10/28/2011 8:00:00 AM
A group of bioengineering seniors are winners of the University of Illinois’ I2P Idea to Product Competition, which examines ideas at their earliest stage.
The students are designing a knee brace that will help patients to stand up from a seated position. Their targeted users are senior citizens, stoke victims and people who have had workplace injuries.
As one of five groups who won the regional competition, they received a prize of $250 to purchase materials for their prototype, test and manufacture it, and they will receive consultation services from someone from the Office of Technology Management or the Research Park to help them seek a patent. In addition, The Technology Entrepreneur Center will pay the students’ expenses for travel to St. Louis for the regional competition in February. The winner of the regional competition will be eligible for invitation to the International I2P Competition in 2012, which has a prize of $10,000.
Dr. Philbert Chen, a physician in occupational medicine at Carle Clinic in Urbana, is their mentor on the project.
“We will have access to patients who will be able to test (the prototype) out for us in the spring,” Osbrink said.
The group also hopes to create a brace that will cost around $200. Existing custom-made knee braces costs thousands of dollars, Weida said. The group hopes to have their first version of their prototype complete by early December.