Bioengineering student team earns multiple awards for IV detangling device

01/26/2015 - 2:00pm

A potentially life-saving idea for keeping intravenous (IV) devices tangle free has earned a team of six UI Bioengineering students three recent awards.

The team includes Amelia Johnson, Asha Kirchhoff, Mallika Modak, Stephanie Slania, Divya Tankasala, and Ravi Chandra Yada, and they are advised by Jenny Amos, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate education in Bioengineering at Illinois, and Dr. John Vozenilek, chief medical officer at the Jump Trading Simlulation and Education Center, Peoria, Ill.

The students initially presented their device at the Coulter Competition in Miami in August 2014 and won that national contest.

Prior to traveling to the Miami competition, the team had identified IV tangling and tugging as a persistent and sometimes fatal problem. They noted that it accounts for 77 percent of the complications developed by patients in the intensive care unit. In response, the team developed the Tube Access Point (TAP) device, designed to keep multiple lines untangled.

In mid-December, the team was invited to participate in the Saint Louis University “Real” Elevator Pitch Competition. There the students earned a second-place award in the for-profit category and a $1,500 cash prize for their TAP device. Open to students at Missouri and Illinois universities, the competition is “real” because the 24 finalists pitched their ideas in less than a minute to each potential investor/judge while riding the elevators in St. Louis’ 40-story One Met Square building. Students with successful pitches collected business cards from the investors, and the number of cards collected helped determine the finalists.

In mid-January, the team presented their idea in and won the Pitch Competition of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship Workshop, a week-long event sponsored by the UI Technology Entrepreneur Center. Participating students travelled to California to network face to face with corporate leaders, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, including Illinois alumni. (See photo at right.)

Bioengineering students Divya Tankasala and Asha Kirchhoff presenting at TEC SV15.
Bioengineering students Divya Tankasala and Asha Kirchhoff presenting at TEC SV15.
The team members said they were encouraged by the number of people they networked with who expressed interest in the TAP product.

“In both rounds of the pitch, we got valuable advice from seasoned entrepreneurs, and it was very interesting to hear the perspectives of professionals outside the medical device industry,” said Yada. “We’re going to take their advice and our momentum from this win and work harder than eve to get Tube Access Point to market.”

More on the SLU “Real” Elevator Pitch Competition

Blog entry about the TEC Silicon Valley Competition