Out of 46 teams from 13 universities, the £10,000 prize fund was awarded to Calidiscope. The team from Cardiff University pitched their idea, a mattress topper that uses innovative sensors and machine learning to detect pressure ulcers, to a judging panel at the virtual competition final on Tuesday night.
The competition showcased global health ideas created by students from UK universities including Imperial College London, Newcastle University and Queen’s University Belfast. The projects pitched featured a robotic glove to improve grip in people with hand weakness and an AI platform to remotely monitor diabetic foot ulcers.
Participants had two minutes to present their ideas, followed by a round of questions from the panel and the audience. Attendees of the final also voted for their top finalist with the Audience Choice Award going to Happyr Health, who developed a mobile app to help children with chronic pain.
Cardiff University medical student Luthfun Nessa and co-project lead Anna McGovern are the founders of Calidiscope. Their mattress topper integrates novel sensors and machine learning to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers. The solution can measure a marker of inflammation, allowing pressure ulcers to be detected at an early stage. Bedsores are estimated to affect 4-10% of all people admitted to hospital in the UK. Developing these ulcers means a two-to-four-fold increase in the risk of death in older people in intensive care units.
Calidiscope hopes to provide better care for people with pressure ulcers by helping nurses determine when to reposition patients in hospital beds. Their idea would provide nurses with automated documentation about the patient’s condition and treatment via a smartphone.
“We are thrilled to win the £10,000!” said Nessa and McGovern. “It will help us immensely with the research and development of building our full-sized device, which will enable us to start our clinical testing and accelerate our progression. This has been a great experience and we’re extremely thankful for the opportunity”.
Formerly known as the Student Challenges Competition, the Health Innovation Prize has been running for eight years. Every year, IGHI invites UK university students to submit their global health ideas in a bid to win £10,000. A small number are then chosen to face a panel of judges at the final of the competition.
This year, the task of evaluating the pitches was given to Dr Richard Smith, IGHI visiting professor and former editor of the BMJ; Dr Ana Luisa Neves, IGHI Advanced Research Fellow and Associate Director of the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre; and Dr Will Cavendish, Digital Services Leader for Arup.
You can find more information about the Health Innovation Prize on its website.