by Allison Braun
Eyeglasses that can instantaneously change prescriptions with the touch of a button. Superior air filtration to ensure maximum cleanliness in hospitals. An automated messaging system that uses calls or text messages to help manage patients’ conditions.
These are just a few of the innovations presented at last year’s Demo Day, the annual capstone event for IDEA Labs, a Washington University-based bioengineering and design incubator founded and run by students. Through IDEA Labs, interdisciplinary teams develop potentially marketable solutions to clinical problems and present those solutions at Demo Day.
This year, Demo Day will offer more innovations — but from beyond Missouri’s borders, as well. Students from newly formed chapters at Harvard-MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota will travel to St. Louis to present their ideas and compete for financial prizes. IDEA Labs’ first national Demo Day will be Monday, April 25, at CIC St. Louis, 4240 Duncan Ave. in the CORTEX Innovation District.
Poster presentations will begin at 6 p.m., with select teams competing in pitch competitions on stage from 7:30-8:25 p.m. Health-care professionals, engineers, researchers, and members of the entrepreneurial and biotech communities are encouraged to come and review the students’ ideas and prototypes. Students interested in joining IDEA Labs also are invited to join.
The event will conclude with a keynote speech from MIT’s Robert Langer, PhD, the most cited engineer in history.
Demo Day will feature 20 new teams that have tackled 20 new problems this year. Meanwhile, more than 10 teams have continued working toward solutions to problems they took on during previous sessions. Initially, IDEA Labs teams were made of primarily medical and engineering students, but they’ve been expanded to include business students. Some teams also include students from other area schools, including Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.