Capstone Innovations are proposed in the final phase of Carle Illinois' engineering-based, innovation-oriented medical school curriculum. The fourth-year students research a problem identified during their clinical rotations, propose a solution, and then recruit and lead a cross-disciplinary team that includes engineering students from The Grainger College of Engineering and business student consultants from Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, to develop a new prototype or process that will potentially change the practice of medicine and improve patient outcomes. Capstone Innovations at Carle Illinois College of Medicine are supported by The Henry Dale and Betty Smith Family.
Capstone Innovations 2022
Bionic Knee Brace
to Empower Cerebral
A new bionic knee brace designed by physician innovators at Carle Illinois College of Medicine could help cerebral palsy (CP) patients overcome muscle stiffness that limits their mobility.
A new seizure-monitoring baseball cap called Epicap could help doctors diagnose patients with epilepsy more quickly and comprehensively, using a small video camera built into the visor of the cap.
Trains Future Clinicians to Safely Intubate Patients
A new device developed by two Carle Illinois College of Medicine students is set to help other medical students safely master a common lifesaving but difficult-to-learn medical procedure.
Improving Safety and Communication
Student-Designed App Translates Into Improved Doctor-Patient Communication
Carle Illinois College of Medicine students Elizabeth Woodburn and Kitan Akinosho designed a new app called Language Lifeline that breaks communication barriers between patients who don’t speak English fluently and the medical staff caring for them.
Safety Harness to Protect First Responders
Carle Illinois physician innovators have
developed a new system to protect emergency medical personnel while they’re working to save patients’ lives. The Emergency Medical Safety Harness system for ambulances is intended to protect medics working in the rear of the vehicle from on-the-job injury.
Surgical Smoke Evacuator to Increase
Surgical Safety for Patients and Clinicians
A Carle Illinois College of Medicine student innovation is set to make mouth and throat surgeries safer by clearing the air of potentially hazardous surgical smoke.
Designing Solutions for Improved Outcomes
Aimed at improving surgical treatment
for one of the main causes of urinary incontinence in older women, this new
approach designed at Carle Illinois College of Medicine applies techniques commonly used in hernia surgeries to the surgical repair of prolapsed pelvic organs.
Physician Innovators Breathe New Life into Old Spirometer Designs
Physician innovators at Carle Illinois College of Medicine have improved a device that helps prevent pneumonia in patients recovering from surgery. The innovation could save lives and staff time at hospitals across the country.
First IUD Inserter Designed for Intra Operative Use
Carle Illinois College of Medicine students Valerie Chen and Matthew Lee partnered with students in the Department of Bioengineering to develop SureThread, a novel IUD insertion device specifically
designed for IUD insertion after C-section.
Advancing Patient Care
Innovative Fluoroscopic Imaging: Real-Time Wire Localization for Interventional Radiology Procedures
A Carle Illinois team has created an innovative new system to guide physicians in real time as they treat liver cancers with an increasingly prominent procedure called radioembolization. The minimally invasive procedure treats liver cancer by using a catheter and-wire system to deploy radioactive microbeads in blood vessels supplying a liver tumor. Currently, physicians rely on static images to guide their placement of the microbeads, but the lack of real-time imaging can make it difficult to avoid damage to healthy tissue. The Carle Illinois team has designed an automated fluoroscopic imaging system that would provide the radiologist with “driving directions” to reach the targeted vessel and real-time feedback on the location of the catheter and wire at any given time during the procedure. The goal is to reduce the need for contrast dyes and decrease procedure time. The team includes Carle Illinois' Andrew Chang and Phani Gaddipati.
New App Charts Course for Better Treatment of Chronic Pain
Two Carle Illinois students have created an app that gives physicians an at-a-glance view of how a patient’s chronic pain changes over time and with different treatments. The innovation equips clinicians with the data needed to develop more effective treatment plans and help patients better manage their own pain. The mobile app designed by Samantha Houser and Andrea Hall is different than existing pain management apps because it translates a patient’s answers to standardized pain assessment questions into a graphical representation that offers clinicians real-time insight into pain patterns. Patients can log in from virtually anywhere at any time to securely record information about their pain trends and medication usage, allowing physicians to make data-driven pain management and treatment decisions. Future development may include making the app available in languages other than English and creating automated reminders for patients to record their pain trends.
Winning ‘Smart Toilet’ Automates Urine
A Carle Illinois College of Medicine student team’s updated design for a ‘smart toilet’ to collect and store patient urine samples stands to expedite the diagnostic and monitoring process. New features to automatically analyze urine samples
represent an advancement, especially for patients with kidney disease, who require regular monitoring. Carle Illinois student Yusi Gong won the 2019 Health Make-a-Thon competition with her design for a commode-style toilet that collects urine samples over a 24-hour period and stores the samples in a portable refrigerated chamber for analysis later. Now, Gong and her Capstone partner, fellow Carle Illinois student Jian Zhuang have expanded the design features to incorporate protein analysis of the patient’s urine sample. Working alongside senior design students from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Gong and Zhuang have automated flow from the commode into a custom reservoir to be imaged using paper microscopy techniques. The resulting data can yield valuable diagnostic evidence because urine contains a breadth of biomarkers that provide physicians with clues about many disease states, including kidney disease. The updated smart toilet design is a fixed commode that also allows for analysis of a single void, in addition to the 24-hour collection. Following analysis, results
would be uploaded to the ‘cloud.’