The clock is ticking down as this year’s Conrad Spirit Of Innovation Challenge, an international science-oriented competition for high school students, semi-finalists continue fine-tuning their submissions for their upcoming deadline on Thursday, January 16.
Milken currently has three teams that are contending for placement in the finals: “The Helping Hand,” by Jordana Gotlieb ‘15 and Ashley Khorsandi ‘15, “Medi-Cloud” by Ali Deutsch ‘14, Leila Solouki ‘14, and Sarah Weitzman ‘15, and “Orthioplexy” by Ziv Batscha ‘17 and Jeremy Horwich ‘17.
Conrad has four categories of innovation with grand prizes in each. Both “The Helping Hand” and “Orthioplexy” are in the Health and Nutrition category, and “Medi-Cloud” is submitted under Cyber Technology and Security. The top prize in each category is a $10,000 grant to continue with the invention’s development.
This is the second year that “The Helping Hand” has been named a semi-finalist. “The Helping Hand” is designed to assist with navigation for the blind by identifying and avoiding objects. Utilizing a camera and ultrasonic sensors, the glove collects data of the environment, processed and communicated for those who cannot see. Having reached the semi-finals last year, the team is making a few tweaks and adjustments with the hope that this year’s submission will advance them into finals. The aim for the invention is to provide increased safety that will contribute to greater independence for the visually disabled.
Also vying for a position in the finals in the Health and Nutrition category is the Orthioplexy Armband, made by “Orthioplexy”, which is specifically designed to monitor narcoleptic and cataplectic patients’ muscle movement and behavior. Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that is often caused by cataplexy, a weakening of muscles. Narcolepsy afflicts about 1 in every 2000 Americans. With a genuine concern to help others, Batscha and Horwich are driven to create a “product that is beneficial to all those currently diagnosed with narcolepsy-cataplexy by giving them a sense of security and reducing the dangers that may occur in the event that a patient may undergo a severe attack,” according to Batscha.
“Medi-Cloud” is the third semi-finalist from Milken. The team has their sights on enabling people to easily manage health care records through an online platform. Solouki explained that “we submitted to Conrad because this program is a fantastic way to launch our invention and gain feedback from experts in this technological field.” “Medi-Cloud” is designed to give an active role to the patient for maintaining and having immediate access to their medical history that in turn provides a more complete picture to a prescribing doctor for the medical advice offered.
The Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge celebrates the life and entrepreneurial spirit of astronaut Pete Conrad, third man to walk on the Moon.