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

This is the last week of classes, and therefore the last week of ESMD! There will be no meeting this week. If you will be presenting your design project at BioE Day this Friday, I would appreciate receiving your presentation by tomorrow evening (Wednesday, April 16). If you will be spectating BioE Day, ESMD presents from 3 to 330!

The other ESMD officers and I are hoping to host an ESMD Study-A-Thon next week, and we would like to know what days work best for you. There will be free pizza! If you are interested in attending, fill out this survey. We are deciding between next Monday or Tuesday evening.

Finally, I would like to say thank you for a great semester with ESMD. The club has grown immensely, and I am happy to be working with a such a fantastic group of dedicated students. I hope you've enjoyed your time as well. If you're spending the summer in Pittsburgh, feel free to get in touch. ipm4@pitt.edu

Ian McIntyre Apr 15,2014

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


The team has met with their mentor and beginning to prototype! Much work will need to be completed to determine the best electronic implementations for their mentor's need.

A thorough examination of available materials and components research has aided the team in finding the necessary supplies to move forward with a preliminary design. The team is now in the process of finalizing all of the elements that will go into the completed case in order to present to our UPMC mentors at the beginning of next semester.

By the end of January, the team intends on presenting a mock case to Dr. Schaitkin and other ENTs after additional scope measurements are taken. By this time, a budget will be proposed, and a final prototype determined.

The Remote Ischemic Conditioning Cuff design team is currently moving into the second prototype phase. They are now formalizing a budget proposal for the completion of the project. A meeting is scheduled for early next week with their clinical contact, Dr. Catalin Toma, and the Coulter Program Director, Dr. Pratap Khanwilkar. The goal is to finish this prototype by the end of this term so that it can be used in research next year.

The team has met with their mentor, Dr. Nima Naghshineh, to discuss the needs and constraints of the new device as well as create initial sketches in SolidWorks. The group has also met with Thorin who helped to propose a new design which has been considered and accepted by Dr. Naghshineh.

The team’s future steps include constructing the first physical prototype. The first design is expected to use laser cut silicone bases coupled with special clamps and foam holders to create a device viable for testing.

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 Stephanie Lee on Feb 13, 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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Nate Smialek (bio)

Design Workshop Coordinators

Stephanie Lee (bio)

Public Relations

Jenna Hanner (bio)

Design Project Liaison

Angela Beck (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.