Innovation Challenge Recognizes Visionary Thinking

By: Anita Srikameswaran

Projects that will alert people with Parkinson’s disease that it’s time to take another dose of medicine,  support smokers as they try to kick the habit, and hasten the healing of diabetic skin ulcers were awarded $100,000 prizes last night as the first winners of the Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh). Also, three other projects received $25,000 awards during Monday night’s live judging event at the University Club in Oakland.

Pinch Photo#1aMore than 90 teams participated in the challenge, which was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Office of the Provost and the Innovation Institute. Each team submitted a video entry to answer the question, “How do we empower people to take control of their own health care challenges,” during the first phase of the competition, which began in February. Twenty-nine teams were then asked to provide a written description of their projects, and 10 finalists were chosen to present during the showcase.

“PInCH is a celebration of the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of some of the brightest, most enterprising teams of visionary thinkers in and around the Pittsburgh region,” said CTSI director Steven E. Reis, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical research, Health Sciences, and professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We are looking forward to using the PInCh model in the future to again tap the vast bank of creativity, talent, and drive available in Western Pennsylvania.”

In addition to the cash prize, the top three winners will also get the assistance of a project manager to begin implementing their ideas.

Top Three Winners:

QuitNinja: A smartphone app to encourage smoking cessation with real-time interventions when the urge to smoke hits

SPark: Will adapt smartphone motion sensor technology to monitor the movement of a person with Parkinson’s disease and provide guidance about when to take medication

Sealion: Bioactive bandages that can speed healing of skin ulcers and be applied weekly by patients at home

$25,000 consolation award:

Circlebacks:  Medication, appointment monitoring and more to help people after hospital discharge

IOTAS – It’s OK to Ask Someone: a text-based service that allows teens to discreetly ask questions about sexual health and get answers from knowledgeable, trained experts

MedGuardian: A prescription notification system