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Students win US $25,000 with high-tech bandage

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A team of business students from Waterloo Engineering has taken a top prize in an international competition meant to promote and accelerate breakthrough technologies.

Vanessa Ferlaino, Waqas Khan and Sohaib Imran Rana – all master of business, entrepreneurship and technology (MBET) students at the Conrad Centre – finished in the top five and won US $25,000 in the inaugural Cisco Global Problem Solver (GPS) Challenge.

Their startup company, SmartBandage, is developing a bandage equipped with patented inkjet-printed sensors to monitor for early warning signs of chronic wounds such as bedsores and ulcers.

Flexible, disposable and about the same cost as a regular bandage, the bandage’s sensors wirelessly send information to medical staff and patients to allow proactive treatment.

The Cisco competition, which is open to students and recent graduates, began with more than 1,100 registrants from over 450 schools around the world.

The top prize of US $100,000 went to a team from Pennsylvania State University for wearable sensors that enable communication for people with disabilities via finger, elbow, knee, foot and other movements.

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finished second, with the University of Waterloo entry in a group of three teams selected as second runners-up.

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