Two teams of students from Indiana University have taken home the top prize in the annual Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge. The university says the competition encourages students to “use technology to address compelling problems.”

The teams, which were required to include at least one student completing a major or minor in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at IU, pitched their ideas to judges virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two projects, Modular 3D-Printed Elastomeric Prosthetics and NeuroNursing, were named co-winners and each received $7,500.

M3DE Pro, created by graduate students Veda Narayana Koraganji and Vakar Ahmed, aims to make cost-effective upper-limb prosthetics that “are designed to replicate the most frequently used human grasps.”

Koraganji says they plan to use the funding to make fully-functional prototypes.

“With the money we receive from the competition, Vakar and I will purchase simulation software and raw materials, which will allow us to make and test the designs rapidly,” Koraganji said. “We have connected with Jim Dewees, founder of Prosthetics Center of Indiana, and we intend to work with his patients to test the prototypes and optimize the design based on their feedback. Once we have a working prototype, we plan to apply for additional funding to make M3DE Pro available in the market.”

IU says NeuroNursing uses predictive charting software designed to improve the quality of care for Alzheimer’s disease patients.

“The NeuroNursing development team — Stephen Conway, Connor Hay and Daniel Murphy and I — designed software that spans all aspects of one’s treatment and focuses on connecting caregivers, other medical staff and family members with information that consistently tracks every aspect of an Alzheimer’s patient’s well-being,” said team member Maggie Kennedy. 

Kennedy says the team will use the prize money to further develop NeuroNursing into a company, including obtaining a patent for the charting system and purchase hardware to run pilot studies.

She said the money from the Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge will support the team as it develops NeuroNursing into a company.

You can learn more about all of the teams that participated in the challenge by clicking here.