News and Announcements

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:53 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    Heart is where the chips are, helping keep the beat

    MIKE WILLIAMS

     – APRIL 24, 2018

    A Rice University student team’s demonstration of a next-generation, wireless pacemaker array could point to the future of medical sensors.

    The Love and Pace team of Rice electrical and computer engineering seniors demonstrated its design for a pacemaker that would place a network of chips the size of a grain of rice in various places inside the heart. These would communicate with a base station located under a patient’s skin and charge via radio frequency.

    READ MORE AND SEE VIDEO


  • Monday, April 16, 2018 1:50 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    AMY MCCAIG  – APRIL 16, 2018

    A team of Rice University students hopes a device they developed to train doctors and nurses in developing countries and low-resource areas in the U.S. to prevent and treat cervical cancer will improve the outlook for women with this disease.

    OEDK Gyno-mite team

    From left: Christine Luk, Rachel Lambert, Sonia Parra and Elizabeth Stone. Photo credit: Jeff Fitlow.


    Cervical cancer kills close to 300,000 women per year worldwide, with approximately 85 percent of these deaths occurring in developing countries.

    Rice students Christine Luk, Elizabeth Stone and Rachel Lambert are senior design students enrolled in the course Global Health Design. Together with graduate student Sonia Parra, they developed a low-cost, interactive training model that mimics a woman’s pelvic region and can be used to practice different cervical cancer screening and treatment procedures. The training model, which was developed at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) and was based on models developed by other teams of students over the past few years (including Christine Diaz ’17, current Rice students Caroline Brigham, Theresa Sonka and Karen Vasquez, and Malawi Polytechnic students Waheed Mia and Mary Mnewa) was created in collaboration with the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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  • Thursday, April 12, 2018 1:41 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    A lot of needles may help restart a heart

    MIKE WILLIAMS

     – APRIL 12, 2018

    The skin presents a formidable barrier to life-saving defibrillators, but a team of students from Rice University believes it has found a way around that problem.

    Or, more to the point, through.

    The Zfib team of Rice senior bioengineering students created an add-on for automated external defibrillators – aka AEDs – that literally punches through the skin to help deliver a jolt to a person in cardiac arrest.

    READ MORE AND SEE VIDEO

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2018 1:38 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    Rice U. team’s drones aren’t just for show

    MIKE WILLIAMS

     – APRIL 11, 2018

    Light-laden drones over the Super Bowl and Olympics were attractive demonstrations of the technology, but Rice University students have higher aspirations for their flying flocks.

    Six Rice electrical and computer engineering students have developed the hardware and software necessary to coordinate sensor-carrying drones that can evaluate local atmospheric conditions, measure electronic signals such as Wi-Fi, map areas in three dimensions and more.

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  • Monday, April 02, 2018 1:33 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    KATHARINE SHILCUTT

     – APRIL 2, 2018
    The student-run Rice Electric Vehicle Team represents all academic years and over 10 different majors.

    The student-run Rice Electric Vehicle Team represents all academic years and over 10 different majors.

    The Rice Electric Vehicle Team unveiled its competition car March 31 outside the Abercrombie Laboratory for the upcoming Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, an international competition which scores vehicles based on their energy efficiency. The student-run organization designed and constructed the car from carbon fiber over the past two years; the vehicle runs on a 48-volt battery and can achieve speeds of 30 miles per hour. El Desafiador, or “The Challenger,” will be shipped to Sonoma, Calif., for the marathon, where it will compete April 19 to 22 against 150 other high school and university teams’ electric vehicles. (Photo by Katharine Shilcutt)

     

  • Monday, April 02, 2018 1:31 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    Students’ monitor will help moms in labor

    MIKE WILLIAMS

     – APRIL 2, 2018

    Rice University seniors are developing an efficient and inexpensive uterine contraction monitor to help save the lives of mothers in labor and their newborns in resource-poor settings.

    A team of bioengineering students who call themselves Contractionally Obligated designed, built and programmed not only a sensor to monitor women in labor but also a unique test rig. They plan to validate the monitor’s accuracy with the help of faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and their patients. 

    READ MORE AND SEE VIDEO


  • Thursday, March 29, 2018 1:28 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    Device for patients with diabetes puts feet first

    MIKE WILLIAMS

     – MARCH 29, 2018

    Patients with diabetes are often at risk of cuts or other injuries to their extremities that they may not be able to feel or easily check. Rice University students have developed a device to help them find early signs of ulceration that, left untreated, could endanger their health and even lead to amputation.  READ MORE AND SEE VIDEO

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2017 1:03 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    JADE BOYD – DECEMBER 20, 2017

    POSTED IN: CURRENT NEWS, FEATURED STORIES

    Rice 360º will continue fundraising for effort to end newborn deaths in Africa

    NEST360°, an international team of engineers, doctors and global health experts, has won $15 million through the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition and will continue to raise money for its visionary effort to end preventable newborn deaths in Africa.

    NEST360° is a collaboration of Rice University, the University of Malawi, Northwestern University, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and 3rd Stone Design of San Rafael, Calif.

    “Our whole team is committed to continuing our work to scale NEST (Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies) across Africa in order to save 500,000 newborn lives every year,” said Rebecca Richards-Kortum, a Rice bioengineering professor who represented the team together with three others Dec. 11 in NEST360°’s final presentation at the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition in Chicago. The other NEST360° presenters were Dr. Queen Dube, a clinical pediatric specialist at Malawi’s largest hospital; Joy Lawn, professor and director of the Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive and Child Health Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; and Robert Miros, CEO of 3rd Stone Design.

    Four finalists from a field of more than 1,900 applicants vied for the $100 million grant, which was announced today by the foundation.

    “We’re doubly grateful to the MacArthur Foundation, both for its $15 million commitment and its confidence in making us a 100&Change finalist,” said Richards-Kortum, director of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health. “The 18 months our team spent preparing for this competition clearly showed there has never been a better time to address neonatal mortality in Africa. The political resolve, both internationally and among African nations, has never been stronger. The technology is attainable, and it can be delivered with a market-based approach that African hospitals can afford. Everything is aligned. We will solve this problem.”

    Queen Dube, Joy Lawn, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Robert Miros and David LeebronLong Description

    NEST360° presenters (from left) Queen Dube, Joy Lawn, Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Robert Miros with Rice President David Leebron at the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change finals competition Dec. 11. (Photo courtesy Rice 360)

    More than 1 million African newborns die each year, and most could be saved with simple technologies that keep babies warm, help them breathe and help doctors diagnose and manage infections. NEST360° is creating a rugged package of 17 Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies for African hospitals, as well as the distribution network to affordably deliver and repair them continentwide. Twelve of the 17 NEST technologies have already been created or are in clinical testing, and prototypes exist for five more. Several NEST devices were invented by Rice students at the university’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) and were improved and tested by Rice 360° students and staffers in Houston and Blantyre, Malawi.

    “Rice 360°’s Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies identifies the opportunity for action to improve the long-term prospects for the world’s children,” said Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s managing director who leads 100&Change. “It proposes a feasible and durable solution to remediate the effects of premature birth with its suite of 17 life-saving neonatal care technologies designed and adapted for low-resource settings. It proved worthy of MacArthur’s support. MacArthur is deeply committed to helping Rice 360° attract the support its critical work requires and finding partners to realize its impactful solution.”

    Richards-Kortum and Maria Oden, OEDK director and NEST360° co-lead, thanked the entire NEST team for its dedication in preparing for the 100&Change competition. The team includes dozens of people on three continents.

    “Every member of our team, including more than a dozen Rice students and Rice 360° staff, worked countless hours on NEST,” Oden said. “But a special note of thanks goes to the team leadership in Malawi, Tanzania and Nigeria, including Nigerian Minister of Health Isaac Adewole, who traveled to Chicago in support of this project. Our African partners are vital to NEST’s success. It simply won’t happen without them.”

    Richards-Kortum said the team has already begun to make plans for raising the rest of the funding they’ll need to make NEST a reality.

    “It will take an investment on the order of $100 million to change things for African newborns, and there are few options for securing that much support at once,” Richards-Kortum said. “The good news is that we can build that magnitude of support from combined sources, and we’re committed to leveraging the $15 million to do that.”

    Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor and professor of bioengineering and of electrical and computer engineering at Rice. Oden is a full teaching professor in bioengineering.

  • Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:26 AM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    Ictal Inhibitors Wins Second at Asilomar

    The Ictal Inhibitors Team of Rice University Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Congratulations to 2017 ECE Senior Design Team Ictal Inhibitors on winning second place in the student paper competition at the 51st Asilomar Conference on Signals and Systems!

    Their paper, “On Developing an FPGA Based System for Real Time Seizure Prediction,” was authored by Sarah Hooper, Erik Biegert, Marissa Levy, Luke Van der Spoel, Xiaoran Zhang, all class of 2017, ECE junior Tianyi Zhang, their advisor, ECE faculty member Behnaam Aazhang, and Dr. Nitin Tandon of UT Health Science Center.

    Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by unprovoked and recurring seizures and affects almost 3 million Americans today. Surgery has promising results but also some serious risks. The Aazhang group is looking for an alternate solution through electrical neurostimulation.

    “Our research is focused on creating a seizure prediction system to help improve epilepsy treatment,” said Hooper, who presented at the conference on behalf of the team. “Over the past few years, we have worked to create a new seizure prediction algorithm that can predict seizures before they occur, and we implemented this algorithm on FPGA hardware.”

    Senior Design teams advised by Aazhang and ECE faculty member Gary Woods have tackled the same topic for the past few years, always building on the work of the previous team. The Ictal Inhibitors iteration worked to develop an algorithm that they proved could accurately predict upcoming seizures before the brain enters the ictal state, the state where the individual is actively having a seizure. The team’s algorithm predicted all seizures in their data set at least two minutes before their onset, with 3.9 false positives per hour.

    Future teams will work on implantable hardware that will respond to this prediction, applying an electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain to prevent the seizure.

    “I'm excited to see the progress that this year's research team makes as they move the project forward,” Hooper said.

    The Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers is a yearly conference held in Pacific Grove, CA. It provides a forum for presenting recent and novel work in various areas of theoretical and applied signal processing. The 2017 Student Paper Award winners were announced Oct. 31.

    This is the third recent award for the team. In April, the Ictal Inhibitors Team won top honors at the OEDK Showcase. The Excellence in Engineering Design Award brought with it a prize of $5,000. Two weeks before that, they took Best Senior Design Award at ECE Corporate Affiliates Day.

    “We’re really happy our work got second place in the student paper contest,” Hooper said. “We're excited to see that our goal of using electrical engineering to improve epilepsy treatment is something that got other people in the field excited and garnered support.”


    Jennifer Hunter, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist
    Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 09:45
  • Tuesday, November 07, 2017 4:16 PM | Amy Kavalewitz (Administrator)

    'Found in Translation' wins hackathon

    “Medical translation can be very tricky. A patient might say, `Your child is having a fit,’ and with Google Translate it comes out, `Your child is dead.’”
    The speaker is Nishant Verma, a junior in bioengineering at Rice University, whose team, Found in Translation, hopes to ease miscommunications and non-communications between doctors and patients. Verma and his teammates won the Global Oncology Prize during Health++ 2017, an annual hackathon at Stanford University held Oct. 21-22.

    The event drew more than 200 participants, resulting in 52 ideas pitched and 33 projects completed. Some $13,000 in prizes were awarded, with $500 going to Found in Translation.

    Verma went to Stanford with a vague idea about what to do with second-hand medical equipment in the world’s under-resourced regions. On campus he met Dr. Victor Cueto, a pediatrician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. From clinical experience, Cueto understood the challenges of dealing with patients who speak little or no English.
    “Victor told us the need was heaviest with poorer people, especially immigrants. Sometimes the people who need the most help can’t get it because they can’t communicate what the problem is. The app has to be very accurate,” Verma said.

    Also joining Verma’s hackathon team were an Arabic medical translator, a Stanford MBA student from Japan, a sophomore in bioengineering at the University of California-Berkeley, and a research physician from San Francisco.

    At a traditional hackathon, participants often work on projects around the clock, fueled by coffee and energy drinks. At Health++, hacking officially started at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and continued until 2:30 p.m. Sunday. “I was working with adults. We stopped around 7:30 Saturday and got some sleep,” Verma said.

    “It was an unusual approach to a hackathon. We didn’t do a lot of hacking,” he said. “We did a lot of talking, focusing on an understanding of the need and the clinical implementations of a solution. We had people on the team from many different backgrounds, and everybody had something to offer in discussion. I believe Victor left with a deeper understanding of the problem as well as a sketch of a solution, and he is looking for avenues to take the project even further,” he said.

    Patrick Kurp, Engineering Communications
    Department: 

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