For the first time in Demo Day history, a team made up of exclusively online students received the coveted Palais Senior Design Prize.
The winning team members live all across the country, hailing from California, New York, Ohio and Tennessee. From a distance, the team utilized online tools like Slack and Google Drive to stay organized, communicate regularly and bring home the top prize.
Under the mentorship of Associate Professor Pavan Turaga, electrical engineering seniors Makayla Donaldson, Hadassah Fromowitz, Robert Graves, Olivia Ruthven and Timothy Sparks, who formed their team via a class discussion board, designed and built the Personal Care e-ssistant, a hospital bed that minimizes the risk of pressure ulcers. The need for this kind of innovation is key as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates more than 2.5 million people in the United States develop pressure ulcers annually, and an estimated 60,000 Americans die each year as a result.
With that, Donaldson, Fromowitz, Graves, Ruthven and Sparks worked to address this prevalent issue, jumping at the chance to help create a solution that would not only improve the standard of care and quality of life for patients but also reduce the risk of caregiver injury.
“There are many factors that contribute to the formation of pressure ulcers,” said Fromowitz, who came up with the team’s project platform from witnessing a close family member whose spouse was bedridden due to medical complications.