ECE ILLINOIS senior's project named as Health Make-A-Thon winner
ECE ILLINOIS senior Akeem Kennedy's project "Nouvo: The Smart Pacifier" was recently named as one of the ten winners of the Health Make-A-Thon, hosted by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. For a month before the event, anyone from the Champaign County community was able to submit their ideas for the contest. Out of 140 entries that focused on improving human health, 20 teams were selected as finalists.
On April 13, 2019, these ten teams presented their ideas at the Beckman Insitute for Advanced Sciences and Technology to pitch their ideas regarding the future of healthcare innovation. According to an article from the Carle College of Medicine, the teams were composed of "students, healthcare practitioners, and citizen-scientists from the University of Illinois, Carle Foundation Hospital, and the broader Champaign County."
In a manner similar to the popular TV show "Shark Tank," each team pitched their ideas in a friendlier 'dolphin tank' format. Each team was given two minutes to present their idea and the panel of judges were given three minutes to ask questions. Following each presentation, judges and audience members voted on each team's idea through a customized voting app.
Kennedy and his teammates were selected as one of the ten winners, receiving a special Health Maker Lab coin, symbolizing the $10,000 reward to complete research, build prototypes, and potentially bring their product to market.
Nouvo is a smart pacifier that is able to detect acidity levels in babies' saliva as a biomarker for acid reflux and airway complications in infants. That data is then sent to users' mobile devices to help parents understand the symptoms and streamlining the physicians' decision-making process.