Thought for ‘Smart’ Knee Brace Wins Scholar Entrepreneurship Contest

LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell college students developing a “smart” brace that can track a patient’s recovery time from a knee personal injury have gained the university’s annual engineering pitch contest for budding business people. 

The concept for the brace, known as ConnectKnee, topped a industry of 17 entries in UMass Lowell’s seventh once-a-year Francis School of Engineering Prototyping Competitiveness. The contest asks university student groups to pitch an ground breaking item or assistance just before expert judges and awards seed dollars to aid make the winning ideas a truth. 

The levels of competition is component of UMass Lowell’s yearlong DifferenceMaker software, which teaches pupils in all majors abilities they can use to launch their very own ventures to handle problems in company and the local community. 

ConnectKnee is a brace fitted with biosensors that check the patient’s muscle mass activity and keep track of the knee’s selection of movement. Data gathered by the product hyperlinks to a smartphone that permits the individual and attending doctor or actual physical therapist to evaluate the wearer’s restoration time, according to biomedical engineering big Alyssa Mulry of Rutland. She arrived up with the notion for the solution after her cousin was laid up for a lengthy time right after dislocating a knee cap in the course of a lacrosse activity. 

“I saw firsthand how constrained and discouraging restoration from a knee injury was. The idea actually just took off immediately after that,” Mulry claimed. 

Fellow UMass Lowell learners functioning with Mulry to acquire the brace consist of mechanical engineering key Jackson Kelley of Walpole and biomedical engineering major Tiffany Miller of Hooksett, N.H. 

“We are stunned and really grateful to have won,” Mulry stated following the function, held remotely in December by means of Zoom. “There were so many outstanding teams presenting. The competitiveness was really potent.” 

The students’ pitch just before the judges contributed to the team’s accomplishment, in accordance to Kelley. 

“We worked on the product’s company prepare a lot and I consider it paid off,” he mentioned.

With the get, the ConnectKnee staff acquired $2,500 to establish the brace and landed an automated berth in the DifferenceMaker $50,000 Thought Challenge, the program’s premier pitch competitiveness to be held in the spring. The pupils are veterans of the problem, getting won the Contribution to a More healthy Life style prize of $4,000 in that occasion very last calendar year, also for ConnectKnee. 

The crew is chaotic building a prototype for the brace, in accordance to Mulry and Kelley. 

“We just can’t hold out to commence acquiring people today consider it out so we can obtain opinions. We also hope to proceed to do the job with the DifferenceMaker program and other mentors to see where by the foreseeable future of ConnectKnee can go,” she stated. 

Judges in the prototyping level of competition integrated UMass Lowell alumni Chad LaFrance of Texas Devices Mark Saab, founding trustee of the Saab Household Basis Ram Sudireddy, co-founder of Bento and Manijeh Goldberg, CEO and founder of Privo Systems, together with Jack Wilson, president emeritus of the UMass process. Wilson established the Jack M. Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurship at UMass Lowell, the place he is a distinguished professor of higher training, rising technological know-how and innovation.

Because the DifferenceMaker application commenced in 2012, contributors have raised $5 million in external funding, launched 38 firms and submitted for or gained 10 patents. All those ventures contain Nonspec, a business based mostly in Lowell that manufactures low-price, adaptable prosthetics.

UMass Lowell is a countrywide exploration college located on a significant-vitality campus in the heart of a world wide neighborhood. The college delivers its extra than 18,000 learners bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business enterprise, instruction, engineering, wonderful arts, overall health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers substantial-top quality instructional plans, vigorous arms-on studying and personalized interest from major faculty and workers, all of which get ready graduates to be ready for operate, for lifestyle and for all the environment offers.