Introducing HPN’s Feel-Good Fridays

Oct. 27, 2023
The first installment of Healthcare Purchasing News’ Feel-Good Fridays features an innovative technology created by students at the University of Akron

As a healthcare journalist, I often find myself obsessing about the state of the industry in the U.S. Staffing shortages, supply chain issues, strikes, the emergence of generative artificial intelligence—the list goes on. Sometimes the future looks bleak. And that’s why I, Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Purchasing News, am introducing a new blog about some of the more “feel good” stories in our ever-evolving industry. The blogs will appear on Fridays once or twice a month, because who doesn’t need a little good news before the weekend?

On to the good news.

Earlier this month, the University of Akron (UA) published an article on the university’s Medical Device Design team, a group of students dedicated to solving medical needs of the Summit County community. The team created a new assisted technology device designed for fishing for local resident William (Willie) Tresz.

Tresz has Muscular Dystrophy, and the disorder has prevented him from fishing due to hand control. “Through a collaborative effort involving the Medical Device Design Team, Summit Developmental Disabilities (Summit DD), TechVerse and Inclusioneers, the group achieved the remarkable feat of helping Tresz, achieve his long-held dream of fishing once more by creating an adaptive fishing pole,” the article says.

Lena Eljaouhari, a junior biomedical engineering major from Brunswick, Ohio, was quoted in the article saying that “As a biomedical engineering student, I already have an interest in creating engineering solutions for medical problems. We’re able to look into the design process of things that will make people's lives better. It's such a cool experience to work with Summit DD and be able to work out something from start to finish and see what it evolves into by seeing the actual prototype and then to see our customer using it.”

The article adds “This adaptive fishing pole project was initiated in the fall of 2022, which involved introductory meetings, measurements and initial planning. The design options were solidified as the spring 2023 semester began and ideas were presented to Tresz. The decision was made to proceed with a sip-and-puff switch, a battery powered device that would enable the user to control a device by using their mouth to ‘sip’ (inhale) or ‘puff’ (exhale) on a straw, tube or wand. Tresz’ device was modified as a ‘puff’ switch, a puff of air through the straw, which provides him with the control to stop or start reeling in the fishing line independently. This was the simplest and most effective way to give him the ability to fish.”

Hearing a story involving students innovating projects before they even graduate is certainly inspiring. With all the doom and gloom in the world right now, not just in healthcare, it is a wonderful thing to know that the future generation has a sense of compassion for their community.

I always say that healthcare is full of really smart people and after reading this story, I’m convinced that is something that won’t change in our industry moving forward.

The University of Akron has the article.

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