NIH Announces Winners of 2014 NIBIB’s Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge

September 15, 2014

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced the winners of the 2014 Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) challenge. Winning teams of undergraduate students who came up with state-of-the-art technologies that meet the principles of biomedical engineering design and applications will be awarded at the annual Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference this October.

NIH Announces Winners of 2014 NIBIB’s Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) ChallengeSpearheaded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the DEBUT challenge is aimed at developing more innovative biomedical technologies and bioengineering techniques to further advance today’s healthcare and medical research. The competition’s criteria for judging was based on the significance of the issue being addressed, impact on today’s healthcare, originality of the device design, and availability of a working prototype ready for demonstration.

The winning team, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, received first place for their AccuSpine project entry. The AccuSpine is a fully enhanced pedicle probe intuitively designed to address postoperative neurological or vascular complications that are responsible for misaligned placement of screws along the spine in fusion surgeries. This revolutionary device uses LED lights and vibrations to send feedback or warning of screw breaches to the attending surgeon during critical spinal fusion surgery.

A team of seniors from Boston University won the second place prize for their inventive Sensory Substitution Glove project. This innovative glove was engineered to enhance mobility of visually impaired people. Unlike the traditional white cane, this glove allows the user to adapt the sensor area and create a wider or narrower sensing angle with its enclosures such as ultrasound and infrared sensors, accelerometer, microprocessor, and small speaker, giving the users ample time to react according to its environment.

The third prize was awarded to a pair of equally revolutionary project entries: the Nutriflow device and a diaper-based system for neonatal urine collection, dehydration assessment and bacterial infection detection.

Undergraduate students from Rice University, Houston designed the Nutriflow to deliver a low cost solution for tube breastfeeding of low birth weight infants. This system separates fat content in breast milk from the aqueous portion of milk and increases the fat content that reaches to infant from about 58 to 95 percent., The diaper-based system for neonatal urine collection, dehydration assessment, and bacterial infection detection project was designed by a team from the University of California, Riverside and was tailored to introduce a cost-effective early warning device to detect illness caused by dehydration or bacterial infection for optimal point-of-care diagnosis in third world countries with limited to no access to modern disease diagnostic technologies.

The DEBUT Challenge garnered 63 eligible entries from 33 universities in 19 U.S. states. These groundbreaking biomedical technologies from various universities across the states could go a long way in advancing the quality of clinical care and today’s biomedical engineering field. AIV has made it their mission to support biomedical and clinical engineering professionals worldwide and connect this wide network of biomedical organizations through creating awareness on the significance of this field to day-by-day hospital operations.

Learn more about AIV’s commitment to the biomedical field and browse through our list of national, state, and local Biomedical Associations at

About the Author

Laura Collier

Laura Collier

Laura Collier has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. She is the Marketing Manager at AIV, Inc.

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