BME Capstone Project Wins IEEE Kelly Manning Award

BME499 Auto-injection team in front of their presentation

A BME/ECE design team received the first place IEEE Kelly Manning Award for their capstone design project on “Optimizing Safety & Efficiency: Advancement in a Naloxone Auto-Injection Device” in collaboration with a University of Victoria research group.

The opioid crisis has been ongoing for many years and continues to have devastating consequences throughout Canada and the U.S. Powerful substances such as fentanyl are the main cause of high rates of accidental opioid overdose deaths affecting many Canadians. Although Naloxone (an opioid antagonist designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose) is readily available in Canada, a secondary person is required to administer the Naloxone, proving to be a major limitation for those who use opioids alone.

The project aims to improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of an auto-injection device developed by a research group at the University of Victoria. The device is designed to be worn on the upper arm and functions by continuously monitoring one’s SpO2 level which is an initial indicator of an overdose. When SpO2 levels drop rapidly compared to baseline levels, the device automatically injects the user with a full dose of Naloxone, reversing the overdose and allowing the user to seek further emergency aid. The team made significant progress, particularly in the improvement of injecting efficiency, by achieving a detection, needle insertion, injection, and needle withdrawal time of ~6 seconds. This is within the incredibly short time range needed for the device to be useful in case of an overdose.

Although the design needs further improvements before the device is ready for clinical trials, the team is honoured to be part of a hugely meaningful project with the potential to save countless lives.

Congratulations to Amy, Hannah, Irene, Sara and Syvanna, and to supervisors Art Makosinski, Dr Ned Djilali, and Dr Chris Dennison.

Other BME projects presented at the BME499/ECE499 Capstone Design Project Presentation were "Improved Vaginal Speculum for Adult Pelvic Examinations," "Innovative Wearable Foot Sensor for Personalized Osteoarthritis Pain Management," "Mouthguard Impact Testing," and "Steady Flow Test Apparatus for Cardiovascular Devices." 

Photo credit: Armando Tura