Pitt ESMD University of Pittsburgh's Engineers for Sustainable Medical Development


ESMD Oct 2, 2014


Projects Submit your invention disclosures here. ESMD's Guide to Invention Disclosures


The group has met with Dr. Rabih Chaer and Dr. Jason Wagner to learn the details and objectives of the project. Members are researching current patents in order to find room for improvement, as well as outlining functional goals in order to begin design.

Dr. Rabih Chaer and Dr. Jason Wagner have contacted ESMD with an idea to create a revolutionary technology for use in Intravascular surgical procedures. Current Torque Device technology is extremely functional for its intended purpose, being the application of torque upon a surgical wire in order to guide the wire through a patients blood vessels. However, current technology leaves a great deal of room for human error. The design team will work with Dr. Chaer and Dr. Wagner to create a new Torque Device that will be safer to use than any existing technology, allowing surgeons to focus more on the procedure and less on the performance of their equipment.

Mentored by Dr. Rabih Chaer (chaerra@upmc.edu) and Dr. Jason Wagner (wagnerjk@upmc.edu).

The team has filed for an invention disclosure with Pitt's OTM and has requested a grant from the Pitt Coulter Program! The team is in the process of ordering parts to begin prototype construction.

Mentor: Dr. Robert Turner

After the arrival of supplies, the team will be prototyping the designed PCB board over the coming weeks. The team is actively seeking new members to replace the lost valuable ESMD graduates.

Dr. Nima Naghshineh is impressed with the team's progress! The group will be filing for a provisional patent on a novel prototype currently in development.

Mentor: Dr. Nima Naghshineh

Competitions and Opportunities

The LIMBS 2014 Design Competition focuses on developing low-cost and sustainable prosthetics and orthotics. There are four project categories: prosthetic arm, prosthetic foot, spinal orthosis, and an open category to accept all general prosthetics and orthotics. The designs should keep in mind the technological, economical, and societal needs of patients in developing nations with limited healthcare access.

Registration ends before the first day of February. A two-page design proposal is due by the end of February, and a final project report is required by May 16, 2014. To complete the competition, two members of each team present their team's research at the Limbs Summit. The judges determine the winner by considering the innovation of the design and scope of the final project. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three design teams.

Website and Registration

Sponsored by NIBIB, the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge is a design competition strictly for undergraduate engineers proposing a solution to an unmet clinical need. Each undergraduate team designs and constructs a biomedical technology or method in realms such as diagnostics, theraputics, underserved population settings, point-of-care systems, precision medicine, preventative medicine, and disabilities.

The submission period for the DEBUT Competition spans from January 27 to May 29, 2014. The judging of each design will occur from June 10 to July 25, and the winner will be announced on August 12, 2014. Yes, there's plenty of time to submit your design!

Website and Registration

CREATE's Summer Design Experience (SDE) gives students the unique opportunity to work full time on real design projects from companies, hospitals, and professional researchers; participate in lectures and hands-on tutorials; learn the concepts, software, and skills to solve design problems; develop and refine engineering skills; and network with students, faculty members, and other professionals. The SDE consists of multiple design teams composed of student design engineers and a student design director. Each team will be responsible for managing a project design budget. All participants will receive a stipend to cover expenses for the Summer, plus a little spending money to relax on the weekends. The deadline to register is March 8, 2014.



The M-OCT team has completed their design prototype which is being used in ocular surgery at UPMC! The provisional patent has been accepted, and the team is very grateful for the help and guidance of the Office of Technology Management. Meetings and discussions on the next-generation M-OCT have already started, and the team of engineers, doctors, clinicians, and researchers is excited for the potential of the next model.

The M-OCT Project has been featured in a variety of publications, such as The Pitt News, BioOptics World, Pittsburgh Business Times, OCT News, and UCL Institue of Biomedical Engineering.

The Oral Dynamometer group is nearing project completion. They are currently working with the Office of Technology Management to file for a provisional patent on their device. New parts are also being ordered for a final prototype design that will be used in a clinical setting at UPMC this semester.

Downloads Get Dropbox


ESMD's Hackathon data, objectives, and supporting material! Presented by Ian McIntyre on Feb 27, 2014

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A wonderful tutorial for beginners to get started with SolidWorks! Presented by Zach Patterson on October 2nd, 2014.

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For all things Arduino Breathalyzer! Workshop posted on Jan 13, 2014. Presented by Ian McIntyre.

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Learn how to interface with a DC motor using Android and Arduinos! Presented by Rohit Rao.

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Create a prosthetics using SolidWorks! Presented by Stephanie Lee.

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Create a heart rate monitor using a breadboard, a speaker, and some cheap, available electronics! Presented by Ian McIntyre.

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Intellectual property at the University of Pittsburgh. Presented by Dr. Remes and the Office of Technology Management.

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Feel free to peruse the old workshops of previous years!

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NASA has released thousands of their projects as open-source. What're you waiting for?! Courtesy of Andy Macgregor.

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Use GroupMe to keep in touch with your design team, even if they don't have a smartphone!

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Are you interested in 3D printing? Thingiverse is the place to download free models for 3D printing! You can open and publish .STL files in SolidWorks, too.

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If you're using SolidWorks/CAD and need a model of a part, you may be able to find it here! If you only need a few parts, Ian has an account and would be happy to get parts for you.

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Want to make Android phone or tablet applications? This is the place to start!

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Python is an awesome, easy-to-learn open-source programming language for all types of applications! This package is for scientific and computational programs.

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To make slick websites like this, use the Bootstrap framework!

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Download the development software for the Arduino, our favorite toy!

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Fantastic project management tools, including a design need worksheet, a To-Do list, and a Gantt Chart! Provided by Stephanie Lee.

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Global Links

"Global Links is a medical relief and development organization dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and improving health in resource-poor communities, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our two-fold mission provides hospitals with a socially and environmentally beneficial alternative to sending hundreds of tons of still-useful surplus materials to landfills. Hospitals and clinics in under-served communities often lack the supplies and equipment necessary to provide even basic care to their patients, resulting in needless suffering and deaths. At the same time, the US healthcare industry generates a staggering amount of medical surplus which, without intervention, is destined to pile up in our landfills. Global Links' innovative model of recovery and reuse connects these two social problems in a way that helps to solve both, creating a "virtuous circle" that converts an environmental burden to a life-saving purpose."

Introduction Video »

Creative Technology Nights (TechNights)

"TechNights (Creative Technology Nights for Girls) is a program focused on exposing middle school girls to creative technologies. Using computer animation, web design, programming, robotics, and interactive medias, we hope to engage a future generation of women in technology."

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Design Workshop Coordinator

Zach Patterson

Sustainability Committee

Shruti Revankar

Entrepreneurial Consultant

Ian McIntyre (bio)


ESMD began 3 years ago with the intention of providing undergraduate engineers exposure to industrial skills and projects to complement the ample research opportunities available at the University of Pittsburgh. It has since evolved into a global-minded entrepreneurial student organization with a multi-faceted approach to enabling translational medical device projects at the undergraduate level.


ESMD exists in multiple settings. The large group forum of 25-50 students meets weekly to work on 1-3 week long skills development workshops. ESMD also facilitates design teams that work on specific medical device projects. Groups of 4-6 students collaborate with UPMC clinicians and researchers to develop relatively low-tech, high impact products that may range in cost from about $5 to about $1,300. These projects may go on to participate in design competitions, attain patents, and be used in clinical settings, home-therapy, or surgery. ESMD is proud to have had two projects participate in Rice's Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, one project which has a provisional patent and has been used in pediatric surgery multiple times, and the others which are in the IP and development phases.

Skill Building

Each week ESMD conducts workshops that help members apply their classroom skills to real world situations. Some of our past workshops include

  • Designing prosthetic knees using SolidWorks
  • Constructing heart rate monitors from basic circuits
  • Soldering circuit boards for electrosurgery unit testers
  • IP/patent presentation by Office of Technology Management

Volunteering and Altruism

ESMD members volunteer weekly at the local medical supply recovery office, Global Links, by fixing wheelchairs, calibrating thermometers, and repairing blood pressure cuff units. About 4 students attend Monday TechNights at CMU, an event which teaches K-12 girls various scientific skills ranging from protein modeling to website development.