ification’ with a watering plant and certain interventions, such as exercising, that grow the plant.
Doctors of BC Collaboration Award ($250 and DoBC SWAG):
StrollSight – Stroller modifications for blind people. The Engineer that pitched this idea had discussed this problem with an acquaintance of hers who is a blind mother. This mother’s problem was shared by other blind parents – that blind mothers and fathers have to push a stroller while using their other hand for navigation with a walking stick. This either compromises the safety of their child or their balance. Strollsight’s solution is a stroller modification to allow tactile sensation (vibration on the handles) as opposed to a separate walking stick. This way the user has that extra hand free.
For more information on Hatching Health, please visit: